The current Honda CR-V is the fourth generation of Honda's popular and widely acclaimed compact SUV. Completely redesigned for 2012, the Honda CR-V carries over unchanged for 2013. First introduced in Japan in 1995, the CR-V was Honda's first SUV and, according to lore, is an acronym for Comfortable Runabout Vehicle. A four-door, five-passenger crossover, the CR-V is indeed comfortable and is quite useful for running about.
The Honda CR-V comes with many technology features that consumers expect nowadays, such as Bluetooth-enabled hands-free capability and streaming audio. The rearview camera is a multi-angle system that lets the driver choose between a top view and either a 130-degree or a 180-degree view. Automatic climate control, leather, heated front seats and a premium, 328-watt audio system with subwoofer and XM satellite radio are available. Optional on the top-of-the-line model is a GPS-based navigation system with turn-by-turn directions.
The Honda CR-V's 2.4-liter four-cylinder delivers 185 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is mid-pack for the class, with an EPA-estimated 23/31 mpg City/Highway on front-wheel drive models, and 22/30 mpg with all-wheel drive. An Eco-Assist setting helps with efficiency, which adjusts transmissions shift points and manages acceleration to save fuel. When a little more oomph is desired, Eco-Assist can be switched off.
Convenience features include hill-start assist, which applies the brakes when the car is stopped on an incline and releases them when the driver touches the accelerator. The clutch that sends power to the rear wheels on the AWD models has a pre-load function that prevents any initial slippage when moving off from a stop. On freeways and surface streets, the ride and handling is solid without being overly firm and stable with little body lean in corners even at elevated speeds.
Inside, pleasantly styled panels and trim pieces complement each other and show a consistent theme. Hard plastic surfaces are everywhere, however. Controls are functional and for the most part intuitive. The screen on the optional navigation system is large and easy to read, though the system takes a long time to start up. The low roofline reduces headroom. The rear cargo compartment is not perfectly flat with the rear seats folded.
Alternatives to the 2013 Honda CR-V include other small crossovers such as the Chevrolet Equinox, the recently redesigned Ford Escape, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, the sporty Mazda CX-5 and the Toyota RAV4.
The 2013 Honda CR-V comes with a 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine and 5-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional. (All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include $810 destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
CR-V LX ($22,795) comes standard with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, four-way adjustable front seats plus manual height adjustment for driver's seat, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with multi-function controls, power door locks, power windows, power mirrors, 60/40-split rear seats, a rearview camera, 6-inch information display, a four-speaker audio system with CD player, auxiliary audio jack and USB port; Bluetooth phone and streaming Internet radio connectivity and 16-inch steel wheels. CR-V LX AWD adds all-wheel drive ($24,045).
CR-V EX ($24,895) and EX AWD ($26,145) models add a power moonroof, rear privacy glass, a retractable cargo cover, a six-speaker audio system, fog lights and 17-inch alloy wheels.
CR-V EX-L ($27,545) and EX-L AWD ($28,795) models have upgraded features including dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-trimmed seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift lever, 10-way power driver's seat with power lumbar, heated front seats, seven-speaker audio system with subwoofer, satellite radio capability, heated side mirrors and roof rails. CR-V EX-L is the only trim level available with a factory-installed navigation system with turn-by-turn directions in 2WD ($29,045) and AWD ($30,295) variants, as well as a rear-seat DVD entertainment system for both front-wheel ($28,245) and all-wheel drive ($29,495).
Safety equipment includes frontal airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, full coverage side curtain airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, and multi-angle rearview camera. Optional all-wheel drive can improve handling stability in slippery conditions.