Acura World banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

When it finally starts rolling off the Ontario assembly and into dealers across the country in January, the 2012 Honda CR-V will have suffered an unexpectedly lengthy gestation period. It has been delayed by parts shortages due to the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan last March and record deadly floods in Thailand last month

While excruciating for Honda dealers and fans, the wait will have been worth it for consumers. Virtually every aspect of the 4th-generation CR-V has been upgraded. It is good timing as the compact SUV segment that was getting underway when the first CR-V arrived in 1997 is now the 2nd biggest in the country after compact cars.

Truck sales now account for more than 57% of the market, with compact SUVs making up 30% of that, having grown 50% in the past 5 years!

Every major volume manufacturer has a player in this game, many of them new within recent months. The good news is the new CR-V can stand toe-to-toe with any of them thanks to clever packaging, aggressive pricing and intelligent engineering. The goal from the 1st day of development was 3 pronged: the feeling and efficiency of a car, the functionality of a minivan and the confidence of an SUV. The resulting package is slightly shorter and lower, lighter and offers more space, performance and fuel efficiency.

The 2012 CR-V is new from bumper-to-bumper. The engine is the only significant component carried over from the outgoing model but it has been extensively updated.

The driver sits taller, facing an entirely new instrument panel. The cargo area is the largest in the segment with a lower floor and impressive depth below the window line. Bluetooth with streaming audio and text-messaging capability and a rear view camera are standard and while prices have not been locked in this far in advance of full production, Honda says it will hold to 2011 model year pricing despite the addition of $1,500 to $2,500 worth of new equipment or features dependent on trim level.

The exterior styling is similar to, but an advance on, the current CR-V. The biggest changes evident appear at the front and rear. The interior bears no resemblance to the old model other than the steering wheel is in the front left position — and that wheel is now populated with controls for various audio and other functions, even on the least expensive model. The dash is divided into Driving and Information ‘interfaces’ or zones. The driver gets all the necessary information and controls and both he and the passenger have access to everything else, including the now standard information screen, which will display text messages when a smart phone is connected. A rear view camera with a choice or three viewing angles and expanded driver side mirror are also included on all rim levels.

The console has a number of clever touches and more than ample storage inside and alongside. The second row seats also showcase some clever thinking. Tug on a handle in the cargo area or a strap at the base of the seat and the head restraint and seat back fold and the seat bottom flips forward and the whole thing lies down with no further intervention or effort. The rear seat back is split 60/40 and the cargo area is an impressive 589 litres with the 2nd row seats in use.

Internal friction in the 2.4-litre 4 cylinder engine has been reduced by 5.4%, this and other changes have put 5 more horses in the corral. Reduced weight, attention to aerodynamics, especially beneath the relatively tall vehicle, and a myriad of other detail have resulted in mileage ratings of 9.2 litres/100 km in the city and 6.6 on the highway reductions of 12% and 8.9% respectively.

A new Real-Time AWD system, weighing 17% less and benefitting from 59% less drag, has been developed. Whereas the old 1 waited for the front wheels to slip before transferring power to the rear, the new version automatically sends some power to the rear every time the CR-V starts off from rest — up to 100% if necessary. When it reaches cruising speed all power is sent to the front wheels for maximum fuel efficiency and stability. It also works in concert with the standard electronic stability control system to minimize under-steer and over-steer in the corners

The CR-V is equipped with a ‘training’ system called ECON, which changes the instrument panel lighting from white to green when the driver is operating in a fuel efficient manner. There is also an ‘eco’ button to the left of the steering wheel which softens throttle response and transmission operation for u to 10% more mileage lights change from white to green when driving efficiently.

The rear suspension had been upgraded, bending rigidity increased by 7% and torsional rigidity by 9%. Engine and road noise have been considerably improved as was clearly evident in back-to-back drives over a variety of surfaces with the new and existing models. The only complaint after this 1st drive of a few hundred kilometres was a great deal of reflection from the top of the instrument panel in the more steeply sloped windshield of the new CR-V.

The 2012 Honda CR-V will be available in LS, EX, EX-L and Touring trim, the latter replacing the EX-L with leather offered previously. A five-speed automatic transmission and hill start control are standard on all models and the new all-wheel-drive system on EX-L and Touring models. AWD will be available on the LX and EX models.

Standard equipment on all trims includes: heated seats, ABS, ESC, 4-wheel disc brakes, heated power mirrors, Bluetooth, compass, cruise control, tilt and telescope steering wheel, outside temperature indicator, power locks and windows, remote keyless entry, USB jack, 5-inch-Imev display, and steering wheel controls for audio and a rear view camera

The LX trim has $2,500 more content than the current model, the EX $1,900, EX-L $1,750 and the Touring $1,500 more. Prices will cover the $25,00-$35,000 range.

Parts shortages tough on Honda

Beset by one hiccup after another, the new 2012 Honda CR-V appears set to hit dealers in January.

Originally scheduled for release this fall, the 4th-generation of what might have been the original compact SUV was 1st delayed by the tragic earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March that shut down the facilities of many suppliers in Japan.

That same earthquake also caused considerable damage to the company’s R&D headquarters in Tochigi.

Working at a fevered pace, Honda and the suppliers managed to get the supply chain back intact in record time. Production of many Hondas was getting back to normal, including the new 2012 Civic in Alliston, Ontario.

The same facility was ramping up for the new CR-V when tragedy struck again, this time in Thailand last month where massive flooding, the worst in 50 years, literally put out of business facilities producing electronic components used in every single Honda and Accord product built around the world, as well as those of many other companies.

That same flooding also shut down production of some Honda motorcycles and small power equipment. By Nov. 2, Honda production around the world was down by 50%.

It was not a case of cleaning up and resuming production, these plants were completely submerged and are not expected to be back in operation for many months if not years. Honda couldn’t wait that long — dealers were already crying for more Civics and can’t wait for the new CR-V. New suppliers with sufficient capacity and quality were identified and located, Civic output is nearing normal and CR-V production is scheduled to begin in January with deliveries to dealers to follow immediately.

Jerry Chenkin, executive vice-president of Honda Canada, says it has been a "very trying year," a "perfect storm" of sorts with production of its 2 best-selling vehicles severely restricted just as new models were being introduced "by terrible events that were out of our control."

The Civic has been the best-selling car in Canada for more than 12 years and the CR-V continuously in contention for runner-up honours in the 2nd biggest segment of the Canadian market — compact SUVs. Honda has sold more than 5 million CR-Vs, 260,000 of them in Canada.

Last year saw record sales of 25,000 and this year appears set to outpace even that level — without the new model and dependent upon the supplier issue.

The CR-V is sold in 160 countries, but those sold in Canada are produced exclusively in Ontario. The Ontario plant will add 400 additional jobs when full production of the Civic from Plant One and CR-V from Plant 2 get underway.

70% of all Hondas sold in Canada are built in Canada and 94% of all Honda and Acura products sold here are built in North America.

The parts shortages have been especially tough on Honda and the Ontario plant, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year after producing in excess of 5.4 million vehicles, about 80% of them exported from Canada.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #2

With 29 models in the crossover segment, the competition between vehicles is fierce. To make the 2012 Honda CRV stand out from the crowd, Honda has refined its best-selling SUV and dubbed it the "Super CR-V." But does the 4th generation of the crossover live up to its new moniker?

When you're selling a couple hundred thousand units of a crossover, it's a tough job trying to be all things to all people. Honda built an improved version of a best-selling vehicle that will impress a broad range of consumers, but it doesn't mess with its tried-and true formula.

What makes the 2012 model "super" is its ability to wear a lot of hats. The CR-V provides the efficiency of a car and the functionality of a minivan in the SUV packaging that is popular with buyers these days, says Honda. The result is a utilitarian, but sophisticated, compact SUV with style and versatility that will make the CR-V a good option for buyers looking for jack-of-all trades vehicle.

Updated styling
Honda sexed up the 2012 CR-V exterior with a bigger grilles, a more sculpted body that accentuates the wheels, and 3-dimensional vertical taillights. It also trimmed its dimensions a little. Although the width is the same, it's almost an inch shorter and an inch lower than the previous generation, but the interior volume has slightly increased.

Inside the vehicle, the crossover offers all the creature comforts and conveniences the savvy consumer has come to expect in a car these days, but no one will confuse the CR-V for a luxury vehicle.

Wider use of soft-touchpoints on the dash and doors make the vehicle feel refined, but there is no burled wood veneer--real or otherwise--which makes it seem modern and understated. The console has been designed to offer more convenient storage spaces, such as water-bottle holders and a well that can fit a small purse, but its low-profile design doesn't won't intrude on your personal space or create a huge gulf between the driver and passenger.

Standard Pandora integration and audio text messages
Following other competitors' lead, Honda has made a few tech features standard equipment on the CR-V. The CR-V LX base model now includes Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling, and all vehicles now include a rear-view camera and in-dash display to help visibility while in reverse. The color screen is also used to display audio information, fuel economy, and time.

Pandora application integration is also a standard feature, along with read-out-loud text message capability. However, full Pandora integration is only available for iPhone, and the text messaging technology works only on phones that include the Bluetooth MAP profile, which is limited to a handful of BlackBerry and Droid smartphones at this time. The voice-control navigation option is the same unit the manufacturer offers across its lineup, but Honda indicated that a significant overhaul of the system will be announced in the near future.

Upgrade to the EX trim level, and consumers will get a several cosmetic changes, such as color door handles and mirrors, and suedelike seat material. The EX-L trim adds leather seats, heated front passenger seats, and audio features. The navigation system is available at this trim level, as is the optional rear entertainment system. But interestingly, you can opt for either the navigation system or the entertainment system, but for some reason, not both.

The navigation and entertainment limitation could influence buyers looking for a family hauler, but it shouldn't be enough to make families cross the CR-V off the shopping list. Honda seems to be paying attention to just how big and bulky baby gear has become, and the CR-V's design offers features to accommodate all of it nicely.

More convenient cargo space
The 2012 Honda CR-V's cargo floor is an inch lower than the previous generation's, which makes it easier to load groceries, luggage, and strollers. It also adds an extra 1.5 cubic inches of cargo capacity behind the 2nd row where families need it most. However, with the 2nd row seats folded flat, the cargo capacity is reduced from 72.9 cubic feet to 70.9 cubic feet. Buyers probably won't notice that reduction because, thanks to the new fold-flat feature, the cargo floor is 5 inches longer than the previous model, making the space more versatile.

That drop in cargo capacity is due to Honda's new 60/40-split "1 touch fold-down" rear seat feature, which is a little misleading because 1st you'll need to pull a strap that unlocks the foldable headrests, making it a 2-step process. But to Honda, the system is 1-touch because when you pull the lever to fold the seats, the headrests automatically fold down, 2nd row seat cushions flip up, and the seat backs fold almost completely flat. As an interesting side effect of this innovative system, you'll easily be able to vacuum up the crumbs, lint and loose change that collect under the seats.

Although Honda says it aimed to offer the functionality of a minivan, the CR-V doesn't offer a third-row option. A 2-row 5-seater is the only seating configuration. For families looking for a carpool vehicle, Honda is hoping to move shoppers over to Odyssey or Pilot.

More power, better fuel economy

Unlike several other competitors, Honda offers only 1 power-train option for the CR-V: a 2.4-liter engine paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission. But it managed to increase horsepower from 180 to 185 while improving fuel economy. The FWD model will achieve 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The AWD models get 22 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway.

These aren't hybrid numbers--but it's impressive that the CRV is offering sedanlike fuel economy in a SUV. For comparison's sake, the 2012 Toyota Rav4 achieves 22 city/28 mpg on FWD models and 21 city/27 mpg 4WD models, while Ford's Escape offers only 21/23 (6-speed automatic).

To appeal to fuel misers, the CR-V also offers standard Eco Assist and Econ mode. The setting will attempt to help drivers save fuel by reducing driving variability and prioritize energy settings. It also offers driver feedback, and will change guidelines around the instrument cluster from white to green.

But during the short test-drive event held for journalists, that coaching was easier said than done--the lines never budged from white. The CR-V offered a smooth yet nimble ride for a crossover, but it definitely won't feel like you're driving a sedan. At times the steering felt a little loose, and the ride a little bouncy--but again, it's a crossover and not a car. Models equipped with real-time AWD with Intelligent Control System should help the vehicle handle a little better around corners, giving it a more stable feel and ride.

Pricing wasn't revealed, but the manufacturer indicated that it would range from $21,000-$30,000. The vehicle is expected to go on sale December 15.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #3

The 4th generation Honda CR-V has flown under the radar so far, but given that the hot-selling crossover hits dealers on December 15, the Los Angeles Auto Show is as good an opportunity as any for Honda to play show-and-tell. The 2012 CR-V receives all-new sheetmetal, and the result is a more refined look that should give Honda fans some hope for the future. The interior has also been greatly improved, with a more contemporary layout, quick-stow rear seats and gobs of storage, though the top of the instrument panel and door caps are still rendered in hard plastic.

Power comes from Honda's faithful 2.4-liver i-VTEC 4-cylinder, with 185 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque – thats 5 more horsepower and 2 additional lb-ft compared to the outgoing CR-V. The transmission continues to be Honda's tried and true 5-speed automatic, which is a bit of a disappointment given the competition's flurry of next-generation gearboxes offering more ratios. Still, Honda promises very competitive fuel economy numbers of 31 miles per gallon on the highway and 23 mpg in the city for the front-wheel drive model. The all-wheel drive variant should deliver an estimated 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

Honda also pledges to offer more bang for the buck for customers with a range of new standard features. The 2012 CR-V will include standard Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, a multi-angle rearview camera and a full-color information display. The CR-V will also receive SMS text messaging capability, which reads incoming text messages over the audio system.

Honda is also very confident that the CR-V will perform extremely well in safety testing, as the automaker proclaimed during its press conference that this new model will achieve IIHS Top Safety Pick status and net a 5-Star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Hit the jump to read over the official press release, but check out our photos first.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #4

Editor's Rating: ****

The Good: Improved mileage, looks, and interior; top safety rating; more standard equipment.
The Bad:
Still only comes with a small, 4-cylinder engine and 5-speed automatic.
The Bottom Line: Honda loyalists will love the new CR-V; others should check out the new Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4 before buying.

Make: Honda
Model: CR-V
Model Year: 2012
Body Type: Four-door, five-passenger
Price Class: Mid-Range
Product Name: Honda CR-V​

Up Front

You have to wonder how long Honda (HMC) can keep riding on its laurels. Each time the company redesigns 1 of its top-selling models, you have the feeling that designers were on the defensive, making as few changes as they could get away with just to avoid falling behind faster-moving rivals. That’s what Honda did with the new Civic, earning lukewarm reviews and prompting Consumer Reports to drop the model from its Recommended list. Now there are reports that Honda will refresh the Civic again for 2013 to address some of the criticisms. (The company has no comment.)

I have the same feeling about Honda’s redesign of its popular CR-V compact SUV as I did about the new Civic: It isn’t quite bold enough. Honda loyalists will love the new model. But the 2012 CR-V, which is due out Dec. 15, comes up short in some respects, especially if you don’t exactly fit the middle-of-the-road buyer profile Honda is aiming at. My advice is to wait and check out the redesigned 2012 Toyota Toyota (TM) RAV4 (due out Dec. 20) and the upcoming 2013 Ford (F) Escape (due out next spring) before buying a CR-V. The Escape has already overtaken the CR-V as the top-selling SUV in America this year, and the new Escape promises to be much better than the current 1.

To be sure, the new CR-V is an improvement over the old 1, too. It’s better-looking, quieter, and has a nicer interior, slightly more luggage space, more standard equipment, and a better all-wheel-drive system than the previous model’s. Fuel economy is up, too. With front-wheel drive, the 2012 CR-V is rated at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 31 on the highway, and 26 on average (2 mpg more than the outgoing CR-V). With all-wheel drive, it’s rated at 22/30/25 (also up 2 mpg).

However, the new CR-V shares some of the weaknesses of the previous model. Notably, it only comes with one engine, a 2.4-liter, 185-horsepower 4-cylinder engine. That’s an increase of a mere 5 hp, and the engine still provides barely adequate oomph.

The RAV4 is available with a V6 that makes it as quick as some sport coupes. The 2013 Escape will be offered with three engine choices, a basic 2.5-liter 4-banger and 2 turbocharged 4-cylinder versions of the company’s marvelous EcoBoost engine, 1 a 1.6-liter and the other a 2.0-liter. With the latter EcoBoost engine, the new Escape also promises to be much quicker than the Honda.

With the smaller EcoBoost engine, Ford says, the new Escape will beat the fuel economy of competitors, including the CR-V. Indeed, that version of the Escape is expected to be so efficient that it’s replacing the Escape Hybrid for 2013. A version of General Motors’ (GM) Chevy Equinox already matches the CR-V, getting 32 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg on average.

1 reason the CR-V isn’t the clear fuel economy leader, I suspect, is that Honda skimped on technology. The company decided to stick with a 5-speed automatic as the only choice of transmission, while Chevy, Ford, Hyundai and Kia have all moved to more efficient 6-speed automatics (the Escape, Hyundai Tucson, and Kia Sorento also are available with a stick shift). Honda also didn’t go with more efficient direct fuel injection in the new CR-V’s engine, as Ford has done in its EcoBoost engines.

Pricing hasn’t been announced yet but Honda says the new CR-V will continue to sell in the same $21,000-to-$30,000 range as the previous model, which means it will probably continue to be slightly more expensive than its competitors. (Keeping the price under 30 grand is one reason you can get a new CR-V with a rear-seat entertainment system or a navigation system—but not with both.)

Safety remains a strong selling point: Honda expects the new CR-V to earn top five-star government safety ratings and to be a Top Safety Pick of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Standard gear includes stability control, braking assist, and front-side and head-protecting side curtain air bags.

The CR-V has continued to sell well, despite weather-related disruptions in Asia. U.S. sales of the CR-V were up 11.1%, to 180,361, in the 1st 10 months of this year compared with the same period last year. However, the Ford Escape’s sales soared 31.4%, to 206,896, during the 1st 10 months of this year. Other rivals also are gaining ground on the CR-V: Chevy Equinox sales were up 43.2%, to 160,143, and Kia Sorento sales jumped 22.7%, to 109,903, through October.

Toyota has been the big loser: RAV4 sales fell 24.3%, to 106,800, during the 1st 10 months of this year. But the new CR-V could suffer, too, if consumers don’t cotton to the redesign and the RAV4 makes a comeback.

Behind the Wheel

The CR-V has never been much fun to drive. When you punch the gas to, say, accelerate onto a freeway, the engine really strains and fuel economy plunges. Of course, the same is true of rival models powered by the base engine, but you also sometimes have the choice of a more powerful engine if you want one.

In the test drives I did at a Honda press event, I wasn’t able to time the 2012 model, but I’d guess it accelerates from 0 to 60 about as slowly as the outgoing CR-V—in about 10 seconds. With 6-cylinder power, the current RAV4 jumps from 0 to 60 in about 6.5 seconds. The 2013 Ford Escape may offer similar quickness when powered by the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine.

The CR-V’s new motion-adaptive power steering system doesn’t provide much feedback to the driver, but it’s great for maneuvering in tight spaces. Honda also has upgraded the CR-V’s all-wheel drive to an electronically controlled system designed to respond instantly to even slight wheel slippage. The suspension has been softened and made more car-like, too.

A feature I really like is Eco Assist. You push a button on the dash and the vehicle goes into a fuel-saving mode that doesn’t seem to affect acceleration much. Numerous readouts help the driver conserve gas. Among other things, a ring around the right side of the speedometer glows green when you’re driving efficiently. I found I could easily achieve the CR-V’s rated mileage.

The CR-V’s cabin feels more upscale than before. The center stack is nicer-looking, and attractive leather upholstery continues to be offered on the high-end trim levels. However, there’s still too much hard plastic on the dash and doors, and there are too many seams in the dash, as if it were cobbled together from pieces. The dash in the new Ford Focus, for 1, is less busy-looking and more attractive.

Bluetooth connectivity is standard on the new CR-V, as are both a Pandora Internet radio interface and SMS text-messaging. A backup camera and hands-free phone capability also now come standard.

Luggage space behind the CR-V’s rear seats is up 1.5 cu. ft., to a voluminous 37.2 cu. ft., expanding to 70.9 cu. ft. with the rear seats folded down. One of the CR-V’s handiest new features allows the rear seats to fold down nearly (but not quite) flat in a 60/40 pattern at the flick of a lever. There had been some speculation in the automotive press that Honda would offer a 3rd-row seat in the CR-V, to match the one offered in the RAV4, but that didn’t happen.

Buy It or Bag It?

The CR-V remains an excellent vehicle. Honda loyalists who simply go out and buy 1 will be happy with their decision. However, the Kia Sorento is cheaper, and the new Escape and RAV4 offer options the Honda doesn’t. In short, like the Civic, the CR-V is no longer the clear top choice in its segment.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #5

Compact crossovers are a little like toothbrushes. They perform a necessary function, but they’re rarely exciting. Everybody needs a toothbrush, though, and toothbrush manufacturers want to outsell their competitors, so we have wear-indicating bristles, flexible split heads, integrated tongue-and-cheek scrapers, and the like.

Accordingly, much of Honda’s technical presentation on the new CR-V focused on the next-gen mini-ute’s new features, including standard stuff like two info screens, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and a function that reads incoming text messages from paired phones—assuming said phone is from a short list of BlackBerries or a Droid X, as those are the only devices with which the CR-V can currently communicate. Meanwhile, lesser points like the powertrain and the basic construction of the chassis were only mentioned in passing. Makes sense: Once Colgate nails down the perfect handle cross-section, head shape, and bristle feel, it’s probably going to keep making that same toothbrush. Honda was pretty happy with the outgoing CR-V—and its sales numbers indicated that buyers were, too—and the new CR-V is a lot like the old one.

Hello Again. You Should Have Brought a Friend. Maybe a Turbo

The spec-sheet familiarity begins with the only available engine. It’s the same dual-overhead-cam 2.4-liter inline-4, but now boasts a 5.4% reduction in internal friction and a more efficient alternator. These slight changes increase output to 185 hp and 163 lb-ft, bumps of 5 and 2. It’s worth noting that the power peak occurs at 7000 rpm, while the automatic transmission shifts about 300 or so rpm before that. Unless you’re going to lock your CR-V in 1st around town, don’t expect to feel those extra fillies. You won’t hear them quite as much as before, either, although Honda still has the most pleasing soundtrack in the tiny-truck business. It’s louder than we would expect most crossover buyers to want, but obviously isn’t deterring many—the CR-V is the perennial bestseller in its segment.

Behind that only slightly updated engine is an only slightly updated transmission. Against a market that is swelling with six-speed automatics—not to mention the 9-speed ZF unit on its way for front-drive applications—Honda is sticking with the CR-V’s fiver. Lower-friction internals and lower-viscosity transmission fluid boost efficiency, while a wider ratio spread nudges the CR-V’s fuel-economy ratings higher. Front drivers see their mileage increase from 21/28 city/highway to 23/31, while all-wheel-drive models go from 21/27 to 22/30.

The Snow Falls and Molasses Wins

The downside is that the CR-V, already among the slowest in its class, now needs noticeably more time to get up to cruising speed. A previous-gen car we tested needed 8.7 seconds to get to 60 mph; the new model should log a time right around nine seconds. In 1st gear, redline resides north of 40 mph; in 2nd, it’s hiding in the 80-mph range. We’ve recently logged about half a dozen complaints about the ratio spread in Chrysler’s rear-drive 5-speed—which, we would like Honda to note, is imminently being replaced with an eight-cogger—because of its ludicrous gearing.

While very few people floor it off the line during their morning commute—more people should try it; they’ll be amazed how much more time they have in a day if they don’t drive like they’re dead or waiting to be—there are real-world drawbacks to dog-slow crossovers. Run up on a surprisingly slow truck on the freeway, and you’d better have a long opening behind you in the left lane. When you pop out to pass and give the CR-V the boot, it’s going to need a lot of time to get up to speed. Should you floor it at much more than 60 mph, the trans only drops into third, stranding you around 3500 rpm. At that speed, it feels like you only need 2 digits to quantify the 2.4-liter’s torque output. Drivers behind you are likely to display two digits of their own. For even greater sluggishness, Honda fits all 2012 CR-Vs with an “Econ” button that dulls throttle response and widens the acceptable window of variation for the cruise and climate control.

In response to criticism for sticking with the 5-speed, Honda’s answer was along the lines of Our five is damn good. The customers wanted efficiency gains, we gave them efficiency gains. We appreciate the philosophy of extracting greater efficiencies from existing hardware before creating all-new systems, but we’d like to know how many of those customers also asked for a slower vehicle.

The critical chassis measurements—wheelbase, front and rear track—are identical to the previous CR-V’s, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that the new car’s underpinnings also land in the “same old, same old” column. Nay, says Honda: 65% of the basic structure is new. Part of that 65% is additional bracing around the back of the body. It further solidifies what already felt like one of the firmest shells in its class and contributes to what Honda claims is a 40% increase in the balance between responsiveness and stability. Claiming exact-percentage increases in unquantifiables doesn’t make much sense to us. Then again, neither does the fact that such a sporty-feeling chassis can be the favorite in a segment whose buyers certainly don’t prioritize athletic feel. But the CR-V is agile and firm, and the ride only gets unsettled on pavement that seems engineered to unsettle a vehicle. The steering is a bit slower than the outgoing CR-V’s, and although some added heft makes it feel more certain on center, there’s otherwise less communication than before. We doubt many buyers will care. Neither will they notice that the electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system is quicker in its operation, more efficient, and lighter than the old hydraulic setup.

Feels Bigger Inside

Overall length is down by one inch, while height drops by 1.4 inch for front-wheel-drive models and by one inch on all-wheel-drive versions. That robs front-row occupants of about an inch of headroom, while legroom stays the same up front and is reduced by 0.2 inch in the rear. But the new CR-V is a good deal wider up around the front windows than its predecessor, which lends it a much more spacious feel. The back seat of the outgoing vehicle could be adjusted fore and aft and offered 4 different seat-back angles, while the new 1 has no fore-aft adjustment and just 2 seatback angles. Even so, we found it much easier to get comfortable in the back of the new car than its predecessor. More sound-deadening material throughout the cabin makes this generation much quieter than the last CR-V.

Just as important to the CR-V’s target customer is the folding rear seat. Seats up, you’ll find 37.2 cubic feet of cargo space, up from 35.7. Maximum volume drops exactly 2 cubes, though, to 70.9. From the rear doors, the seats fold in 2 steps—flip the bottom cushion forward and then drop the back cushion on top of it—but levers on either side of the cargo area drop each seat in one smooth action.

Other features of the new CR-V are less impressive. Neither of the infotainment system’s 2 screens presents its assigned information clearly, and the controls for both are obtuse. If this Gen-Y author can’t immediately figure out how to navigate a USB-connected iPod, you’ve got trouble. And Honda apparently believes that high-tech features should have ColecoVision graphics.

For better or worse, Honda is proud that those features are standard on all CR-Vs, starting with the basic LX trim. Moving to the EX adds a sunroof, nicer seat cloth, an intermittent setting for the windshield wipers—for which we imagine every LX buyer would gladly trade one of their two information screens—a security system, and body-color door handles and mirror housings. The CR-V EX-L piles onto that haul leather upholstery, a 10-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, automatic climate control, an upgraded audio system with XM satellite radio, and a few interior trim pieces. Above EX-L, buyers have to make a tough decision: Do you want to get to your destination or travel in peace? Nav and a rear-seat entertainment system are available, but not together. The Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000, on the other hand, has both a timer to remind you to brush for 2 whole minutes and an in-handle display to provide feedback on the user’s brushing habits.

Honda hasn’t announced pricing yet, but figure on the ladder remaining similar to what it was in 2011, with the LX around $23,000, the EX near $25,000, and the EX-L commanding about $28,000, all with front-wheel drive. Add in navigation or the rear-seat entertainment system and you’ll probably surpass $30,000.

The 2012 CR-V pleases on paper and remains a refreshingly competent entry in a dull segment. We’re amazed and heartened that a vehicle that feels so sporty relative to its competitors can consistently outsell all of them. But the new CR-V also delivers a few subtle insults—the poor integration of some of the technologies and Honda’s refusal to fit a 6-speed transmission or more-powerful engine among them. We still find it fundamentally satisfying, but a toothbrush should never offend.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #6

We Lavrincs are unabashed Honda CR-V fans. So much so that both my wife and father have one parked in their respective garages. When it comes to practicality, ideal ride height, fuel economy and ingress and egress, the CR-V is hard to beat. All of which helps to explain why it's placed either 1st or 2nd in the compact CUV sales race since it was 1st introduced to the U.S. back in 1996.

The CR-V allows my wife to shlep a dog, a few cases of wine and untold amounts of catering supplies with room to spare. For my dad, the CR-V means that he can get in and out with ease and drive with the "command view" seating that Boomers are always after. And when asked what they'd like to see changed or improved, their list was remarkably small. Dad wanted softer seats and less road noise, while the wife wanted more cubbies and a bit more connectivity. Without directly conferring with my immediate family, Honda has managed to addressed all of these issues and more with the 2012 model, and it's thrown in better fuel economy and a host of new features to boot.

Despite all of these improvements, with every automaker pouring hundreds of millions into crossover development and scads of new entrants appearing each year, Honda simply couldn't afford to take it easy on this model – especially in light of its recent struggles. So with some trepidation, I flew to San Diego, California recently to see if the 2012 Honda CR-V is still good enough to retain its status as my go-to recommendation for the anti-wagon crowd.

The extent to which Honda has reworked the CR-V for the 2012 model year isn't immediately apparent until you see both models side-by-side. The 3-bar grille, originally seen in rather unfortunately form on the Accord Crosstour, has transitioned nicely to the CR-V. We're more than a little relieved, as this theme is set to filter through the rest of the Honda lineup in the coming years. Its headlamps, tautly pulled from the grill to the fenders have shades of Acura in their styling, while the side window upkick and boomerang D-pillar offer a dynamic, if subtle, evolution of the outgoing model's design. The rear is an attractive amalgamation of current Honda design cues (there's a bit of FCX in that sloping hatch glass) and the arching pillar-mounted taillights – a trademark of every CR-V – have been pulled up and over the rear fenders for a decidedly Volvo-esque appearance. The only aesthetic issues we have are the unusually long overhangs and the chrome trim surrounding the side windows – brushed aluminum to match the new roof rails would seem to be a better fit.

Honda's interior refreshening takes things a step further, with a new instrument panel featuring a massive speedometer front-and-center and a multi-information display nestled inside to provide trip details, exterior temperature and a few other must-knows. Flanking the oversized speedo are 2 semi-circular bits of trim that glow green the lighter you tread on the throttle, while traditional gauges for revs, engine temp and fuel level line the sides.

A new steering wheel comes festooned with a host of buttons to change audio source, adjust volume, cruise control and voice/phone commands, along with a small button in the upper left to cycle through the various functions of the new high-mounted display on the dash. Honda calls it an "Intelligent Multi-Information Display" and it's standard on all CR-V models, acting as a complement to the navigation screen to display clock and temperature, duplicate driving instructions, music source/album/artist info, fuel economy and range or a place to show off your kiddies by uploading a custom wallpaper. It's cute and it works, but we wish the engineering effort was directed at the ancient navigation system Honda continues to employ.

The navi's functionality is present, but compared to nearly everything else on the market, both its user interface and feature count lag far behind the curve. Honda claims the CR-V's touchscreen setup has been upgraded, but the navigation graphics are still MapQuest circa 2005, the audio screens look like something out of Windows 3.1 and general functionality isn't nearly as intuitive as other modern systems on the market. The major additions for 2012 are real-time traffic information provided by SiriusXM, Pandora radio functionality through a tethered iPhone (no Android support... for a while) and a new SMS read/respond system that only works with a few Blackberry smartphones. However, Bluetooth connectivity and iPod support are standard on all models, with a USB and auxiliary ports mounted in the massive center storage console (perfect for an oversized purse) and a bevy of new cubbies line the doors, along with a pair of water bottle-sized slots in the center console.

Our favorite feature of the revised navi system is its trio of back-up camera views, also standard on all models. When you shift the transmission stalk into Reverse, a standard 180-degree camera angle is displayed, with an option for a narrower 130-degree display or a top view that makes reversing down to the millimeter massively easy.

The CR-V's seats are decidedly cushier than those in the previous model, which felt – at best – like leather-covered cardboard, while rear seat occupants enjoy 38.3 inches of legroom and 56.4 inches of shoulder room. Cargo capacity is up to 37.2 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks in place (up from 35.7 cubes) and when you pull the new 1-touch levers on either side of the cargo compartment, the 60/40 split rear seats perform mechanical origami, folding down to provide 70.9 cubic feet of storage (2 cubes less than the 2011 model) and making better use of the lowest cargo floor in its class.

With the fitment of all this additional kit, you'd expect weight to grow commensurately. But you'd be wrong. Honda engineers claim that overall tonnage is down by around 40 pounds (depending on spec), and with the continued refinement of Honda's tried-and-true 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder, fuel economy has risen to 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway on the front-wheel-drive model and 22 city/30 highway for all-wheel-drive versions. Horsepower is up by five ponies for a total of 185 hp and 163 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which peaks at 4,300 rpm and tapers off quickly as you get past the 5K mark.

When the last generation CR-V was introduced, the lack of a V6 option seemed to be a sticking point. However, having lived with 2 generations of the 2.4, power and delivery is more than adequate, and Honda seems to be saying that the additional expense of a low-displacement, turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder just doesn't make sense to the CR-V's bottom line. And neither does upgrading the standard five-speed automatic. Engineers have managed to reduce internal friction by around 15%, and partnered with a few efficiency tweaks and a new "Econ" mode – reducing electrical consumption and limiting power output at the press of the dash-mounted button – overall fuel economy and energy efficiency is up across the board.

The only downside to these efforts is the new electronic power assisted steering (EPAS), which is completely devoid of feedback compared to its hydraulic forebearers and lacks any meaningful amount of weighting. This isn't coming from an enthusiast's perspective – there's simply no on-center feel and even less information transmitted through the wheel. And after speaking with a few Honda reps about this shortcoming, we learned that there's 0 chance of recalibration before the CR-V's December 15 on-sale date. Pity, as it's the only real low point with the CR-V's driving experience, and it's one that could likely be improved by massaging a few ones and zeros in the programming.

For those interested in a more engaging experience, look at competitors like the Mazda CX-5 or Kia Sportage.​

The CR-V's overall driving demeanor is much like the rest of this car – a predictable evolution of the current model. Body roll and braking performance are easily on par with the rest of the CR-V's competition, with ride and handling erring on the side of comfort over sport. It's largely unremarkable, so for those interested in a more engaging experience, it'll probably be best to look at a competitor like the Mazda CX-5 or Kia Sportage for high-riding kicks.

While the engine and transmission are largely carryovers for 2012, the revamped all-wheel-drive system stands to be one of the most advanced in its class. Partnered with a front MacPherson strut suspension and a rear multi-link setup, the "Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System" takes the old mechanical setup of its predecessors and sends it to Acura's SH-AWD finishing school. The system, which blends front-wheel-drive efficiency with full-time all-wheel-drive functionality, uses the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system to eliminate the outgoing setup's need for the front wheels to slip before sending grunt to the rear. No longer mechanically actuated, the new system uses a multi-plate clutch in the rear differential and an electric motor driving a single hydraulic pump to deliver power to the rear wheels instantaneously. During a handful of hard launches both on level surfaces and on hills, power delivery to the rear wheels was near seamless, with none of the drivetrain shudder experienced in older models. There's even a new Hill Start Assist feature to make accelerating from a stop on inclines easier.

4 trim levels will be available when the 2012 CR-V goes on sale next month (pricing has yet to be announced): LX, EX, EX-L and EX-L with RES. LX models come standard with the aforementioned 5-inch display along with fold-down rears seats and Econ button. The EX adds privacy glass, 17-inch alloys with all-season rubber, a power moonroof, body-color mirrors and door handles and other assorted baubles, while the EX-L gets heated leather seats (the driver's is adjustable 10 ways), XM radio, roof rails, automatic dual-zone climate control and available navigation. Finally, the EX-L RES has all that plus a screen for rear seat passengers and wireless headphones to keep the kiddies at bay on long drives.

Steering issues and aging infotainment system aside, the 2012 Honda CR-V remains one of the top picks in the compact CUV class. More amenities, more standard features and boosted fuel economy are sure to keep it near the head of the pack, and there's a general sense from both the vehicle itself and Honda's engineers that it didn't take much to keep this refreshed CR-V class-competitive. And that's the way it's been with Honda the past few years. Evolve, don't shake things up and in the process keep buyers coming back for more. While that strategy hasn't always worked for the brand lately lately, it's a safe play that looks like it will pay off here – just ask anyone in the Lavrinc clan.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #7

In these days of tighter family budgets, and in many cases a desire to be more understated, compact crossover vehicles like the Honda CR-V have a lot of appeal. Parents know that they provide more versatility—and freedom, by some gauges—than sedans, and they’re a little smaller and more manageable than the hulks that ‘minivans’ have become.

Thankfully, Honda hasn’t much changed the exterior dimensions of the 2012 Honda CR-V. It still fits neatly into most compact-car parking spots and has a low cargo floor that doesn’t require a lot of reach or lift.

The exterior of the new CR-V has evolved, somewhat. Front and rear styling has been spruced up a bit, with the front end noticeably more Accord-like. Honda has essentially taken the same package—same wheelbase, same basic silhouette and proportions—but made a few crucial changes so as to completely reconfigure the interior. The high point of the roof has been dropped just a bit, and the floor and cargo floor have been lowered nearly an inch. Designers also modified the positions of the front seats to give the CR-V a somewhat more sedan-like driving position, and they added a wider range to seat-height and steering-wheel adjustments. Also by changing the angle of the rear pillar somewhat, they freed up just a little more rearward visibility.

We really like the simplified layout of the instrument panel. It avoids both the chunky, overwrought-and-cluttered look of the larger Pilot SUV’s interior, as well as the odd asymmetries of the Civic and the confusing rotary knob of the high-end Accord models. The look is simply clean, with a shelflike, ‘lean-layered’ concept and climate controls just below audio controls, with a small, five-inch ‘i-MID’ trip-computer and audio screen just above it all. There’s a big, round speedometer, with peripheral controls just below that, and the center console runs between the front seats and has been redesigned to include cupholders, a tray, 2 storage compartments, and a USB port.

The 2012 CR-V still has seating for 5, and its interior feels almost minivan-like in how passenger friendly it is. Front seats are buckets that are on the soft side, but supportive enough for a long day. And the rear split bench seat has more generous dimensions and better padding than most in this class; you still won’t fit 3 adults happily across, but there’s plenty of thigh support, as well as legroom and headroom, to keep everyone happy.

Back seat folds flat with one pull!

One of the keys to why the CR-V’s back seat is so comfortable is that when you fold the seatback forward, you’re not merely mashing a thinly padded cushion down. Pull forward on a strap, and with one, very fluid motion the lower cushion tumbles forward into the footwell, the headrest angles forward, and the rear seatback flips forward, all tucking nearly behind the front seat, to a completely flat position. The seat-folding arrangement—much as Honda’s setup in the Fit subcompact and Odyssey minivan—really is a CR-V strength.

Cargo capacity with the rear seatbacks up is an impressive 37.2 cubic feet. A side cargo net is included, and EX levels and above get a removable and retractable cargo cover. Fold the back seats down, and you get a continuous cargo floor that’s 61.4 cubic feet long—although it does have a slight step up at the base of the seatbacks. Honda is proud that it’s dropped the cargo floor—and the liftover height itself—to 23.6 inches.

Looking elsewhere at the CR-V’s spec sheet, it looks technically a bit behind the curve. At a time when most crossovers have (or will soon be) migrating to direct-injection engines and 6-speed automatics, the CR-V makes do with what’s essentially a carryover engine and 5-speed automatic transmission. That’s not all bad; the 2.4-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder remains one of the smoothest fours in this class, with nice, even power delivery all the way up to redline.

The available Real Time AWD system is also a new system that no longer requires front wheel slip before sending more power to the rear wheels. It uses a hydraulic pump to engage the clutch based on driver inputs—always applying some ‘standby torque’ to launch the CR-V from a standing start with all four wheels. When cruising, it still completely disengages the rear wheels.

Taller gearing: some good, some bad

Honda carries the same 5-speed automatic transmission over from the last-generation CR-V, but it’s made the final gear ratio taller (1.4% taller in all-wheel drive models, or six percent taller with front-wheel drive). There’s still no full manual control, and the net effect we found on our drive is that, like with many newer models moving to taller gearing, you’re likely to get stellar gas mileage if you drive gently; but in spirited driving with fast-moving traffic, or on hilly or curvy roads, you’ll experience more transmission downshifts and indecision—and, potentially, lower fuel economy.

Just as in the Insight and Civic, the CR-V now has a big green ‘econ’ button. Press it and you get different operating parameters for the throttle, transmission, and air conditioning. As we observed, pressing it makes the CR-V feel somewhat like a German car, with a much more linear throttle and earlier upshifts. We pressed the button once at a time when the climate control had the fan cranked quite high, and it commanded an instantaneous drop in fan speed. There’s also a simplified coaching system, in which you simply look for a lighted ring surrounding the speedometer to stay green.

Coated pistons and reduced oil-ring tension (to cut engine friction), a smart alternator control system to cut electricity consumption, a low-viscosity transmission fluid, and an automatic transmission warmer all contribute to these efficiency gains.

EPA fuel economy ratings land at 23 mpg city, 31 highway with front-wheel drive, or 22/30 with four-wheel drive—making it the highest-mileage all-wheel- or 4-wheel-drive vehicle in this class. Over a half-day of fast driving on mostly curvy roads, with some expressway portions, we saw about 23 mpg. That’s quite good, but stay tuned to see if we can do even better in daily driving.

As for the rest of the 2012 CR-V driving experience, it’s absolutely nothing to get excited about. The gist of it is that the CR-V isn’t a car that asks you to drive it fast, but in normal driving you should be happy. Honda has retuned the suspension for a better ride and reduced harshness, compared to the previous version, added double door seals, and bolstered the body structure, and it’s clear that a lot less road noise makes its way into the cabin.

Steering with less confidence

The most significant letdown in the 2012 Honda CR-V is the way it steers. Honda has fitted an electric power steering system to the CR-V, and it fails to give the new model the confident handling feel that we expect in a Honda—even if the CR-V’s body control is good. The system feels overly light on center, it's hard to anticipate in tight corners, and it unwinds in what feels like an uneven fashion. We were fortunate to have a 2011 CR-V model nearby and verified the astonishing difference back-to-back; the CR-V used to be one of the better-steering vehicles in its class, but we can’t say this for the 2012.

Anyone who’s previously shopped for a Honda in recent years will find the trims offered in the CR-V quite familiar; there are LX, EX, and EX-L trims, with top version of the EX-L available with a Navigation package and rear entertainment system.

EX models get a power moonroof, rear privacy glass, 17-inch alloy wheels, a passenger-seat armrest, seatback pockets, intermittent wipers, upgraded upholstery, a tonneau cargo cover, and a security system. EX-L models are the way to go for those who want more of a luxury feel, as they get leather upholstery, a 10-way driver’s seat, heated front seats, a higher-power audio system with subwoofer, automatic climate control, heated mirrors, and upgraded interior trim. A rear entertainment system with 7-inch display, DVD player, wireless headphones, and remote is optional. Satellite radio is only offered on the EX-L

Up to snuff on connectivity, safety

Otherwise, we like a number of thoughtful features and ideas inside the CR-V. As in the new Civic, the i-MID is controlled via a simple directional toggle on the steering wheel. The system is compatible with SMS texting (reading and pre-set replying) and a Pandora app, and officials said that other apps may be on the way. The screen will also display cover art, turn-by-turn directions, or a trip computer/fuel economy screen, and you can set the home screen to display personal pictures as wallpaper. The standard wide-angle side mirrors are also the 1st in any Honda vehicle, and the Multi-Angle Rearview Camera offers 3 different views (wide, normal, and top) to help you see obstacles (or children).

Honda is also offering more dealer-installed accessories for the CR-V this time—items like back-up sensors, roof rails, running boards, a cargo organizer or tray, and remote engine start.

The 2012 CR-V is scheduled to go on sale in mid-December, with prices likely only slightly higher than the 2011 model.

In all, the CR-V fails to stand out in the market in the way that the last-generation model did when it was new. But it remains 1 of Honda's stronger efforts in packaging and practicality, and for those who want some seating comfort and some packaging magic without much driving excitement, all in an affordable vehicle, the 2012 Honda CR-V remains one of the best compromises.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #8

Before Honda Motor Co. pulled the wraps off the 2012 CR-V at the LA Auto Show Wednesday — no doubt touting all of its new features in front of a mob of reporters and photographers — it provided a few journalists the opportunity to drive it.

We were under strict orders to not tell anyone what we thought about the vehicle until after its unveiling.

Now that the world debut hoopla dust has settled, the embargo has lifted.

The problem is, it's hard to remember the new CR-V. When the previous generation arrived, it was radically different, sacrificing its truckiness for a better ride and new, curvy look. This CR-V doesn't leave much of a lasting impression. When you look at it, you hear David Byrne singing "Once in a Lifetime."

It is new, it is improved, and it's even nice when you get to know it a little. Honda has trimmed some pounds, added some power and finely tuned every aspect of the CR-V. The cabin is comfortable, the 2nd row can fold pretty flat to give you massive cargo space and the ride is decent. It's solid, basic transportation aimed at solid, upstanding people who couldn't draw the Honda logo with a gun held to their heads .

The thing is, does it really matter? These customers don't care if their CR-V has V-6 variant or a turbocharged anything. They're busy with other things.

Take the 5-speed transmission found in the new CR-V. It's impeccable. I have never driven a 5-speed transmission tuned this well. (Which is why Honda still hasn't changed over to the 6-speed — the industry standard.) That leaves the CR-V 1 gear short of excitement or even modern.

Is a six-speed necessary in the CR-V? No. The genius of Honda has always been addressing all of those little things behind the scenes that enhance performance. They take what they have and continually improve it.
Improved power, fuel economy

The CR-V comes with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that adds power and fuel economy over the outgoing model.

The new front-wheel drive model will get 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The all-wheel drive model also improves its fuel efficiency to 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

Maybe there really isn't a need for another gear in the box.

And there wasn't a need for new engine, as engineers found a way to add horsepower and torque to the I-4 under the hood. (It's the only engine available for the CR-V.) The engine belts out 185 horsepower, which gives the CR-V solid road performance.

Also new to the CR-V is the electric power steering, which was the one thing I definitely remember from the test drive. It's awful.

The steering is loose and numb. It disconnects the driver from the road and makes it difficult to judge where the wheels are. This typically means that going into a turn, you will tend to oversteer and coming out of a turn, you understeer. No, I did not like it.

It's a shame because other than the steering, the ride is excellent. It's quiet on the highway, it's smooth through turns, even when driving aggressively, and feels more like a car than an SUV. But only the passengers can truly enjoy the ride. The driver is just trying to figure out where the CR-V is on the road.

The all-wheel drive system has also been improved to provide a more planted feel. (It is now an electronically controlled system instead of the mechanically activated system in the previous generation.) There is also a Hill Assist feature that prevents the CR-V from rolling backward, which comes in handy at traffic lights on hills.

Dimensions change

The CR-V's look has been smoothed out and the roof line lowered by more than an inch. In fact, a lot of the dimensions have been changed. It's one inch shorter, the floor has been lowered while maintaining the same clearance, and its body has been built stiffer. Again, the changes are nice, but hardly memorable. Can you tell if any vehicle is 178.3 inches long or 179.3 inches long?

The biggest improvements to the CR-V come with its interior packaging. The dash has a hard plastic feel, but it's on par with most vehicles in that segment. The center stack is well laid out, and the instrument panel is nicely done.

Honda has even included an eco-assist system that uses lights around the speedometer to "reward" the driver. There's also an eco-assist button that will change some of the car's setting and force the driver to sip fuel a little better.

There are other features that many owners will appreciate, such as the multi-angle rearview camera that can provide a top view, 130-degree view or 180-degree view through the big screen on the center stack.

In fact, that screen, known as the multi-information display, is a big step up compared to the outgoing version. It can provide a Bluetooth connection to a phone, as well as provide all of the other expected features, such as playing an iPod, USB connection and optional navigation system. There are buttons on the steering wheel to help use some features, and they're easy to navigate.

Space is key

The other key to the CR-V is space. It provides plenty in the front and the 2nd row.

The 60/40 split rear seats can be flattened with the pull of a lever while standing in the back or at either side door. Honda has put a lot of engineering behind this one; the seats don't simply fold down. Instead, the seat cushions pop up, the headrests pop down, then the cushion moves forward and goes into the foot well. Then the seat springs forward and folds down. The idea of pulling out the seat cushion first means the floor will be flatter in the back.

It works perfectly as long as nothing is in the back seat or in the foot well. If you use your vehicle as a second closet, or that spot behind the passenger's seat as a trash bin, it will be tough to fold down the seats. If not, you're fine.

Perhaps engineers could have spent less time on those seats and more time installing a power liftgate, which the CR-V does not offer on any model. It should.

Again, folding seats and power liftgates are not sexy. Useful, sure. It's the function of the CR-V that will drive customers to show rooms and this compact crossover provides plenty of that. It's a practical vehicle for a practical time. Yawn.

Excitement, however, in the CR-V is the same as it ever was.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
InsideLine Full Test

Believe it or not, the Honda CR-V has outsold every other SUV in America since 2007. And in all this time, Honda has never bothered with an optional V6, a hybrid drivetrain or a third-row seat. Instead, it's one engine, one transmission, have a nice day.

So what's the secret? Ask Honda CR-V owners and they'll tell you it's the compact crossover's roomy interior, the quality of its materials, solid construction and the 1,000 little conveniences that endear the CR-V to them with each passing day.

With that in mind, it's no surprise that the redesigned 2012 Honda CR-V is not a radical overhaul. In this case, the ride is quieter, fuel economy is up and the exterior design is leaning toward stylish. The cabin materials are still top quality and, in a nod to economic realities, Honda won't raise prices when the 2012 CR-V arrives at dealers in December.

Same Size, Slightly Less Weight
Since the CR-V's size is one of its biggest draws, Honda didn't mess with it. The 2012 model's wheelbase and track are the same as before, and it's still 71.6 inches wide. The new CR-V is an inch shorter from nose to tail (178.3 inches) and has also lost an inch of height (65.1). This reduces headroom by an inch, too, but you still have 40 inches in front (38 with a sunroof) and legroom is unchanged. The cargo bay is slightly larger this year (37.2 cubic feet versus 35.7), but maximum capacity drops from 72.9 cubic feet to 70.9, which puts it slightly behind the Toyota RAV4.

Overall, the 2012 Honda CR-V is closest in size to the RAV4 and the upcoming 2013 Mazda CX-5, while the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage are a little smaller, and the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain and Kia Sorento are a little bigger.

Modest revisions to the unit-body enhance rigidity while reducing weight. Cumulative weight loss ranges from 25 pounds on the 2012 Honda CR-V EX-L (Honda-speak for an EX model with leather) to 80 pounds on the base LX.

Smidge More Horsepower, Better MPG
Less curb weight invariably contributes to better fuel-efficiency, and that's something Honda needed to improve, as last year's CR-V ranked only midpack for mpg among compact sport-utilities.

Honda engineers also went to work on the CR-V's 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. A new coating on the aluminum pistons reduces friction, as do new piston rings and revised cylinder liners. The automaker has also transitioned to lower-viscosity 0W20 oil. These measures, along with tweaks to the intake and exhaust systems, have liberated another 5 horsepower and 2 more pound-feet of torque. The 2012 CR-V is now rated at 185 hp at 7,000 rpm and 163 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm.

Last year's 5-speed automatic transmission carries over with minor revisions to minimize friction. Gearing is unchanged on all-wheel-drive CR-Vs, but front-drive models feature slightly taller gear ratios, especially on 1st and 2nd gears. All 2012 Honda CR-Vs get a smidge taller final drive (4.44 versus 4.50 previously).

If you don't like the sound of an engine revving, this isn't the SUV for you.​

All of the above changes, plus modifications to the electrical system (including a more sophisticated alternator) factor into the 2012 CR-V's higher fuel economy ratings. Front-drive models now earn an EPA rating of 23 city/31 highway/26 combined mpg compared to the previous model's 21/28/24 ratings, while AWD CR-Vs come in at 22/30/25 (versus 21/27/23).

Those numbers might not impress you, but among non-hybrid SUVs, the CR-V ranks second only to the (much smaller) Nissan Juke for fuel economy. Actually, Honda might have achieved even better mpg, but one unintended consequence of fiddling with the gearing was increased susceptibility to knock, so the engineering team had to dial back compression to 10.0:1 — down from 10.5:1 on the 2011 CR-V.

"With the higher final-drive ratio, you have more low-rpm, high-load usage, which makes it easier for the engine temperature to increase," Akio Tonomura, chief engineer for the CR-V, tells us.

Still Not Quick
Our 2012 Honda CR-V AWD EX-L with Navigation takes 9.4 seconds to reach 60 mph (or 9.1 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and goes through the quarter-mile in 16.8 seconds at 83.4 mph. That's right in line with most other 4-cylinder SUVs, and it's a half-second quicker than a 2008 CR-V we tested (10.0-second 0-60, 17.4-second quarter-mile at 79.2 mph). However, the turbocharged VW Tiguan is still about a second quicker than the 2012 CR-V.

Accelerating up to speed on the highway is less frenzied in the new CR-V, as improved sound-deadening results in less ruckus from the engine bay. Of course, the 2.4-liter continues to make its best power up high, so if you don't like the sound of an engine revving, this isn't the SUV for you.

Honda's smooth-shifting 5-speed automatic is still better than many other transmissions in this class, but it's not as responsive as the 2013 CX-5's new 6-speed automatic, and it doesn't match revs or offer a manual mode. A new Econ mode helps you mind your mpg by providing shallower throttle response to pedal input (along with less energetic cruise control and air-conditioner operation), but unless you're on flat ground, it makes for painfully slow progress.

Previous CR-Vs used a rudimentary all-wheel-drive system that required an actual rotational difference between the front and rear wheels before a pair of hydraulic pumps would act on a clutch to send torque to the rear differential. On the 2012 CR-V, you still have one hydraulic pump to operate the clutch, but now it's driven by an electric motor that's hooked up to the ECU, so you can get torque to the rear wheels before the front wheels even start slipping. The revised AWD system is 6 pounds lighter to boot.

Better Ride
Our biggest complaint about earlier Honda CR-Vs was the excessive road noise. On the flip side, the CR-V excelled in the handling department thanks to its unexpected ability to communicate with its driver. The 2012 Honda CR-V is still solid in this regard, but it's clear Honda wanted to tune it for more compliance and reduced road noise.

The suspension still consists of struts in front and a multilink rear, but Honda says it's using higher-capacity dampers, and the overall calibration provides more isolation on rutted freeways. It doesn't feel quite as in touch with the road as last year's model, but if you're transporting an infant, you'll prefer the new setup, as it's much quieter overall.

Similarly, the steering, which now uses electric power assist, offers lighter effort levels but slightly less feel than before. The ratio is also slower at 16.7:1 compared with 15.7 previously. The brakes are unchanged, and all EX models continue to wear 225/65R17 tires, though they're Continentals instead of the familiar Bridgestones.

At the test track, our 2012 CR-V tester went through the slalom at 63.1 mph, circled the skid pad at 0.76g and stopped from 60 mph in 120 feet — all virtually identical to the 2008 CR-V we tested.

How Is It on the Inside?
On the whole, the 2012 Honda CR-V's cabin is undoubtedly an improvement over last year. The dash has a more graceful design, the gauges are beautiful and you can finally get some decent electronics in the LX model. All 2012 CR-Vs come with a back-up camera, a USB input, Bluetooth, Pandora integration (if you have the app on your phone) and SMS text-to-speech capability for MAP-enabled phones. There's no need to spring for the EX-L model anymore, unless you want factory navigation or an old-school DVD rear entertainment system.

Beyond that, there are changes that may thrill or annoy you depending on your priorities. The ergonomics, for example, are as straightforward as before with the exception of the i-MID display, which mimics a smartphone interface but isn't very intuitive. In addition, the open floor space in previous CR-Vs is history, as Honda has installed a full front console with additional storage compartments.

In back, the 60/40 rear seats no longer adjust fore and aft — historically a signature convenience in the Honda CR-V. The reason for the change is a new, spring-loaded, auto-fold feature. Pull a couple levers in the cargo bay and the rear seat bottoms fold up while the seatbacks fold down, all without you physically exerting yourself. In their new fixed position, the rear seats offer as much legroom as the old ones did in their rearmost position. As we said, some will like the added convenience, but others might loathe the loss of adjustability.

There are more other questionable changes in the cargo bay. Instead of the sturdy cargo shelf there's now a conventional vinyl cargo cover. And the chunky handle that made it so easy to close the liftgate has been replaced by a finger slot. Care to guess which one was easier to use?

Still a Best Seller?
For the moment, the 2012 Honda CR-V is one of the best four-cylinder models in the compact SUV class. With this redesign, Honda has addressed its middling fuel economy and noticeable road noise while preserving the packaging owners like and the level of quality they expect.

We wish Honda had done more to address the sluggish acceleration, but that's the price you pay for better mileage. The minor changes to the seats and cargo area are slightly annoying, but they may prove less so with time.

The biggest worry for Honda at this point is the new competition on the horizon. The 2013 Ford Escape features a choice of 3 different 4-cylinder engines, while the Mazda CX-5 will eventually offer a diesel 4-cylinder that will likely deliver exceptional mileage.

Then again, the CR-V has never been the most powerful compact SUV or the most unique. Since the beginning it's been nothing but basic transportation that gets the job done. Not much has changed, and given its sales numbers over the years that may not be a bad thing at all.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
USA 2day: AWD Averaged 27.1mpg

Honda's overhauled 2012 CR-V is a big improvement. People familiar with previous generations of the small SUV no doubt will embrace it.

But the real question is whether the updates will seem sufficient when the re-engineered Ford Escape hits the market next spring, the new-to-the-line Mazda CX-5 arrives in February and Hyundai's Santa Fe gets a new do next year.

CR-V, Escape and CX-5 all were unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show on Wednesday. Honda hosted journalists at a New York briefing and drive event earlier this month.

In its favor, the CR-V's styling is handsome and gives the impression the vehicle is bigger than it is. It's about an inch shorter than the previous version, but otherwise the same.

The new model's "presence" keeps you from feeling as if you bought the pee-wee model, and instead lets you revel in owning an SUV of apparent substance. Satisfying.

Mileage is up significantly, as much as 4 miles per gallon better, depending on model and equipment, resulting in a 31-mpg highway rating on the most fuel-efficient version, which looks good in ads. Good mpg gives a patina of social concern and engineering expertise, even if you don't hit the sticker numbers in your driving. (And, of course, Test Drive didn't.)

The interior, previously criticized as plain, even cheap, got enough upgrading to surfaces, layout and trim that it now seems fine. Won't wow you, but isn't a reason not to buy.

Honda did a mostly good job of making it easy and pleasant to use most of the controls and gauges. An exception is the optional navigation system. It's old school, with tiny buttons and a little joystick control. Hard to operate, nigh impossible wearing winter gloves.

The visors don't slide on their rods, making it tough to effectively block the sun from all angles.

The drivetrain is disappointing. Despite better mpg and a little more power, the four-cylinder vibrates a bit at low speed and idle, enough to spark murmurs of dissatisfaction from passengers. The automatic transmission remains a 5-speed. Honda says that's sufficient, that a 6-speed's not needed, nor is the additional cost.

But there were many times in our drive that the gearbox didn't downshift for needed acceleration, which it might have been able to do with 6 gear ratios. No matter how good Honda's 5-speed becomes, a 6-speed with the same level of development would be better.

On the other hand, the optional all-wheel-drive system is nicely upgraded. It no longer needs to wait for the front wheels to lose traction before it begins powering the rear wheels, which should make it more effective on slick pavement.

The higher level of standard equipment should please most buyers. A backup camera, for instance, is standard on all models, at a time some automakers still fail to offer the feature even as an option.

Also standard: USB audio connection, Bluetooth streaming audio and hands-free phone link, Pandora radio and one-latch, easy-folding rear seats. CR-V's tilt-telescope steering column and its front seats have additional room for adjustment. That really improved comfort on a trip from Manhattan to northern Virginia.

The CR-V seemed a generally pleasant, easy-driving, comfortable machine throughout several hundred miles of testing. But something always popped into the mental periphery to slightly undercut the positive impression.

In addition to the fussy-to-operate navigation, the don't-adjust-enough sun visors and the mild but annoying engine vibration:

The doors opened and shut with a down-scale "clack" rather than the soft, reassuring "whump" that some vehicles in this price range manage to achieve.

The electronic throttle control was jerky at low speed, as when trying to ease along from 0 to 15 mph in the inevitable traffic jam around Baltimore and on the Washington, D.C., beltway.

While the 2012 CR-V addresses some sore points with the previous model, we'll wager — based on some gawking and tire-kicking of the Escape and CX-5 at the L.A. show — that a year from now, the CR-V could begin to seem dated again.

•What? Remake of the popular, small, four-door, five-passenger crossover SUV. Front- or all-wheel drive.

•When? On sale Dec. 15.

•Where? Built at East Liberty, Ohio.

•How much? Expect about $21,000 to $31,000. Honda will set prices nearer sale date.

•What makes it go? Honda's familiar 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, rated 185 horsepower (up 5 hp) at 7,000 rpm, 163 pounds-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. 5-speed automatic transmission. Updated, optional all-wheel drive system now can begin sending power to all 4 wheels without waiting for front wheels to slip.

•How big? Close in size to 2011 model. The 2012 is 178.3 inches long, 71.6 in. wide, 65.1 in. tall on a 103.1-in. wheelbase. Weighs 3,365 to 3,554 lbs. (22 to 48 lbs. lighter). Cargo space is 37.2 cubic feet (plus 1.5 cu. ft.) behind rear seat, 70.9 cu. ft. (minus 2 cu. ft.) with seat folded.

•How thirsty? Front-drive rated 23 miles per gallon in town, 31 highway, 26 combined. All-wheel drive rated 22/30/25. Those are up 1 to 4 mpg vs. the 2011.

Loaded AWD test vehicle registered 27.1 mpg (3.69 gallons per 100 miles) in 237 high-speed highway miles and 16 mpg (6.25 gal. per 100 mi.) in suburban driving.

Burns regular, holds 15.3 gal.

•Overall: Big improvement, but good enough to hold off new Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Santa Fe?​


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #11

The basics of the connected life are standard on the new Honda CR-V SUV: a USB jack, Bluetooth, text reader, dashboard control of Pandora, and at least one color display. It’s Honda’s way of staying competitive in the burgeoning market for small sport utility vehicles, the so-called cute ute segment. The 2013 Honda CR-V is one of the best, although the equally-new Ford Escape has even more tech available, just not standard with every car.

A test drive in an early-production-run Honda CR-V showed the value of all that tech. When it worked. It was great being able to manipulate Pandora using the car’s big control knobs and see the results on a 5-inch i-MID, or intelligent multi-information display. Big LCDs are less distracting than fiddling with your phone while driving. But I found the connection to iTunes on an Apple iPhone 4S froze several times and so did dashboard control of Pandora. Unplugging and replugging the phone restored the frozen connection, although sometimes it seized up again and you could no longer control the device. That happened on both CR-Vs I drove. You can’t use the phone to control Pandora or iTunes because the car disables local access.

Honda said the glitches might be the early nature of a batch of CR-Vs that won’t reach the public. But if CR-V buyers encounter problems, as I did, they may not have the flexibility afforded Ford Sync users: They can download and install a patch via USB key, or get it in the mail, as is the case of the pending fix to the MyFord Touch interface. With Honda you may be in for a trip back to the dealer. Imagine having to take your PC back to the dealer every time you needed to resolve an issue with Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop or iTunes.

The 5-inch i-MID LCD sits at the top of the center stack and shows audio, phone, car computer, and other functions. It’s deeply hooded, yet I found the i-MID was still affected by glare from the sun at times. If you opt for a navigation system, a larger 7-inch LCD goes in the middle of the center stack. Honda says navigation will cost about $1,500 and claims the cost is justified by all the testing automakers have to do. So Honda says. Buy a Ford Escape and you’ll get navigation for $795. Industry analysts say navigation systems should cost less than $1,000.

Pandora in a press release says this if the 1st “integrated” version of the popular streaming software. A spokesperson clarified to say it considers all versions of Pandora, such as the ones offered by BMW and Ford, to be integrated. The difference may be that the BMW and Ford versions are enabled by software, making them easier to integrate, to offer upgrades or bug fixes, or even to offer similar streaming software such as MOG. When you’re stopped, you can see texts on the i-MID; when you’re moving, they’re only read aloud. You can send the usual canned responses, but Honda, like most other automakers, doesn’t trust its voice recognition software enough to let you dictate a free-form response. What they say is that it would be distracting because the car would have to post a draft of your text on-screen for approval.

Since every CR-V has at least 1 color display, Honda also made standard a multi-angle backup camera. There’s a rear seat entertainment system available but it’s an either/or option: You can have navigation or rear entertainment, but not both.

Aside from the tech aspects, the 2012 Honda is mostly improved: the cockpit is nicer and fuel economy is up 1-4 mpg (23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway for the front-drive CR-V). There’s a center bin big enough for a purse; the USB connection is there, too. The power steering is electric and that makes possible some additional stability control tech features that help steer you safely through corners when it’s wet or icy outside. But Pandora is iPhone-only, the automatic transmission remains a five-speed (Honda says why bother with more gears since mpg is up), and the ride remains firm to stiff. It will cost about $21,000-$31,000.

If you shop small SUVs, look at the top-selling CR-V in this tech-improved, 4th-generation form; the 2013 Ford Escape (sales leader including fleet sales) with Sync and MyFord Touch optional along with a liftgate that opens when you kick your foot under the back of the car (and the remote key is in your pocket); and an entirely new model, the Mazda CX-5. The Toyota RAV-4 is a top seller, too, but it’s overdue for a model refresh; the Hyundai Santa Fe gets a refresh in the spring.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #12

In the beginning Honda created the CR-V and it sold well. There was no rest on the 7th day, as it existed in a world of dinosaur-size competition, and there was still no rest by day 5840, when Honda unveiled the 2012 CR-V -- long after the dinosaurs fell prey to the meteorite-like impact of rising fuel prices.

The 4th generation 2012 Honda CR-V, Honda's smallest SUV, hosts numerous updates that, when taken apart, might seem minor and inconsequential, but together they make for a vehicle that's more fuel-efficient, more powerful, and larger inside. The new CR-V is the product of meticulous changes from its creator, unlike us damn dirty apes who drive it.

The improvements appear in a range between zero and 5. The CR-V's 2.4-liter inline-4 has 5 more horsepower and 2 more lb-ft of torque, but we challenge you to spot the difference from the driver's seat. AWD models get a fuel economy improvement of 1 and 3 mpg city/highway, thanks to a longer final gear ratio and efficiency increases throughout the powertrain. Weight has been shed in small amounts everywhere, adding up to an 139-pound decrease relative to its predecessor. The result is a CR-V that carries 1.3 fewer pounds per horsepower.

These incremental changes return likewise incremental performance benefits. Our loaded EX-L tester reaches 60 mph in 9.1 seconds, or a tenth faster than the best time we recorded from the previous generation. The difference shrinks to zero at the quarter mile, and there the CR-V is traveling 83 mph. Its 28.8-second figure-eight lap time also matches the previous gen, but most impressive is the CR-V's accurate steering, front-end response, and lift throttle-induced rotation.

Honda's decision to stick with a 5-speed automatic becomes more apparent on the road. Lengthening the final drive (from 4.50 to 4.44) in the name of fuel economy does reduce engine speed at freeway cruising, but it also extends the ratio spread. While choosing one of the 5 long gears goes by unnoticeably in most instances, other functions -- like passing traffic or merging onto the freeway -- highlight the need for more options. The ratio spread provided from a 6-speed transmission would seem a better solution, one some competitors are already using.

While Honda has added more sound-deadening material, engine noise still rings through the cabin during sustained heavy-throttle applications, as in the aforementioned on-ramp experience. The sound is traditional Honda, and it's one enthusiasts might enjoy, but that your mom probably won't. Both will agree to avoid the green Econ button. When engaged, climate controls come on less frequently, and you have access to what feels like a quarter of the gas pedal.

Similarly questionable is Honda's infotainment system, which is divided into a main 6.5-inch screen in the center of the dash and a 5-inch screen not far above. The main screen contains the navigation functions (when so equipped), audio controls, and so on, while the smaller screen shows fuel-economy data, as well as audio information and turn-by-turn prompts. While our initial response to this setup was positive ("Small Stuff," January 2012), the longer we stared at that 2nd screen, the more it felt redundant. Why can't a larger, single screen do everything? In the Civic, the 2nd screen is driver-oriented, sitting in clear view to the right of the speedometer. In the CR-V, it is recessed in the top center of the dash, giving the impression that it might disappear in a fight-or-flight scenario.

The rest of the interior packaging is clever. While exterior length and height have decreased, total passenger volume has increased 0.6 cubic feet and cargo volume behind the 2nd row has increased 1.5 cubic feet. Dropping the rear seat to access that space takes 1 hand: Pull the strap and the bottom flips forward and the seatback drops, giving access to the rear cargo area. In another update, the outer edge of the driver's sideview mirror has a wide-angle partition, providing easy view of the blind spot.

The design of the new CR-V proves largely intelligent. We can offer only minor complaints about some odd mutations, but we can levy the same niggles at wisdom teeth. Questionable (and evolution-relevant) mutations aside, the CR-V remains a solid car in its element, a careful and mostly well-executed update of an already popular and successful product that should carry it far beyond the prehistoric age.

2012 Honda CR-V EX-L
ENGINE TYPE I-4, aluminum block/head
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 143.7 cu in/2354 cc
POWER (SAE NET) 185 hp @ 7000 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 163 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
REDLINE 7000 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 18.7 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 5-speed automatic
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
BRAKES, F;R 11.7-in vented disc; 12.0-in disc, ABS
WHEELS 6.5 x 17-in, cast aluminum
TIRES 225/65R17 102T M+S Continential CrossContact LX
WHEELBASE 103.1 in
TRACK, F/R 61.6/61.6 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 178.3 x 71.6 x 65.1 in
HEADROOM, F/R 38.0/38.6 in
LEGROOM, F/R 41.3/38.3 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 58.6/56.4 in
CARGO VOL BEHIND F/R 70.9/37.2 cu ft
0-30 3.2 sec
0-40 4.7
0-50 6.8
0-60 9.1
0-70 11.7
0-80 15.4
0-90 20.2
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 4.7
QUARTER MILE 16.9 sec @ 83.0 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 126 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.8 sec @ 0.58 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1900 rpm
BASE PRICE $29,105
AIRBAGS Dual front, front side, f/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 mi
ENERGY CON, CITY/HWY 153/112 kW-hrs/100 mi
CO2 EMISSIONS 0.78 lb/mi
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular

1 - 13 of 13 Posts