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2022 Honda CR-V Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.

2022 Honda CR-V Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: LX vs Special Edition, EX vs EX-L and Touring
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

Compare the 2022 Honda CR-V Trims - LX vs Special Edition, EX vs EX-L and Touring. What is the difference between them?

After its latest generation debuted in 2017, the Honda CR-V has made some progress with technology. But this does make it one of the older small SUVs available. Despite that fact, Honda keeps the CR-V feeling totally current. It makes for a well-rounded ride with a driving performance that, while not being super thrilling, is enjoyable for daily commuters. It also offers an abundance of space and plush comfort above and beyond what we expect from vehicles in this segment, at this really reasonable price point.

Despite all of its benefits, the CR-V has a few pitfalls. Its max towing capacity does not compete with others in this segment. While most small SUVs can tow up to 3,500 pounds these days, the CR-V is stuck in the past with a max towing capacity of just 1,500 pounds. If you are intent on towing a camper or any large equipment, the CR-V will not be the vehicle for you. But, for the average daily driver, it should suffice - that is, if you can get past the fussy touchscreen display and lack of a separate tuning knob.

If you are settled on at least test-driving the 2022 Honda CR-V, you should know what to expect from any of its trim levels. From the base LX to the line-topping Touring trim, the CR-V strikes a good balance between affordability and feature-richness. Let's examine these trim levels to see which one might best suit your needs.

Compare the LX vs Special Edition Trims. What is the difference?

First things first: Honda equips its entire CR-V line-up with the Honda Sensing suite of driver aids. This bundles together collision mitigation braking, a lane departure warning, forward collision warning, a road departure mitigation system, low-speed follow with the adaptive cruise control, and the lane keep assist system. Additionally, you get automatic high-beam headlights, a rear-view multi-angle camera (with guidelines on the LX and dynamic guides on the Special Edition and above), LED daytime running lights, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Now, let's talk engineering. On all non-hybrid models, you get a turbocharged inline-4 cylinder engine that generates a power output of 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque. This makes for ample acceleration given this vehicle's size. Other mechanical specs include the Eco Assist System, Hill Start Assist, an immobilizer with the direct injection system, and an available real-time all-wheel drive (AWD) with the Intelligent Control System. The only real difference between the LX and the Special Edition in terms of engineering features is that the latter adds remote engine start.

A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with Sport Mode gets paired to the inline-4 cylinder engine and delivers power rather smoothly to the wheels. It is also known for enhancing fuel efficiency, which is a big pull for Honda buyers. Idle-stop is included. The suspension is composed of a front MacPherson strut system and, in the rear, a multi-link double-wishbone set-up. Variable Ratio Electric Power-Assisted Rack-and-Pinion Steering (EPS) is also standard issue. Also, both of these trim levels ride atop 17-inch machine-finished alloy wheels complete with gray inserts.

So, how do these trims do on fuel? The front-wheel-drive (FWD) models manage to get 30 miles per gallon combined, with 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The AWD models get an EPA estimated 29 mpg combined, taken from 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Either way, this is a good showing for the small SUV segment. And real-world tests reveal that these EPA estimates hold up.

The LX and Special Edition have some distinguishing exterior features. The LX has two-speed variable intermittent windshield wipers while the Special Edition has regular variable intermittent wipers. Both have a rear wiper that comes with a heated wiper zone. The LX's power side mirrors, roofline spoiler, and door handles are black while the Special Edition's are body-colored. Each one has multi-reflector halogen headlights with automatic on/off. An active shutter grille, fin-style roof-mounted antenna, and remote entry also come equipped.

Inside, the Special Edition gets a few more upgrades as well. The LX has an automatic climate control system, but the Special Edition gets upped to dual-zone. Also, while the LX has auto-up/down on the driver's power window, the Special Edition adds it to the front passenger's window. The Special Edition also gets a push button start. Otherwise, their features are the same: power tailgate and door locks, cruise control, one-touch turn indicators, tilting and telescoping steering, a shifter mounted to the instrument panel, and a capless fuel filter.

Additionally, the interior comes with a sliding armrest attached to the multi-functional center console, covering up the storage area beneath. There are sliding sun visors, a sunglasses holder along with the conversation mirror, front and rear cupholders, sizable bins on the doors, floor mats, map lights, a garment hook on the driver's side, heat ducts in the rear, lights in the cargo area, steering wheel mounted controls that illuminate, and vanity mirrors for both front seat occupants.

Both driver's seats are manually adjustable six ways. In the back, you have a 60/40-split folding rear seat. There are head restraints found in all seating positions. The only real difference in regards to seating is that the Special Edition adds standard heated front seats.

Connectivity is a major component in all new vehicles, and Honda is trying to keep pace with the competition. The base LX offers a 160-watt, 4-speaker sound system and 5-inch color LCD screen, but those feel vastly out-of-touch. Stepping it up to the Special Edition snags you a 180-watt, 6-speaker sound system and 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen infotainment system. You also get a bevvy of upgrades, including smartphone app integration from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Honda Link, an extra USB port on the front center console, and SMS text messaging capabilities. Otherwise, these two trims share a 12-volt outlet on the center console, a front console USB port, speed-sensitive volume compensation, Bluetooth connectivity, compatibility with Pandora, and a radio data system.

Compare the Special Edition vs EX Trims. What is the difference?

If you want more features for a reasonable price jump, the EX might be more your speed. It starts off by giving you a blind spot information system complete with a cross traffic monitor. The exterior adds even more features to help set it apart, such as rear privacy glass, a built-in security system, a moon-roof with one-touch functionality and a tilt feature, LED fog lights, and side mirrors that are body-colored, heated, and have integrated turn indicators.

Inside of the EX's cabin, you get a series of convenience upgrades that make the CR-V feel a little more luxurious. All of the vanity mirrors up front come with illumination, and there is a retractable cover for the cargo area - perfect for hiding your precious cargo from the prying eyes of strangers. There is even a seatback pocket that gets added to the front passenger's seat for extra storage space.

You also get massively upgraded in terms of seating. The EX is given a 12-way power adjustable driver's seat fitted with 4-way power lumbar support for even more comfort while driving.

In terms of audio and connectivity, the EX makes a few important upgrades. You get SiriusXM compatibility with a trial subscription as well as HD Radio connectivity. In the rear seats, passengers can utilize two 2.5-amp charge-only USB ports.

Compare the EX vs EX-L Trims. What is the difference?

The "L" in "EX-L" actually stands for "leather", but it could easily have "luxury" substituted in. While the only upgrade to its exterior is the addition of a power tailgate with a programmable height, what you get inside might just be worth the extra cost of the vehicle.

The EX-L's cabin is all about throwing in some finely crafted creature comforts. For starters, there is the standard leather-wrapped steering wheel that can keep your hands warm on cooler days. It even has a matching leather-wrapped gear shift knob. The rear-view mirror gains an automatic dimming function while the HomeLink Remote System (which does everything from controlling your garage door to turning off or on your lights) is also included. The driver's seat gains two-position memory, and, of course, there are leather seating surfaces that are surprisingly breathable. On top of that, this trim level equips 4-way power lumbar support on the front passenger's seat.

An 8-speaker, 180-watt sound system adds another layer of attraction to the EX-L. Its crisp sound quality is something music lovers should appreciate. However, that is the extent of the tech upgrades to the EX-L.

Compare the EX-L vs Touring. What is the difference?

If you really want something that borders on luxury, the line-topping Touring trim level could best suit you. The Touring gets standard real-time all-wheel drive, which makes for a significant mechanical upgrade. But you do get other important additions, such as LED headlights with auto-on/off functionality. The front windshield wipers are able to automatically sense when it is raining, and there are roof rails added for a sportier vibe. The non-hybrid Touring also gets two exhaust finishers done in chrome.

Ambient lighting gets added to the interior to create a more relaxing and inviting ride in the dark. Honda satellite-linked integrated navigation comes equipped with the infotainment system, providing drivers with access to Honda HD Digital Traffic and voice recognition, which is able to recognize most natural speech patterns for easy usage. The 9-speaker, 330-watt premium sound system is nothing short of stellar, and it includes its own subwoofer, thereby eliminating the music connoisseur's need to go out and by an after-market model. Honda even throws in a wireless phone charger on the Touring for good measure.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have a better idea of what comes equipped on each one of the 2022 Honda Pilot's five trim levels, you will likely have a better feel for which trim works for you. If you are shopping on a really restricted budget, then the LX might be your best bet. However, its tech features feel a little too sparse for our liking. And, of course, the line-topping Touring level is fantastic for those whose budget is quite a bit looser. It has so many desirable features that it competes well with luxury small SUVs (and bests them on fuel economy even with AWD equipped).

But let's be realistic here: Most buyers are looking for the best way to balance affordability and features. That is why our top pick for a trim level on the CR-V is the mid-tier EX. The EX trim level offers some fairly significant upgrades while not causing the price to jump up too high for the average consumer. Smartphone app integration and the blind spot monitoring system are basically must-haves at this point, and the EX delivers on those. And, if you want, you can opt for AWD to help get you that extra traction on slick road surfaces.

Previous Year Trim Configurations:

2021 Honda CR V Trime Levels