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When compared to Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson, 2016 Honda CR-V came out on top. What makes this 2-row SUV a U.S.News & World Reports a “Best Choice for Families” winner?

As announced by Honda earlier this week, their entire light truck lineup earned the coveted U.S.News & World Reports “Best Cars For Families” designation. Take it for what you will, based on drive review feedback from yours truly, and other members of the automotive press, when combined with safety ratings, and consumer feedback, 2016 Honda CR-V SUV took the brass ring.

Not perfect, but close

After spending many hours and well over 2,000 miles behind the wheel of Honda CR-V, I’ve walked away with a greater understanding and subsequent appreciation for what a compact SUV should and can be. It’s a tough measurement when it comes to comparing the top-5 contenders in this hot segment. They’re all pretty good, CR-V design just happens to rest at the pinnacle of compact SUV excellence.

The hottest automotive segment in North America

At no other time in U.S. automotive history has the crossover-SUV craze overtaken all other comers, with the exception of the ½ ton pickup truck. Honda CR-V remains the top contender in the compact SUV segment 10 out of the past 13 years, and has done so despite a manufacturer’s recall or two, and a consumer reported vibration that Honda has gone to extraordinary measures to mitigate.

I’m one one of those drive review guys that give Honda CR-V high marks for the “overall” picture of what I believe a compact SUV can and should be. Truthfully, when you get behind the wheel of 2016 CR-V, the sensory perception is that of a much larger vehicle. In-fact 2nd only to Acura RDX, Honda CR-V is my personal favorite daily driver. I first discovered the “Earth Dreams” powered CR-V in Huntington, Beach, California.

This makes Honda CR-V superior in the compact SUV segment

Honda engineering has gone to great lengths to eliminate blind-spots, a cage-like tunnel vision view out the windshield, and the much too often ‘claustrophobic feeling’ one gets when entering the tight confines of an overstuffed compact car or light truck interior.

The CR-V EX-L / Touring drive and ride experience begins with arguably the best power adjusted driver’s seat in the segment — followed by a very refined drive and ride dynamic, thanks to chassis, engine and transmission upgrades. I find the 2.4 Liter Earth Dreams ™ direct injected i-VTEC 4 cylinder to produce exceptional mid-range torque, with enough drive-by-wire acceleration to meet my daily commuting needs.

Through the engineering magic of low friction engine components and ECO-mode engine management, Honda CR-V comes standard equipped with the highest combined MPG in the segment. 2016 Honda CR-V presents a midsize drive and ride feel with compact fuel economy and in town maneuverability — yet instills a sense of truck-toughness in the driver.

There’s nothing “cheap, tinny, or cost-cutting” about 2016 CR-V. Sure, you’ll find generous use of plastic throughout CR-V, but that’s how cars are built today.

Honda design does a very commendable job of “balancing” the look, feel and utility of the interior, while preserving the historic CR-V style and flavor, albeit “super sized” when compared to past CR-V generations. This is the highest refined interior in CR-V history.

It’s those not so little things that make the CR-V difference

This week Torque News took delivery of a 2016 CR-V Touring. It’s our third CR-V drive review in two years. What we’re looking for this week is a little less vibration generated by Honda’s 2.4 Liter direct injected i-VTEC 4 cylinder gasoline Earth Dream ™ engine and (CVT) constant variable transmission.

After 3 days behind the wheel I’m satisfied that any vibration detected at idle is minimal, and while driving under all road and weather conditions, negligible. Yes, there is some. But no more than noted while driving other direct injected 4-cylinder powered competitors.

By Parks McCants G+ 2016-03-12 22:16

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