When it comes to a favorite vehicle, every state has its own idiosyncrasies. In the Pacific Northwest and on the East Coast, it’s the Toyota RAV-4. In big states like Montana and Texas, it’s the Ford F-series. Much of middle America favors the Chevrolet Silverado. And in New Jersey, it’s the Honda CR-V. According to Edmunds, the CR-V “rivals the Rav4 in nearly every way while being more enjoyable to drive. After nearly 30 years on sale, the CR-V is still at the top of its game.”

So what makes the CR-V good enough to be the Garden State’s number one vehicle? Let’s dig in a little and find out.

The Allure of the Honda CR-V

First, let’s talk about what makes a car attractive to people in the first place. Unless you’re buying a car for status or sporting purposes, the most desirable traits in a car are reliability, dependability, utility, and affordability. In a state like New Jersey, where commuting is a daily fact of life, fuel efficiency is also a major factor.

SUVs have become one of the most popular types of vehicle in recent years because they have a lot going for them: aerodynamic design for fuel efficiency, lots of room for passengers and storage, and a good record for reliability and longevity, whether in an urban environment or the great outdoors.

In terms of features, every iteration of the CR-V has plenty to offer. For instance, all editions come with driver assist technology and a reclining, fold-down split rear seatback for extra cargo space. Most versions come with a power moon roof — only the base LX model lacks this feature, as well as the Blind Spot Information (BSI) system installed on all other editions. Each comes with Bluetooth audio, including Apple AirPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and all but the LX version have USB charging ports up front.

Another feature of the CR-V is its superior gas mileage, which improves the higher up the feature ladder you go: the base LX model, for example, gets around 29 mpg combined, while the sport hybrid models get upwards of 40 mpg in the city and around 37 mpg in the country. While hybrids cost a bit more upfront and can have higher maintenance costs, the difference in fuel economy could make a big difference in the long term.

What About Price and Maintenance Cost?

Now let’s take a moment to talk about the price. While not cheap, the Honda CR-V is very competitive in terms of price at $25,350 for the base model. Of course, that figure will go higher for more features, but consider how it ranks next to its competition. The 2024 RAV4 Prime will run you about $45,000, while the Mazda CX-50 starts at $31,675. The Volkswagen Tiguan also starts at $30k, and the Jeep Wrangler about $32k. So while it’s not the cheapest SUV on the market, it’s either on par, or better than, most of its competitors.

But what about the maintenance cost? There’s good news there, too. According to Engine Patrol, your total average maintenance costs for the CR-V are about $407 for annual repairs and maintenance. An oil change will cost somewhere between $103 and $118, and tires in the range of $580. A comprehensive tune-up is likely to cost you around $264. The CR-V’s maintenance costs are considerably less than the competition — the RAV4 clocks in at about $429 a year, while the Mazda Tribute will cost you around $523, and the Jeep Patriot $596. At the high end is the Volkswagen Tiguan, which will run you $730 a year for maintenance and repairs. By comparison, the CR-V is quite a bargain.

Insurance Premiums in New Jersey

Finally, there’s the matter of insurance. There are a number of factors that determine how much a car costs to insure — the age of the vehicle, make and model, state laws, and so on. There are also the factors not having directly to do with the vehicle itself, such as the driver’s age, driving history, deductible, etc.

This makes the CR-V’s low maintenance costs especially good news. One of the biggest determinants of insurance costs is how much it costs to replace and repair parts. Additional features (especially high-tech features) can also drive up the cost of insurance. While motorists do pay a little more for their car insurance in New Jersey — $1,459 annually, according to Ross Martin at insurance comparison platform The Zebra — it’s only by 4%, and it’s possible to find cheaper insurance rates by searching around and doing a little comparison shopping.

Most drivers will agree a reliable, affordable car is important, especially in a state like New Jersey, where so many people commute. Between its solid reliability rating, low maintenance costs, and appealing features, the Honda CR-V is number one in the state for good reason.

By Chris Bates             

Categories: News