Honda CR-V SUVs and Honda Sensing: What Are Consumers Reporting?

by Aryn Plax

Mar 23, 2021

A class action lawsuit specifically targeting 2017–2018 Honda CR-V vehicles alleges that these vehicles are equipped with faulty autonomous braking systems that make the vehicles unsafe to drive.

The braking system, named Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), is part of a technology suite called Honda Sensing. The CMBS uses radars and cameras to detect potential obstacles, provide warnings to drivers and apply the brakes if a collision seems imminent.

Honda Sensing includes other safety-related technologies, such as lane departure detection, lane-keeping steering inputs and adaptive cruise control. Though these technologies are also allegedly defective, Fain v. Honda is primarily concerned with the allegation that the CMBS causes 2017–2018 Honda CR-V vehicles to brake at random.

The lawsuit cites several complaints submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding these Honda CR-V vehicles. We went through this list and pulled the complaints we thought best summed up the alleged defects.

A flashing brake light on the left side of a black car.

Note that the submitted complaints have been edited for grammar and clarity.

2017 Honda CR-V, Submitted March 9, 2017

Driving my 2017 CRV EX home from work. Stopped at red light, foot on brake pedal. When the traffic signal turned green, I took my foot off the brake pedal, and a message came up on the dashboard screen “brake system failure”. The engine was still running. I turned onto a side street and tried to depress the brake pedal, but it was frozen and the vehicle would not stop.

I pulled into a parking lot and put the vehicle in ‘park’, and called the dealership where I leased the vehicle. The sales rep suggested I turn off the engine and restart it. I did that and all systems seemed to function properly.

I later took my CR-V back to the dealer, and they did a diagnostic check but found no definitive problem. The technician could only say the computer indicated something had occurred but could say what, or why, or whether it might occur again.

The service advisor said they could not find a problem, and everything seemed ok, and “have a nice day!” Now I am anxious when I drive wondering if, or when, the brake system might fail again. Is it just my CR-V, or has this issue been reported by anyone else? This issue, should it occur again while driving in traffic, could result in a serious crash situation.

2017 Honda CR-V, Submitted May 14, 2017

The Collision Mitigation Braking System is malfunctioning when driving over metal plates; during construction, metal plates were put on the road where I work. They do not stick out, area flush with the street, and are about 4 feet wide. Every time I get close to drive straight over them (at probably 20-25 MPH), my car slams onto the brakes and comes to a complete stop. If anybody were behind me, they would rear-end me. A colleague of mine bought the same car and has exactly the same problem. I had my car checked out at a Honda dealer and they told me everything is working properly. The system cannot be turned off permanently, so I have to turn it off manually every time I start the car. This is very dangerous, as somebody will get hurt soon if somebody is behind me and there is no reason I would come to such an abrupt stop.

2018 Honda CR-V, Submitted on July 16, 2018

I was driving about 70MPH on the highway west bound in the morning, no direct sunlight, it was an overcast day. I had the adaptive cruise control on. For no reason at all, my car slammed on the brakes, did a moderate nosedive and locked my seat belt. No warning whatsoever. There was not another car for at least a 1/4 to 1/2 mile in front of me. Unfortunately, there were cars behind me. I quickly disengaged the adaptive cruise control and floored the gas, avoiding an accident from the rear. I had this identical problem with a 2016 Honda Civic Touring, and every time I reported it, the dealership would blame sunlight, even if there was none when it happened. Something needs to be done about this.

2018 Honda CR-V, Submitted on August 11, 2018

Collision Mitigation Braking System activated inappropriately while traveling at 45 mph, on a clear day, straight road with no oncoming traffic. “Brake” displayed on dash with no warning alerts at the time the full brake came on. Driver and passenger thrown forward, locking seatbelts.

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