The entire stable of CR-V offerings from Honda delivers SUV versatility and functionality with a stylish and refined presence. There are four model from which to choose: the base LX; a new Special Edition SE; the EX; and the flagship of the line EX-L. Each model gets progressively better in terms of equipment and features as one moves up the ladder. The CR-V SE (Special Edition) adds to the standard features of the CR-V LX with alloy wheels (replacing styled-steel wheels), a 160-watt AM/FM/6-disc changer with six speakers (up from a single-disc CD and four speakers), steering wheel-mounted audio controls and rear privacy glass.
All versions of the CR-V are powered by a 2.4-liter DOHC, 16-valve inline i-VTEC 4-cylinder with Multi-point fuel injection and drive-by-wire throttle. The efficient engine delivers 160 horsepower at 6,800 rpm while generating 161 pound feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. The motor is positioned sideways up front and drives either the front wheels or all four wheels via Honda’s Real Time four-wheel drive system. Measures of power are metered through a five-speed automatic transmission with an active torque converter. City/highway/combined EPA-estimated fuel-economy ratings are 21/28/24 miles per gallon for 2WD models and 21/27/23 mpg for models equipped with Real Time™ 4WD.
Visually, there are no major changes to the CR-V’s exterior from the 2010 models. It continues to display the same dynamic forward cabin, a two-tiered grille and a distinctive side profile that expresses the CR-V’s emphasis on upscale style and design. It appears to be compact on the outside, while it is actually quite accommodating on the inside, with the interior providing a maximum passenger volume of 103.8 cu-ft. (CR-V LX), plus an accommodating cargo volume of 35.7 cu-ft. behind the rear seats.
The five-passenger interior’s focus is on functionality and style. The front row storage areas are designed to accommodate items such as a handbag or briefcase between the seats. For enhanced comfort, there are driver’s and front passenger’s center-folding armrests, and a center console replaces the retractable center tray table on the CR-V EX-L with navigation. A sliding 60/40 split second-row seat with a 40/20/40 folding seatback that provides cargo versatility by sliding forward to increase cargo space, folding forward to accommodate long objects, or folding and tumbling forward to create a large, flat cargo area.
Maximum possible cargo volume measures 72.9 cu-ft. with approximate floor dimensions of 51 inches long by 39 inches wide (at wheel wells). Potential storage behind the rear seat is enhanced by a dual-deck cargo shelf (CR-V EX and EX-L) that can strategically facilitate items like a folded baby stroller on the lower level and grocery bags on the upper level. The second-row seat includes a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat mounting system for all rear seat positions, allowing either two child seats to be installed in the outboard positions or one in the center. There’s also lots of storage space and sufficient cupholders throughout.
Safety equipment that comes as standard fare includes: Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE) body structure, Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA) and a pedestrian injury mitigation design at the vehicle’s front. Additional standard equipment includes side-curtain airbags with a rollover sensor; front side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); active front seat head restraints; an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist; and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
My test 2011 Honda CR-V was done up in EX-L trim in the Real Time 4 wheel-Drive set up, and came with the Navigation system. The base sticker read $29,895, with the Destination and Handling charge elevated the final tally to $30,675. The exterior was sprayed Tango Red Pearl metallic, while the interior was executed in charcoal and Gray tones.
SUMMARY: Given the model availability offered in the CR-V lineup, it represents a desirable vehicle in its very base form at a reasonable and affordable price. The LX begins at $21,695 and progresses to a top price of $29,895 for the EX-L version in a 4WD configuration with the navigation package. The Destination charge for all models is $780.
The 2.4-liter i-VTEC four banger delivers more than enough power and acceleration to deliver on its mission statement. The ride quality is more like that of a sedan than an SUV, and in terms of its handling prowess, it features a tight turning radius even in a 4WD configuration which is not usually the case and the steering provides positive feedback with good on-center feel for nimble response.
The seating accommodations are really comfortable and supportive both fore and aft, and switchgear is logically placed for optimum user friendliness. In the bottom-line analysis, the CR-V is a solid choice for consumers looking for practicality in an attractive package, that also happens to deliver reasonable fuel economy. The EX-L trim with Navigation is at the top of a very successful model line, while even the base model comes with an impressive inventory of equipment and features as standard issue.