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    Unassuming Exteriors that Belie Interior Comforts

    auto2As we single LGBTs hit the bars and the apps to find our special someone, we put our best feet forward to make a good first impression. With some, the cracks behind the facade begin to show quickly. With others, you may find an unassuming exterior with an inner depth that makes you want more.

    This week’s Honda Accord and CR-V are like the latter, with familiar styling wrapping mechanicals and interiors that are as appealing as any you’d find.

    Many buyers agree; both the mid-sized Accord sedan and crossover CR-V are top sales performers in their respective fields, and so neither attracts much curbside attention. Accords like this one are everywhere, and the CR-V’s extensive upgrading for 2015 is concealed within a recognizable shape. If they were guys on an app, they’d be the ones you see several times before you think, ‘Well, he’s handsome enough; let’s see what he has to say.’

    car1Both the Accord and CR-V are accessible. You can have the Accord sedan as a hybrid or plug-in hybrid, and the gas-powered sedan starts at $22,925, including destination charge. The CR-V starts a bit higher, as most crossovers do, at $24,325. You could spend less on a competitor, but few others would have the Honda’s traditionally high resale value.

    These test cars were well equipped. The four-cylinder Accord EX-L with Navigation came in just under $31K. That’s about $4K less than the Touring V6, which brings such upscale hallmarks as Adaptive Cruise Control and LED headlights. The CR-V was the top all-wheel drive Touring at $33,600.

    The Accord has received a steady dribble of luxury features, and for 2015, the CR-V finally gets its share. If you’re accustomed to thinking of the CR-V as purely utilitarian transportation, then the Touring’s 10-way memory driver’s seat and power tailgate will be unexpected treats.

    car2The CR-V is also Honda’s platform for rolling out the Honda Sensing suite of preventative safety features. It’s a combination of camera and radar information-gathering along with forward-collision warnings and active braking. These features will become common across all cars by the end of the decade, and they worked well in this CR-V. They had just enough sensitivity to mark real threats while not being freaked out by San Francisco’s drastic altitude changes.

    Over the road, the Accord is still the nimble star it has always been. It feels so good that you’re tempted to push its limits every time you drive. This new CR-V has a little less of that enthusiasm – it seems it has been tamped down a bit by the new refinements.

    But just as you wouldn’t expect exotic behavior from a J. Crew-wearing dude on an app, most buyers aren’t looking for driving hijinks from either of these Hondas. That the Accord provides them is reason enough to swipe right on it, just as safety has become the CR-V’s focus. Neither the Accord or CR-V is a head-turner, but they could be satisfyingly steady companions for years to come.

    Philip Ruth is a Castro-based automotive photojournalist and consultant at Check out his automotive staging service at