By on March 6, 2012

In a very small way, my family was involved in bringing the Honda CR-V to North America. As Honda hemmed and hawed about bringing their first in-house SUV to the continent, they quietly shipped over a few right-hand drive examples in late 1995 for employees to evaluate. As a car guy with two kids, my father, who was Honda’s in-house attorney at the time, was a perfect candidate, and got the bright blue CR-V for a few days. Festooned with chrome accents, graffiti-like graphics, a JDM fender mirror and brush bars, the right-hand drive CR-V got lots of attention. The CR-V finally came to North America two years later, without all the awful acoutrements that Japanese versions had in spades.

12 years have passed, and the CR-V really isn’t that much different from its first iteration, a rare quality in a segment where everyone from Ford to Kia to Mazda is trying to re-invent the segment. Avant-garde styling, high-tech engines and motion-activated tailgate sensors are all well and good, but the CR-V continues to be the sell strongly, despite its utterly utilitarian packaging.

The CR-V has neither a fancy Ecoboost engine or Laguna Seca-capable handling. Instead, it proudly boasts the segment’s lowest loading floor – a dubious accomplishment among the “CUVs drool, wagons rule” segment, but a brilliant feature for doing normal people things like grocery shopping or going to IKEA. My family bought a CR-V in 2003 – 6 months prior to that, my mother was bedridden for 6 months due to a severe gastrointestinal illness – while she was able to drive, she wasn’t strong enough to load groceries into the CR-V, and I had to accompany her. Hardly an arduous task for a teenage boy, but the low loading floor would have been a help for her at that time. Rather than lift objects up and into the cargo compartment, the floor sits at about knee height, eliminating the lifting motion. For anyone who has to load and unload something like a stroller or suitcases, it’s a wonderfully thoughtful touch. If more room is required, a pull-tab located on the rear seatback will let the rear bench fold with just one pull. No fiddling with headrests and levels – it’s easily accessible from the cargo compartment and takes two seconds. The cherry on top for the CR-V’s triad of useful gadgets is a backup camera, which was integrated with the navigation unit on our EX-L test car. The backup camera has three modes; a standard view, a wide-angle lens and a 90 degree downward view, akin to a periscope, that gives the driver a better view of protruding objects (pillars, poles and the like) that can cause expensive bumper damage with only light contact.

In motion, the CR-V drives how you would expect it to. Not remarkable in any area, but hardly the porridge pile that most car guys expect from a small crossover. The 2.4L 4-cylinder makes 185 horsepower, an adequate amount of power for a vehicle this size. Why didn’t Honda opt for a more powerful engine, along with something more advanced than the 5-speed automatic transmission? Simple – customers don’t care how many forward gears it has. On the road, the combination works seamlessly and delivers 22 mpg in town and 31 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel drive system has been revised to always send a nominal amount of torque to the rear wheels – again, this wasn’t noticeable on the road, but a CR-V conquering anything more severe than a light dusting of snow on a paved road would surprise me. Steering feel is no longer the lifeless “oars in a bowl of yogurt” feel that was present in my mother’s 2003 model, but it doesn’t provide much feedback. Really, the only extreme driving that happened on the entire drive was a panic stop, and the CR-V’s brakes helped prevent a Honda/Corolla sandwich from occurring.

The interesting thing about the CR-V is that when everyone else is trying to advance the game to new levels of equipment, technology and gadgets, the CR-V is making incremental improvements to a formula that has proved successful. In a sense, Honda is placing a bet that consumers don’t care that the drive to Costco is more important than driving with Ecoboost or SKYACTIV technology. Honda made a similar bet with the Civic – and while sales are strong, Honda is throwing a lot of cash on the hood as it clears out the current car before a refreshed design debuts in 2013. Nevertheless, I am confident that Honda got it right here.  The CR-V was tops in small SUV sales last month – don’t look for that to stop any time soon.

Brendan McAleer previously review the CR-V here

 

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110 Comments on “Review: 2012 Honda CR-V Take Two...”


  • avatar
    srogers

    Backup camera! What about my liberties! I demand the right to back-the-hell all over whatever I choose without some government mandated nanny-camera recording the whole process.
    ; )

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Nobody complains about the availability of backup cameras. It is an out of control government making them mandatory that eliminates choice and is endemic of a pattern of legislation that prices people out of new car ownership.

      • 0 avatar
        srogers

        tilting at windmills much?

      • 0 avatar
        SherbornSean

        I know, right? These socialist pinkos will stop at nothing to control every part of the driving experence. Just this morning, I go for a drive, and the first thing I see is a big red octagon telling me to stop. How dare they! Then, a couple of minutes later, a yellow triangle telling me to yield. No way, pal, yielding is for third world banana republics, not this American!

      • 0 avatar
        GS650G

        The very first time you back over something you will wish you had a camera to see behind the car.

      • 0 avatar
        rwb

        I’d wish for windows I could see out of, if I were you.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        @srogers

        Troll much?

        @GS650G

        at that point it’s a little late, don’t you think? Maybe you should look first.

        @Derek Kreindler or Niedermeyer or whoever is running this place now, you better crack the whip on us.

      • 0 avatar

        The saddest part of the backup camera is that the spear man of the movement is some PTSD man who murdered his own 2-year-old son and now wants us all to pay for his misdeed. There was an article about it by Jack Baruth just recently.

      • 0 avatar
        KitaIkki

        “The saddest part of the backup camera is that the spear man of the movement is some PTSD man who murdered his own 2-year-old son and now wants us all to pay for his misdeed.”

        Exactly.

    • 0 avatar
      KitaIkki

      So if it’s not forced on everybody, it’s banned or not “accessible?”
      Thanks for clearing that up. What happened to “choice?”

      Camera may not even be the best choice. What if it’s dark? Raining? Snowing? Foggy? Or if the camera lens is dirty? A radar/sonar system with audible alarm may actually be cheaper and more effective.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        “What happened to “choice?””

        Is that available for pregnant women as well?

      • 0 avatar
        PJ McCombs

        ^ win

      • 0 avatar
        KitaIkki

        This is the wrong website for it, but since you asked …

        If the “choice” is between keeping the baby or putting it up for adoption. That’s always been available.

        If the “choice” includes eliminating that inconvenient clump of tissues in the belly … That’s also available. In the US. Since 1973.

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        Some cameras have night vision, which handles that problem nicely. The problem with some back-up sensors that are not cameras is that they won’t pick up poles or iron-bar fences until it’s way too late.

        Amongst crossovers, the CR-V has one of the most decent rear windows. Any bigger would be useless, as you can’t actually see anything in a rear window that dips below the back seat. Doesn’t change the fact that you still can’t see poles or rocks or whatever in your side-mirror when they’re directly under your rear bumper.

      • 0 avatar
        toxicroach

        The reverse lights are pretty much sufficient to generate enough light for them to work regardless of lighting conditions.

        I don’t see how mandatory RADAR or SONAR would be any better safety wise or less intrusive…

        I’m kinda getting the “any technology that existed when I was a kid is normal, anything that was invented between my 15th and 35th birthday I can make money from, anything invented after that is unnatural” vibe here.

        I’m not up for a whole lot of government interference, but on the whole mandatory backup cams has to be way way down the list of things to rollback when the revolution comes.

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        I’ve used rear-cameras lit by the back-up lights… and while they’re okay in normal use, on dark, rain-soaked nights where the street lighting is insufficient (which is my garage on Wednesdays and Thursdays), they suck compared to those with low-light modes.

    • 0 avatar
      daviel

      That’s so you can see what you just ran over.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Good review, Derek.

      I’ve always said there are three things Honda could do to make this an even better seller than it is, and they are not that difficult or expensive:

      1) Add about 35 to 50 pounds of road noise suppression sandwich material to the floor (Honda should do this with most of their vehicles).

      2) Put in some nice soft touch materials to the dash, get rid of the cheesy door pulls and the silver painted plastic.

      3) Adjust the suspension so that it’s set on glide-o-matic, ala Nissan Quest of yore.

      People in this segment may not be buying a Land Rover, but they want a quiet, comfortable ride, and a better tactile environment than what Honda currently provides them with in this vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Yep – you nailed it. I’m at 230K miles with a ’99 CR-V AWD EX five speed manual that we bought new and I’d gladly buy the same vehicle all over again with zero updates except more sound deadener and a six gear. Apparently the Element got the sixth gear previously reserved for the Acura products only so it’s a cheap and easy upgrade when I put the first clutch in.

        While not perfect, we are still quite satisfied with the old girl. Contrary to the thoughts of the author of this article – the AWD does work pretty well if the four tires have similar traction. The differnetials are open. This past weekend we went wandering around on muddy trails and country roads and the only time we had trouble was when we put a front tire into a deep puddle which lifted one rear tire off of the ground by a few inches. One front wheel spun, one rear wheel was in the air. We simply put me on the rear bumper and the kids in the cargo area and it touched the rear wheel to the muddy ground and the ‘V backed up without much drama though all four tires where spinning a bit.

        Our ‘V has been off road many times over the past 12 years. Nothing too strenuous – mostly places that tested the traction and suspension articulation (not much due to highway tuned suspension).

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      You’ll be mocking us out of the other side of your face when the jack-booted thugs from the IRS, DEA, or ATF come for you on the slightest pretense.

      We draw the line of liberty at the FARTHEST outpost of indivudual freedom….

    • 0 avatar
      Invisible

      http://www.hondasacuras.com/2012/07/2013-european-cr-v-updates.html

      That’s nothing, the Euro CR-V has.
      LED daytime running lights
      Keyless entry and push button start
      Power tailgate
      Hill Descent Control
      Honda’s Advanced Driver Assist System, or ADAS – includes:
      Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
      Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
      Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)
      “Emergency Stop System (ESS) will automatically activate the brake and hazard warning lights (indicators).
      memory seat
      parking sensors,
      turn signal mirrors
      headlamp washers.

  • avatar
    MarkP

    Our 2005 CRV was a decent car. It didn’t get 31 mpg on the highway (not city), but it did amazingly well in slippery conditions. Are you saying that its capabilities in that regard are less now than in earlier models?

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I’d suggest that the earlier models were more utilitarian and had less refinement. I’d argue their simplicity might have equaled durability and toughness compared to the recent versions. Toughness being relative to car based CUVs.

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    I agree with Derek. The CR-V is a solid vehicle that does what it’s supposed to do, and does it very well. This is one vehicle that Honda has gotten right and it’s good to see them keeping it that way.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Title should be “Pleasant Honda childhood memories: Honda CRV Take One”

  • avatar
    sckid213

    I can just hear the Honda PR team nodding their heads as they read this review. “Somebody finally gets it! We’re not resting on our laurels, we’re making INCREMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS to PROVEN PRODUCTS! None of those other auto writers know what they’re talking about! Send Kreindler a free Crosstour!”

    In this day and age, when Kia and Ford of all organizations have a reputation for advancing technology (a rep that used to go to Honda), incremental improvements alone are not enough. I get being conservative about new technology to maintain reliability. But coming out with zero new or advanced features at all results in your product being perceived as outdated and your company as lazy. And that’s exactly what’s happening here.

    A standard back-up camera is not impressive, especially since they will likely be required on every vehicle anyway. Hell, even the “kick under the back of the car to open the trunk” feature of the next Escape is somewhat interesting, and enough to differentiate a vehicle.

    There’s nothing to set this CR-V apart. It’s hard to market on “more of the same.” And the review of this reflect it. Yes it’s still a good vehicle…and that’s because it’s basically the same vehicle.

    I’m convinced Honda has no grasp on marketing. They sold based on build quality and reliability and never had to aggressively market themselves. Along the way, they were given a reputation for innovation and performance by the media. That’s been thrown away.

    It’s great the the CR-V is the #1-selling small SUV right now. Once upon a time, the Cutlass Supreme was the #1 selling car in America. Then competitors moved ahead and left it in the dust. Now more than ever, move forward or get left behind.

    • 0 avatar

      How is the Focus selling? Go ahead…I’ll wait.

      • 0 avatar
        strafer

        Isn’t that the same attitude that Detroit had?
        We’re selling lots of cars, why bother with new technology.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        With historical perspective to the Civic, about the same as it always has if you’re looking at the first two months of 2012.

        Instead of comparing Apples to Oranges or using numbers in place of terrible punctuation (your post below), you could have enlightened the reader by highlighting a future test to your article’s sales theory: the transition of the Escape into 2013. You’ll be able to see 1st hand if a technology packed, ‘sophisticated’ platform will be accepted by buyers that are used to a utilitarian, small SUV. It will be very interesting. And I’ve shared your same opinion about this segment. It’s good to see it validated by this website. Article had some good content.

    • 0 avatar
      Brendan McAleer

      “Send Kreindler a free Crosstour!”

      No no, they only do that if you’ve been bad.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      In this segment, quality and reliability trumps performance and innovation. By a mile. CR-V’s drivetrain isn’t sexy but it works very well and it’s bullet proof.

      Honda can’t sit on their hands forever, but they’re wise to let the tech mature before sticking it in a family truckster.

    • 0 avatar
      MZ3AUTOXR

      My sister in law has a previous generation, and she had one before that. When she needs a car, she’ll get another CRV.

      It does what she wants. Gets her to and from work and shopping while not killing her on gas and doesn’t spend time at the shop.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Oldsmobile didn’t go from the Penthouse to the grave because they built conservative cars. They lost their market because they built cars terribly. It wasn’t pushrods and beam axles that undid GM’s dominance. It was peeling paint, delaminating interior panels, shocking rust, distributor type diesel injection pumps, aluminum engines, pioneering variable displacement, brake distribution issues of FWD compacts, and people who insisted that they knew what people wanted better than the people themselves. You can usually see evidence of the mindset right here, incidentally.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Screwing a cell phone in the dash which does not work ( mytouch ) and a transmission with problems ( powershift ) is not technological leadership. Shipping old Volvo platforms ( Explorer, Flex ) and old Mazda platforms ( Edge, Fusion, Focus ) is stone age. Consumer Reports does a good job exposing all the above.

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      When has Honda ever been cutting edge with technology? They were extremely late on adding fuel injection. I remember my friend’s base model 1990 Corolla had a low gas light whereas my 1994 Civic didn’t. Most of their base model manual transmission cars in the 80′s were 4 speed too. Civics came with rear drum brakes as late as 2006! Ancient.

      I think the appeal of Honda has always been how well crafted and simple they used to be.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        CVCC and VTEC are the first – and only – two that came to my mind, and those were arguably driven by marketing as much as the actual technological benefits.

        I think you’re right – Honda’s primary strength has been how efficiently it implemented technologies introduced by others, as well as the assembly quality the company once was known for.

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        CVCC and “real” twin-cam VTEC equipped Hondas are few and far between too. Of all the Integras sold, not many of them were GS-R’s. Of all the 92-96 Preludes, very few were the H22 VTEC models. I’m one of those folks that doesn’t consider the single cam “VTEC” engines to be real VTEC. There’s almost no added benefit to having it.

        Honda does a great job of adapting other companies technologies and making them extremely reliable. They may be late to the game, but they usually get it right. Lately though….

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        My ’99 ‘V got it’s first rear brake shoes at about 215K miles. What’s wrong with drum rear brakes? We had low fuel lights in our ’86 and ’87 Accords. The Civic seems to have represented a broad spectrum – from well equipped (for it’s class) to the most basic thing on the road. There was a hige difference between our CR-V and our friends’ Civic – both built in the same year. The Civic was really basic and the shifter was made of something entirely different from the still tight shifter in our ‘V. That Civic was used up by 150K miles and at 230K miles our CR-V is still has many more miles left in it. Perhaps 325K or more.

  • avatar
    mlhm5

    Regardless of what you review, the facts are that the median family income is $52K and at $4 a gallon and increasing, the new paradigm for most Americans will be the old ICE they have today and any new cars will be EV or PHEV.

    As far as EV, IMO, someone will buy Tesla and flush it, just so they can keep from changing.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Interior packaging and ergonomics are the one shark that Honda hasn’t jumped yet, although upmarket abortions like the ZDX seem to indicate they’re getting ready to try.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    I have to agree that Honda didn’t screw this one up. It’s actually not bad looking to me. I did notice the low floor height when I looked at one at NAIAS.

    I wouldn’t have minded putting one of these on my shopping list back in December, but I get a discount from my grandfather for Fords. So a new ’12 Escape is sitting in my garage. Simple? Yup. A little dated? Perhaps a bit. Practical to a fault? You bet.

  • avatar
    thirty-three

    “…and delivers 22 mpg in town and 31 mpg in the city…”

    That sounds backwards.

  • avatar
    ktm

    My mother bought a Honda CR-V in 1998 and drove it for 12 years. She loved the upright seating position, large green house, fuel economy, and general driving experience. She replaced it in 2010 with another CR-V. While the new CR-V is defintely larger and more refined, it did so without losing the plot as to why it was so successful.

    “In this day and age, when Kia and Ford of all organizations have a reputation for advancing technology (a rep that used to go to Honda), incremental improvements alone are not enough. I get being conservative about new technology to maintain reliability. But coming out with zero new or advanced features at all results in your product being perceived as outdated and your company as lazy. And that’s exactly what’s happening here.”

    Yah, and we all know how well swinging for the fences worked for General Motors…..

    It is incremental improvements that allowed Toyota and Honda to absolutely destroy the domestics market share over 30 years. Oh, wait, apparently incremetnal improvements is not how one should improve upon a car.

  • avatar
    Johnnyangel

    A nice review that, without being over-flattering, fairly stated why there are customers loyal to this vehicle (instead of writing it off the way several buff books have).

    But this inadvertently made me angry: “Gives the driver a better view of protruding objects (pillars, poles and the like) that can cause expensive bumper damage with only light contact.”

    Why can’t we get back to robust, black or gray bumpers (realizing that chrome is no longer really practical) that, you know, actually act as bumpers, instead of being effectively just about as vulnerable and expensive to damage as any other part of a car?

    • 0 avatar
      MZ3AUTOXR

      Because it’s cheaper to fix bumpers than to fix people.

      • 0 avatar
        Johnnyangel

        Painted bumpers that must be expensively refinished after a scratch have nothing whatsoever to do with protecting people; they’re all about style, relatively low manufacturing costs, and profits. And we pay higher insurance bills and repair costs than we should because the government rolled back its own impact standards as the result of industry lobbying.

      • 0 avatar
        MZ3AUTOXR

        Okay, I see your point.

        I think most people would prefer that their car not be as ugly as crap.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        I’ve thought for awhile now that the non-bumper bumper problem could best be solved by setting a cap on low speed insurance or at-fault party liability.

        As it is, buyers have no reason to care – or even a way to know before the fact – whether a parking garage love tap will run $500 or $5000 because they pay one deductible either way, and ideally it’s someone else’s fault and the owner doesn’t pay even that. Of course resilience comes last when it isn’t allowed to be a selling point.

        Set it up so low speed costs beyond $500 are the vehicle owners’ out of pocket liability and you’d better believe that the next generation of every car would have real bumpers and an IIHS 5 star bumper rating right there on the window sticker.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The frayed bumpers common on late model cars in urban areas aren’t exactly attractive.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        I nailed a doe at Thanksgiving with our ’99 ‘V. It broke the bumper, cracked a headlight, took out the grille and forward edge of the hood. Everything expensive was intact and no airbag deployment. I continued on to my destination.

    • 0 avatar

      Buy a Wrangler with black unpainted bumpers, they are still available.

      • 0 avatar
        ezeolla

        I love my steel bumper on my TJ. If I ever hit a pole likely nothing will happen, and if something does, give me a mallet and some spray paint and it will look good as new.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      And the buff books don’t exactly have alot of credibility anymore. If they are such experts they would have a business plan that turns a profit like they used to. I got another magazine offer this morning for a car magazine at about $10 per year. When I was a kid in the 80s magazines cost that much per year.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    I really like the interior trim and design of the new CRV. It won’t bowl you over but it has a nice upper middle market feel to it. It totally fits into the “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” ethos.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Honda fan talking to me in 1995:
    “You own a car with pushrods?! Only 2 valves per cylinder!! The Mustang uses a live axle!! The Corvette has leaf springs!! Oh my God!! What absolutely ANCIENT designs!! Go back to the trailer park with your tractor-car and mullet you hillbilly!!

    Honda fan talking to me in 2012:
    “Direct injection is not proven!! Five-speeds is good enough for me!! More tech means more repairs!! Consumers don’t care!! If it isn’t broke it doesn’t need changing!!”

    /Honda fans yell a lot.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Well, I don’t own any Honda vehicles myself but my son and his wife do, which includes a 2010 Pilot, a 2008 Odyssey and a 2011 CR-V for their daughter at college. They also own a 1992 S-10 Tahoe for the really nasty stuff.

      All these vehicles except the S-10 are daily drivers and rack up the miles. None of them have given them any grief, nor did the Honda vehicles before them. They keep replacing the parts on the S-10 (waterpump, Alternator, radiator, AC compressor) because it’s cheaper to keep’r. They trade the Hondas every 3-5 years before they hit 100K miles on the clock.

      If you have great ownership experiences with a car, no matter who makes it, you’re going to be inclined to be a repeat buyer. And the Honda CR-V has been a crowd pleaser, no matter where it is made.

      In fact ALL Honda vehicles have been crowd pleasers. Maybe this year Honda will repair its supply train and increase its sales.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        “If you have great ownership experiences with a car, no matter who makes it, you’re going to be inclined to be a repeat buyer. And the Honda CR-V has been a crowd pleaser, no matter where it is made.”
        I completely agree with that and that is why Honda and Toyota will continue to do well in the US market for some time to come. Although they must be disappointed by their February figures, growing less than the market did, hence losing market share. I thought they were back up to a good inventory position given all the $209 a month Camry offers I see on this website.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Mike978, I’m sure that both Toyota and Honda are still in shock about their disappointing sales figures.

        One of my sons is married to a Japanese lady and she told me that much of Japan is still in malaise about ‘the great tragedy’ that befell Japan, the quake and tsunami. That took a lot out of all of them – no family was untouched by that tragedy.

        And even though they are rebuilding both in Japan and Thailand, there appears to be no sense of urgency because management can’t whip people who are still depressed.

        The key here appears to be restoration of their supply pipeline. But until both Toyota and Honda become fully competitive again, we’re going to see depressed sales figures. They still make good stuff but are just selling fewer of them.

        OTOH, Nissan has not been damaged by the floods, tsunami and earthquake as much as Toyota and Honda. Goshn has called all the right shots and Nissan sales are on a roll. The only thing that remains questionable is Nissan’s extensive use of CVT.

        A friend of ours recently parked her Murano after the second CVT failed. The first one was replaced under warranty and the second one would have cost her an arm and a leg out of pocket.

        So she ate the loss on the Murano (which was paid off) and bought herself a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4X4 Limited 5.7L in stunning Metallic Red with a Black Cloth interior. Truly a “Look at Me!” combination!

        The Murano remains parked on her front lawn with a For Sale sign on it.

      • 0 avatar
        MBsam

        Er, you know about the CrossTour right? The Insight as well?

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Yeah I’m a bit wary about the CVT myself. Too bad about the lady in the Murano, I would be quite upset if my transmission blew twice in what I would assume is under 100K and left me with near scrap value. What is this, 80s GM?

    • 0 avatar
      Slab

      This sounds like me. Totally loyal Acura owner from 1986 until 2004. I was proud to own cutting edge technology in a dependable wrapper until they became neither cutting edge nor particularly dependable.

  • avatar
    rwb

    I hate these cars. My mother owns a 2007. Feels to me like rolling pool furniture, and I’m certain the transmission contains nothing but applesauce.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    “Honda is placing a bet that consumers don’t care that the drive to Costco is more important than driving with Ecoboost or SKYACTIV technology.”

    So I guess you are a big fan of all those 3.8 equipped GM vehicles out there.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      Those 3.8 GM engines are good motors. Now if only the general would have put as much engineering in them over the years as the LS motors they would be totally awesome engines.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        I agree. Solid mechanically and in generally comfortable and reliable cars. But they weren’t selling at the “Honda Premium” prices either. There are better options in this segment.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Long live the 3800. One of the best motor engines of all time available virtually everywhere at more than affordable pricing. Try to obtain a used V6 Accord similar year/miles/options as a LeSabre/Grand Prix/Olds whatever… and last I checked Honda’s are not immune to broken power window regulators, bent control arms, and slushbox issues.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        The 3.8 would have been even better if they hadn’t filled the cooling system with that crappy DexCool…

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Our 2002 CR-V has given us excellent service. I flinched at what we paid for it – it is an EX model – the first and so far only time I have paid over 20K for a vehicle.

    I didn’t want to buy it, but wifey wanted a car all her own, and as two of her co-workers had CR-Vs, she wanted one too. The co-workers didn’t keep theirs long, but ours is just about 10 years old.

    So far, so good…

  • avatar
    smokingclutch

    “my father, who was Honda’s in-house attorney at the time”

    This explains much. At least you are honest about it.

  • avatar
    niky

    I think the one disappointing thing about the new CR-V is that the face is so… bland.

    The previous face may have drawn Quasimodian comparisons, but it was dynamic and interesting. About the only thing dyanmic and interesting on our 2007 car.

    Otherwise, if they’ve kept the formula, good. I’ve driven the competition. The Tucson and Sportage have design in spades, but everything is tight and small, and the fashionable high belt-line makes seeing out of the cars a nightmare.

    What’s wrong with a simple, upright greenhouse that won’t bang your forehead when you get in the front seats or, alternately, lacerate it when you open the ridiculously winglike rear door? (Sportage… don’t laugh… I know two people who’ve done this already)

    Honda builds a solid car with lots and lots of space, a supremely useful cargo area, good user-friendliness and an engine that’s fuel-efficient with fewer gears than everyone else. Of late, I’ve been disappointed with some of the quality issues… our leatherette isn’t the most durable, and the second-gens had terrible knocking engine-mounts… but I can’t think of a more practical, more intelligent choice for a crossover.

    Even if it does drive like a mouth full of novocaine.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    On the east coast, CRVs and Civics sell fast near sticker price. I know people who are waiting for the prices to drop before making an attempt to purchase one. Meanwhile, Detroit vehicles are being sold at huge discounts to the sticker price.

    Myself, I am working on picking up a 12 Camry Hybrid LE. But, I am also waiting for a discount before I pull the trigger. I walked into a Toyota dealer Sunday, then left after I saw every sales cube had an eager buyer. Perhaps after the European collapse I will get a deal.

    • 0 avatar
      MBsam

      Wow, there’s a made-up scenario if I ever heard one. Your sweeping statements are entertaining. Enjoy that gorgeous Camry. It certainly is a scintillating ride.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Umm, from a quick check the Cruze has no cash on the hood and via Truecar a whopping 1% can be taken off the price! For the Equinox there is no cash on the hood and a super large 3% is available off the MSRP. So your first paragraph has some factual errors, cue the surprise.

      Also why would you get a deal on the Camry hybrid if there was a European collapse? They don`t sell it in Europe.

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    The CRV needs a V6 option like the Toyota RAV 4. Honda 21st century seemingly falls short of taking that extra step of making anything interesting (and I don’t want to be ripped off buying an “Acura”).

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I think Honda would like you to buy a Pilot if driving a V-6 is important to you. I don’t think a V-6 is important in the CR-V at all and I’ve put a couple hundred miles on a 2010.

      Just wish they’d bring back the five or six speed manual. I don’t want to own an automatic. I’ve owned two years ago. Don’t want another despite the ‘V and a GM having the best driving automatics I’ve used.

  • avatar
    carrosusadosbrasil

    Beatiful car. I Love Honda

  • avatar
    jogrd

    Sad as it is to say, either this bland lump or the Fit may be the best vehicles Honda builds now. Maybe in 20 years or so when I’ve cultivated a lot more back and ear hair I will find such an obvious grandma car desireable.

    Honda is about as interesting to me now as an ex-wife as far as I’m concerned.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Based on the comments sections here alone sometimes I’m surprised the name of this site isn’t http://www.thestrawmanargumentaboutcars.com.

    TSMAAC has a nice ring to it.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Or http://www.ireallyneedtobashacarcompanyidontlikebutwhichothersdoandwhichidontgetwhy.com

    shortening to the very memorable IRNTBACCIDLBWODAWIDGW

  • avatar
    Adamatari

    OK, so it’s a good little CUV. What happened to Honda excellece? Honda used to have the best motors… Now their competitors are lapping them. Where is the engine technology, Honda?

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      they don’t need it. they have a captive market of people who have always bought Hondas, and always will buy Hondas. When your typical customer does their “car shopping” by going to their local dealer every three years and saying “I want a silver one this time” you don’t have to try very hard.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      Well, the jury is still out on “pure” DI engines when it comes to intake valve issues over time; but yes, the 5-speed auto could have been upgraded to improve performance and fuel mileage even more… maybe next year.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Maybe they are balancing durability, cost, economy and performance here. If you want power, you could pursue one of the larger Honda engines? Or the CR-Z?

      I don’t see the point of a high strung performance engine in a family grocery getter. What purpose would a VTEC engine have here?

      I can rev the hell out of my ’99′V and it just gets hard to shift smooth. It does goes faster. ;)

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    “The interesting thing about the CR-V is that when everyone else is trying to advance the game to new levels of equipment, technology and gadgets, the CR-V is making incremental improvements to a formula that has proved successful.”

    I don’t know if I find that very interesting, for the same reason the new Camry isn’t very interesting. A competent & bland product made slightly better through incremental improvements so as not to alienate a loyal audience who simply (and perhaps rightly) just wants a transportation appliance is good business. But not interesting.

    This review reads a little too much like a paid advertisement, IMO. Light on details. Written as if this vehicle exists in a vacuum and there are not similarly competent competitors.

    It’s actually good to see appliances defended as appliances, but hopefully this same utilitarian measure will be applied to all other cars that were designed with the consumer rather than enthusiast in mind. A similar retrospective defense of the 2009 Corolla, anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      smokingclutch

      “This review reads a little too much like a paid advertisement, IMO.”

      What else would you expect, when the author’s daddy used to be a bigwig at Honda North America? Don’t want to burn any bridges.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Does the new CR-V still have a rear seat that will fit three adults (or three child seats?) If so, this car does exist in a vacum.
    It may not be the most interesting car in the world, but a lot of us still buy cars not only out of interest or to follow the latest fad. It has a small enough footprint and engine to be useful in a city environment, enough ground clearance to climb snowdrifts, and a decent enough 4wd system to get me up the hill I bought a house on. And it’s still lightweight enough (or noisy as some say) and the engine spirited enough to get around without a v6. And if it’s anything like the old (2002-2006) version, you can actually see out of it, not unlike older Hondas.
    Unlike most new car buyers though, I find gadgets unnecessary and distracting… But, yeah, it looks boring.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “It may not be the most interesting car in the world, but a lot of us still buy cars not only out of interest or to follow the latest fad”

      You’ll get no argument from me there.

      Not sure about sitting three adults/car seats abreast in the CR-V or any of its competitors. But the RAV4 I rented a year ago had gobs of rear legroom, a roomy cargo bay, low loading floor, fold-flat seats w/ the pull of a lever, a peppy & efficient 4-banger, AWD, nimble handling, and seems like more ground clearance than this CR-V. I believe most of that can be said for the Escape, Forester, and Rogue as well, so I don’t think these attributes are unique to the Honda.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      “Light enough that you don’t need a V-6″ – EXACTLY!

      Our 1st gen has plenty of leg room and enough width that we’ve had a booster and a babyseat with a narrow hipped adult in the middle for a short distance. We could put two adults with a child in the middle in the back seat for an out of town trip. I find it to be excellent for hauling kids. I can haul three tweens and everybody has plenty of room in the backseat.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    So the rear seats fold completely flat with the pull of a strap including the lower cushion tumbling forward and no need to remove the headrests? I’m impressed. It was literally a 10 step process to fold the seats flat in my 2001 Passat wagon. Worst. Design. Ever.

    The magic seats in the Honda Fit are still my favorite though.

  • avatar
    JerseyDan

    Hey Derek, How about a comparison between the chevy equinox , the cr-v and the rav-4 many of us here need a family truckster…

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      That was a list of vehicles I was shopping. Apparently the Equinox weighs 4000 lbs. No thanks. I wanted a vehicle better suited to a four cylinder.

      The ‘V is still within a couple hundred pounds of it’s original weight.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    The CRV is a compelling argument if you could buy one for 22 grand. Much less so at 27-28 which is what most upmarket versions on dealer lots are going for.

  • avatar
    minneapolis_lakers

    There’s a reason why the CR-V sells like hotcakes — its got a silky smooth powertrain and agile, car-like handling.

    My folks got a 04, and I love driving it. The things I don’t like about it are the cheap interior parts, highway noise, and rear visibility.

    • 0 avatar
      blautens

      I bought a 2003 CR-V new and drove it for 3 years and 36k miles and completely agree – nothing cutting edge (well, the VTEC motor is pretty nice) but everything worked. I actually like the 2nd gen better still for it’s cargo space – say what you will about being boxy – it’s practical. And being 6’4″ I liked the side opening hatch (I bean my oversized noggin on every other conventional hatch at least once), even liked the direction it opened. A fold away front center tray as a console! You could walk to the back nicely, just like my 1993 Caravan. A “picnic” table in the floor of the back – which I used regularly (for RC car racing, sadly – never a picnic).

      I can’t ding it for being noisy on the highway (like most Hondas, actually) or inexpensive interior materials – it was $18,400. And I sold it to CarMax for $13,500 3 years later. One AC failure covered under warranty (even though the warranty had actually just expired). No stranding me roadside type problems.

      Problem is – not fun. No soul. I had a ’96 Impala SS at the time for that. But once I consolidated to one car, I couldn’t take it and sold it to buy a ridiculously unreliable (I know many tow truck drivers by name) but extremely quick Chevy TBSS.

      I’ve owned a few Hondas, but I’m no fanboy though. Honda automatics fail. Frequently. And certain things, like AC failures, are also common (but not crippling). I still own a 1999 Honda Civic EX my daughter drives that sports fluid leaks no one can seem to fix. But for the most part, reliable and well engineered. Solid feeling chassis and accurate steering from mile 1 to mile 150,000.

      I actually miss that CR-V, usually even more when I see my TBSS towed away as I phone the local Enterprise rental office I have in my phone’s frequent contacts.

  • avatar
    Beechkid

    I recently spend a full day driving family members 2012 CRV. With 1,000 miles on the odometer, I spent the previous day doing routine service checks & cleaning (wash/vacuumed) before our departure from So Cal to Solvang (July 2012) and other locations for the day. Total miles traveled was just over 300 in both city/hwy (including very heavy traffic). Our speeds ranged from 5 mph (stop/go) to 80 mph. On board were 4 persons ranging in age from early 20′s to early 70′s.
    My opinion, as a former Honda owner (1500 cvcc civic hatchback) I was anxious to really experience what Honda had accomplished. My opinion …..
    As I washed & waxed the paint I observed what was unmistakable Honda, very thin paint…a continued issue that effects longitivity of the quality finish/shine that has plagued Hondas for decades- I guess when you are trying to cut every corner and save every penny, it counts but at the long term expense of the owner that degrades the potential resale/trade-in value. Additionally, the “plastic” front bumper cover (commonly found on all vehicles) was exhibiting checking on the very bottom, a sign/indicator that the primer was improperly applied, and/or did not possess the proper composition to ensure bonding in flexible situations which it must be designed to for.
    I also found the fit of the exterior body panels to be poor….while horizontal panel lines ran parallel, the gap was excessive (even larger than the Honda’s 80’s) and alignment (surface to surface) was misaligned by 1/16”…. better than in the 80′s & 90′s, but given the robotic assembly that is used by every mfg including Honda, these tolerances should be at minimum 1/3 less just to match that of every other mfg in the world. The bodylines (styling) is one of the beholder, but looking at the doors & side panels it was very clear in an attempt to minimize weight, panel strength had been sacrificed…as the large height of the panels would not support their shape with the standard gauge metal found in Hondas’…meaning, the panels will bend, twist & warp as a result of vehicle flex because there is not enough strength….requiring the “unique” placement of body lines, creases, etc to provide that rigidity. On the surface, that sounds good but in long term reality, the shape of the bodylines only provides a temp solution and in 10 years under normal use, the body panels will have many “waves’ as a result.
    The interior….standard Honda (seats, upholstery, carpets, mats, etc.), they do the job, nothing great or bad. The dash layout & e-tronics were adequate & functioned as required…I say adequate because there was really nothing outstanding or bad about them. The one exception that I can say is the dash mounted shifter……this thing reminds me of the same automatic transmission shifters used in school buses………both in location & style- you have to be kidding me Honda, this is the best you could come up with?
    Drive train- Honda’s engines are unmistakable still excellent, but the automatic transmission was clearly geared for operation that didn’t requiring the ability to pass another slow moving vehicle of provide the immediate torque to accelerate from a dead stop to get out of the way from being rear-ended…an issue for any family vehicle to take seriously into consideration…additionally, the e-control software program for the transmission specifically limited the performance of the engine by not being matched to the engine’s power band. Mfg’s who have weak drive train components will do this as a way to eliminate the force onto these parts…….they can still advertise the engine turns 7,000 RPM & makes 200 hp, but in all reality when you get it on the road, the transmission will not allow the engine to rev above 5200 rpm (lets say) by shifting into the next gear. Torque steer at freeway speeds is present (especially during acceleration onto the freeway)- almost as bad as the front wheel drives of the 70’s…. considering that every mfg both domestic & foreign has resolved this through common design practices, is inconceivable why Honda has not employed the same practices into this that they have in the new civic- I guess saving another 10 cents.
    Tires/Suspension- Adequate in terms of general handling, braking, turning, etc. But, especially observable at hwy speeds, the rear suspension does not rack well, the rear suspension constantly follows the “groves” of the road in some cases almost to the point of “disobeying” the commands of driver input into the front suspension (this could easily pose a unsafe handling issue on wet/slippery roads)….again, another definite issue that any family should strongly consider before purchasing.
    Gas mileage- yes, all Hondas get good mileage and we ran this one in both Eco & non-eco modes- and averaged 33 mpg. But here is a point of issue- for several hours on our trip we wanted to see just what the max/best mpg we could get (tracking by both the mpg meter & fill up- which BTW the mpg meter is pretty close)- this 3,000 pound vehicle actually only got about 6 mpg better than my 5,000 pound Ford 150 (2006, 5.4 V8, Super crew- 4 door, 2 wheel drive). Thinking back to my Honda which almost always got 35 mpg +, 30 years later Honda should have been able to gain much more mpg’s & power than what they have achieved…..I felt shortchanged.
    Unless you have never driven a good car (low or high end), I simply cannot see how anyone could look carefully, test drive this vehicle and believe it is a good vehicle. There are just so many industry standards that Honda has both failed to meet by any mfg comparison and even that aside, taking into consideration of what the Honda’s were of 20/30 years ago and by comparison see what they are producing for the increased price today, is disappointing especially when you look at the return on investment. Yes in the short term your resale is ok, but at 5 years+, the quality of just the aesthetic materials alone will cause a substantial financial loss compared to what the competition is providing today (and has been for the past 5 years). In any economy but especially today with all of the financial struggles that exist, please look very carefully at not just the name on this vehicle, but these issues because it is your very hard earned money that each person relies upon to build/provide for their future- Honda has clearly failed to arise to the occasion in this aspect.

    • 0 avatar
      Beechkid

      Update…..September 17, 2013

      Yesterday my relative was involved in an accident with this vehicle. In summary, she traveling and de-accelerating from 30 mph, approaching a stop sign. Prior to the main intersection, a driver purposefully pulled out from a side street, my relative struck the rear quarter panel of the vehicle. Here is important information, while crumple zones (crash absorbent) are designed into every vehicle to reduce impact unto the occupants, this vehicle was totaled…..the engine/transaxle mounts broke (as designed) but physically breached (the entire drive-train) into the front occupant compartment….law enforcement investigators have confirmed the speed of my relatives vehicle was 30 mph and slowing when the collision occurred. The structural failure (my opinion) combined with the air-bag system activation induced both visual & physical trauma to the driver (my relative) to the extend they vomited & then lost consciousness, requiring transport to a Trauma I center. IMHO, an increase of speed by 5 mph or more, or a more direct hit would have resulted in occupant entrapment requiring forcible entry tools to gain access and remove the occupants.
      Regardless of what safety rating these or any vehicle receives, it is important to have someone who understands basic vehicle structures/mechanics look at a vehicle before purchase. If this would have occurred, I personally would have never let this sale go proceed…..and mind you, this level of damage occurred at 30 mph, slowing and a glancing blow…..
      Prior to anyone purchasing this as a “family” vehicle after reading this, should strongly re-consider as you family’s well being is surely “At Risk” IMHO.


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