As late 1996 rolled around, Honda jumped on the scene with the CR-V. Based on a stretched Civic platform, the CR-V literally launched the compact sport-utility segment. Soon thereafter, Toyota, Mazda and Ford joined the Honda along with the Suzuki and GMs.
I am almost sorry to have to say this but the Honda CR-V, in essence, could lay claim to the cute 'ute craze and gave a new life to the compact SUV segment. Now, the cute thing came from the fact that these mini trucks really were not trucks at all. They looked like shrunken and softened SUVs that were really harmless and incapable of accomplishing anything that "real" SUVs can. Aesthetically-speaking, the CR-V was a cross between a Civic wagon and an Accord wagon. The design was simple and tidy. The only element that stood out was the location and shape of the taillights that were loosely based on the Volvo 850 wagon.
Storage compartments are everywhere. To complement the dash bins and the glove box, Honda included a section under the front passenger's seat to stockpile more stuff. There is even flip-up/fold down tray with cupholders between the two front buckets. The floor section of the cargo area actually turns into a picnic table should the owners decide to stop for a roadside picnic. The second row of seats folds flat to greatly increase cargo volume in the already spacious trunk.