2019 Honda CR-V vs. 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The CR-V has standard head airbag curtains for front and rear seats that act as a forgiving barrier between the driver and outboard passenger's upper bodies and the window and pillars. Combined with high-strength steel door beams and lower side airbags this system increases head protection in broadside collisions. Head airbags cost extra in the Wrangler JK and are only available for the front seats.

The CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring has standard Collision Mitigation Braking System, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Wrangler JK doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

Full-time four-wheel drive is optional on the CR-V. Full-time four-wheel drive gives added traction for safety in all conditions, not just off-road, like the only system available on the Wrangler JK.

The Honda CR-V has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The CR-V has a standard backup monitor to help drivers see any and all obstacles behind their vehicle. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer any parking assist system.

The CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the CR-V uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The Wrangler JK uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

The CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring has standard HondaLink Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the CR-V and the Wrangler JK have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

In a 31 MPH side-impact test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crashes a 3300 pound sled into the side of new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Honda CR-V is safer than the Wrangler JK Unlimited without its optional side airbags:

 

CR-V

Wrangler JK

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Structure

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

 

Driver

Head Protection Rating

GOOD

MARGINAL

Head Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Torso Injury Rating

GOOD

POOR

Pelvis/Leg Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

 

Rear Passenger

Head Protection Rating

GOOD

MARGINAL

Head Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Torso Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Pelvis/Leg Injury Rating

GOOD

GOOD

Head Injury Criterion

61

89

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the CR-V is safer than the Wrangler JK:

 

CR-V

Wrangler JK

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Distance from Back of Head

26 mm

46 mm

Distance Below Top of Head

38 mm

66 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

MARGINAL

Seat Design

Pass

Fail

Neck Force Rating

Low

Medium

Max Neck Shearing Force

0

150

Max Neck Tension

267

947

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CR-V the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Wrangler JK was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2018.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the CR-V’s reliability 15 points higher than the Wrangler JK.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the CR-V third among compact suvs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Wrangler JK isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 48 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 28th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 7 places higher in reliability than Jeep.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the Honda CR-V is faster than the Jeep Wrangler JK (automatics tested):

 

CR-V LX

CR-V 1.5T

Wrangler JK

Zero to 60 MPH

7.7 sec

7.5 sec

8.2 sec

Quarter Mile

16 sec

15.8 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

88.4 MPH

89 MPH

82.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CR-V gets better fuel mileage than the Wrangler JK:

 

 

 

MPG

CR-V

FWD

Auto

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/32 hwy

 

 

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

28 city/34 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

 

 

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

27 city/33 hwy

Wrangler JK

AWD

Manual

2dr 3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/21 hwy

 

 

Unlimited 3.6 DOHC V6

16 city/20 hwy

 

Auto

2dr 3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/21 hwy

 

 

Unlimited 3.6 DOHC V6

16 city/21 hwy

The CR-V has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

The Honda CR-V comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Wrangler JK.

The CR-V has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The CR-V stops much shorter than the Wrangler JK:

 

CR-V

Wrangler JK

 

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

217 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

150 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

146 feet

181 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CR-V has larger tires than the Wrangler JK (235/65R17 vs. 225/75R16).

The CR-V LX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 65 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Wrangler JK Sport’s standard 75 series tires. The CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring’s tires have a lower 60 series profile than the Wrangler JK Sahara’s 70 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CR-V LX has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Wrangler JK Sport.

Suspension and Handling

The Honda CR-V’s independent front suspension is much lighter than the Jeep Wrangler JK’s solid front axle, which allows the CR-V’s wheels to react more quickly and accurately to the road’s surface, improving both ride and handling.

For superior ride and handling, the Honda CR-V has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Jeep Wrangler JK has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

For much better steering response and tighter handling the CR-V has rack and pinion steering, like Formula race cars, instead of the recirculating-ball type steering of the Wrangler JK.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the CR-V is 1.1 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Wrangler JK.

The CR-V Touring AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the Wrangler JK Rubicon Unlimited pulls only .61 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The CR-V LX executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 3.4 seconds quicker than the Wrangler JK Rubicon Unlimited (27.7 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 31.1 seconds @ .49 average G’s).

Chassis

The Honda CR-V may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 850 pounds less than the Jeep Wrangler JK.

The CR-V is 4.3 inches shorter than the Wrangler JK Unlimited, making the CR-V easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The CR-V 4x4 is 6 inches shorter in height than the Wrangler JK, making the CR-V much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Unibody construction lowers the CR-V’s center of gravity significantly without reducing ground clearance. This contributes to better on the road handling and better off-road performance and stability. In addition, unibody construction makes the chassis stiffer, improving handling and reducing squeaks and rattles. The Wrangler JK uses body-on-frame design instead.

For excellent aerodynamics, the CR-V has standard flush composite headlights. The Wrangler JK has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

The front grille of the CR-V uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The CR-V uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the CR-V Touring AWD is quieter than the Wrangler JK Rubicon Unlimited:

 

CR-V

Wrangler JK

At idle

40 dB

42 dB

Full-Throttle

78 dB

83 dB

70 MPH Cruising

69 dB

71 dB

Passenger Space

The CR-V has 1.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Wrangler JK Unlimited (105.9 vs. 104).

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the CR-V’s rear seats recline. The Wrangler JK’s rear seats don’t recline.

The front step up height for the CR-V is 4.1 inches lower than the Wrangler JK Unlimited (19” vs. 23.1”). The CR-V’s rear step up height is 5.5 inches lower than the Wrangler JK Unlimited’s (18” vs. 23.5”).

Cargo Capacity

The CR-V has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Wrangler JK Unlimited with its rear seat up (39.2 vs. 31.5 cubic feet). The CR-V has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Wrangler JK Unlimited with its rear seat folded (75.8 vs. 70.6 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the CR-V easier. The CR-V’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 26 inches, while the Wrangler JK 2dr’s liftover is 27.8 inches. The Wrangler JK Unlimited’s liftover is 31.4 inches.

The CR-V’s cargo area is larger than the Wrangler JK’s in almost every dimension:

 

CR-V

Wrangler JK 2dr

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

37.5”/71”

n/a

Max Width

54”

58.7”

Min Width

41.5”

44.7”

Height

41”

37.1”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the CR-V’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The CR-V’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Wrangler JK 2dr’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

The CR-V’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The Wrangler JK’s swing out door blocks loading from the passenger’s side.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the CR-V EX-L/Touring has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the CR-V Touring, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer a power cargo door.

Ergonomics

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the CR-V has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

When two different drivers share the CR-V EX-L/Touring, the memory seats make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer memory seats.

The CR-V EX-L/Touring’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The CR-V’s standard power windows allow the driver or passenger to lower and raise the windows without leaning over or being distracted. Power windows cost extra on the Wrangler JK.

The CR-V’s standard driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths. The Wrangler JK’s optional driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully. The CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring’s front power windows both open or close with one touch of the switches.

The CR-V’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Wrangler JK’s optional power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

If the windows are left open on the CR-V the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Wrangler JK can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The CR-V’s standard power locks allow the driver or passenger to lock or unlock all the doors at a touch without leaning over, or reaching to the back seat. Power locks cost extra on the Wrangler JK.

The Smart Entry standard on the CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring allows you to unlock the driver’s door, cargo door and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Jeep Wrangler JK doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The CR-V Touring’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Wrangler JK’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the CR-V has a standard rear wiper. A rear wiper costs extra on the Wrangler JK.

Consumer Reports rated the CR-V’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Wrangler JK’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The CR-V’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Wrangler JK’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The CR-V has standard power remote mirrors. The Wrangler JK only comes with remote mirrors at extra cost. Without them the driver will have to roll down the windows and reach across the car to adjust the mirrors.

The CR-V’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Wrangler JK’s optional power mirror controls are on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

The CR-V has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the CR-V has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring has a standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Standard HondaLink for the CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, searching the internet, following twitter accounts and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

Model Availability

The CR-V is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Wrangler JK doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CR-V is less expensive to operate than the Wrangler JK because typical repairs cost much less on the CR-V than the Wrangler JK, including $124 less for a water pump, $73 less for front brake pads, $77 less for a fuel pump and $326 less for a timing belt/chain.

The headlight lenses on the CR-V are made of plastic to be lighter, more resistant to damage and less expensive to replace than the glass headlight lenses on the Wrangler JK.

Recommendations

The Honda CR-V has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

CR-V

Wrangler JK

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

J.D. Power and Associates rated the CR-V first among compact suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Wrangler JK isn’t in the top three in its category.

The CR-V was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 3 of the last 17 years. The Wrangler JK has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

Motor Trend selected the CR-V as their 2018 Sport Utility of the Year. The Wrangler JK has never been chosen.

The Honda CR-V outsold the Jeep Wrangler by 62% during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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