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Many new vehicles are released with more fanfare than a political convention.

But instead of balloons, confetti and propaganda-laced speeches their arrival at dealers is heralded with teaser photos, lengthy press releases and agitprop-rich advertising. Anyone that uses the Internet, reads newspapers or watches TV will be aware of whatever car or truck is going on sale.

The goal of all this is to grab the public’s attention, to strike while the proverbial ferrous metal is glowing brightly, while your product has a competitive advantage over rival vehicles. But bucking standard operating procedure, Honda has released its 2015 CR-V compact crossover with practically no extravagant hoopla. In fact the vehicle just went on sale and we only drove it late last week.

Fundamentally Fine

At the local media event they hosted, Honda officials trumpeted the 2015 CR-V as a major update to an already fresh product. They claimed the changes this vehicle received are much more significant than what most cars and trucks get during mid-cycle updates.

Almost every area of the vehicle was touched from the usual suspects including the exterior and cabin to the body structure, chassis and even powertrain. These enhancements were meant to take an already competitive product and propel it to the top of its segment.

Curb Appeal

The new CR-V may benefit from a comprehensive list of upgrades, but many customers will probably be hard pressed to notice them, from the outside at least. Sure, this crossover wears a new grille, updated headlamps with available LED daytime running lights and a revised rear fascia, but it still looks pretty much like the outgoing model. Squint a little and it’s even harder to tell them apart.

Adding a little wasabi to this otherwise straightforward sushi roll, Honda is offering several new wheel designs. Customers can opt for rims that span up to 18 inches.

Making it a little easier to load items in its cargo hold the CR-V can now be fitted with a power tailgate. It’s activated by pushing a button on the dashboard or using the key fob. No fancy foot-activation is available.

Behind the second-row seats this spacious crossover offers more than 35 cubic feet of storage space. With the rear bench folded flat that number increases to nearly 71. These figures exceed what’s offered by rivals including the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Rogue.

Renovated Interior

Not to be out done, the CR-V’s cabin has been totally revamped as well, from the cup holders to its front sliding armrest. Yes, about the only noteworthy upgrade inside is a completely redesigned center console. The storage cubbies have been rearranged and it gains some electrical ports for charging smartphones, tablets or other small electronics. Additionally the console has gained a pair of air vents, which should be a real boon to rear-seat passengers.

A power driver’s seat and heated front buckets are standard on EX models and above, as is keyless entry with push-button start. Benefiting taller folks that ride up front, the CR-V’s sun visors now slide to help block more of the side glass and keep glare to a minimum.

Simple analog gauges give the driver all of the important information he or she needs at a glance. The cluster is dominated by a very large, centrally mounted speedometer. And right in the middle of this gauge is a digital readout for things like the odometer and outside temperature. Unfortunately this screen looks extremely chintzy; it’s little better than a 15-year-old graphing calculator. It sticks out like a frost-bitten finger in otherwise nicely thought-out interior.

Regrettably it’s the same story with the CR-V’s available navigation system. The interface is somewhat unintuitive but beyond that they’ve graced it with a series of physical buttons to the left of the screen.Normally this sounds like a good idea but the switches are tiny and therefore difficult to push while the vehicle is in motion. Exacerbating this problem, radio volume is controlled by a rocker switch as well!

Fortunately this vehicle’s interior is extremely well built with zero obvious fit-and-finish foibles. Additionally there are plenty of soft plastics on the armrests and lower portions of the dashboard. Sections that are made from hard polymers have a rich-looking, low-sheen finish to them that is surprisingly upscale.

Three different interior colors are available in the CR-V. Drivers can choose from a palate that includes black, gray and beige. The touring model I evaluated had a black interior and it was overwhelmingly gloomy, an issue that was exacerbated by dreary fall weather. The glove box should have come with some Prozac because the cabin was darker than an underground tunnel on the moon’s far side.
To read more of this review of the 2015 Honda CR-V please visit
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