Years ago, a vehicle with 180 horsepower almost always packed a six-cylinder engine. The CR-V, with its silky Honda four-cylinder pouring out 180 horses, is a good example of how far engine technology has evolved. It has often been said Honda is an engine company that happens to build cars.
Jeff Milsaps, a sales representative at Economy Honda Superstore, says sedan customers often latch onto the CR-V once they discover its easy access and polite road manners.
DRIVING IMPRESSIONS: On a mid-afternoon test drive on Highway 153, the CRV shows why it is a perennial best-seller for Honda. Steering is spot on, and aside from a little tire hum the cabin is nicely isolated.
As in all Hondas, dials and gauges are right where you expect - except for an oddly place hood latch release. Seating comfort is superb, and visibility is great - a problem in some competing small SUVs.
STYLING: Last redesigned for the 2007 model year, the current generation CR-V is aging gracefully. I often mistake CRVs in my peripheral vision for BMW X3s - not a bad thing. The all-black interior of our CR-V tester is trendy and attractive. Leather-clad seats are well bolstered, and driving position is good. The up-trim EX-L comes with seven-speaker stereo and good-looking alloy wheels.
BOTTOM LINE: The CR-V appeals to many different buyers: small families, active singles and seniors. Its durability and all-season utility make it a smart option.
TESTED MODEL: Honda CR-V EX-L.
ENGINE: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder.
FUEL ECONOMY: 21 mpg city, 27 mpg highway.
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed automatic.
BASE PRICE: $27,745.
PRICE AS TESTED: $28,525.