Simply the best.
The CR-V first came to Canada as a new 1997 mini sport-Ute to compete with the Suzuki Sidekick. Until that year, the Chevy Tracker and its Suzuki twin were just about the only compact SUVs offered. At the time, the Honda was only available with a 4-speed automatic transmission mated to a 126 hp 2.0L 4-cylinder engine. The small amount of power that the CR-V offered was, at the time, competitive. That is until Subaru launched their 165 hp Forester
the following year, and in 2001, Mazda and Ford introduced their 200 hp Tributes
. In 2002, Honda vastly improved (read: made bigger and more powerful) the CR-V by adding a larger engine and adding more utility in the mix. Since its inception, the CR-V has been a class leader in safety and reliability.
A base CR-V LX can be delivered for $28,200 and a top-of-the-line CR-V EX-L retails for $33,600. The tester was a mid-range EX with the automatic transmission.Exterior styling
For 2005, the second generation CR-V gets a mid-cycle refreshing. New headlights, taillights, alloy wheels and front fascia. Looks, of course, are a matter of personal taste. I, for one, think that the CR-V is a good-looking vehicle. It has soft yet masculine lines that remind bystanders that this is a truck without being offensive.
To this day, there is one feature that is beyond my logical comprehension:
Why the rear door opens on the wrong side. The hinges should be on the driver side so that the door may open up to allow access from the sidewalk. It seems to me that if they can convert these vehicles to right-hand drive, re-arranging the door must be a breeze. The body panels are properly assembled and paint application is even. If you know that you will be driving the CR-V on gravel roads, I would suggest avoiding the colour black, as it has been shown to resist poorly to scratching. Interior styling
The seats, both front and rear, are firm and comfortable. The front ones are supportive and are restful on longer journeys. The interior plastics are above average for an SUV or even a car in this price range. The dash materials are both smooth and attractive. It is carefully assembled and the
layout nears perfection. The door panels and the cargo area receive the same level of attention. The front centre-folding table is a crafty item that is both useful as a tray and as a divider between the front and rear seats. Should the front passengers need to get to the rear "Ó la minivan", it easily folds out of the way. The gear selector and the handbrake are cleverly integrated into the dashboard. The emergency brake lever blends especially well since there is another handle that is symmetrically positioned on the other side of the centre console.
Interior room is plentiful. The trunk is especially large even without moving the rear bench seat. I was easily able to fit four large 100 litres storage boxes and then some. There is a nearly endless multitude of areas to empty pockets into and store miscellaneous items. Front and rear legroom is generous and rear passenger comfort can be amplified by the reclining seatback. Visibility towards the front and the sides is very good. Rear visibility is partially blocked by the spare tire mounted on the door.