The CR-V (Comfortable Runabout Vehicle) is sized and priced between smaller sport/utes such as the Toyota RAV4 and mid-size sport/utes such as the Honda Passport--really a Honda-badged mid-size Isuzu Rodeo. Based on a Honda Civic, the CR-V has unibody construction--not a trucklike body on frame setup.
This Honda's base prices go from $18,350 to $21,050. All models are well-equipped and come with only four doors. New for 1998 are an entry level two-wheel-drive model and five-speed manual transmission.
The CR-V's nifty all-wheel drive isn't for rugged off-road use, but automatically shoots power from the front wheels to all wheels if slippery roads are encountered.
All models have a small 126-horsepower four-cylinder engine that provides lively performance below 50 m.p.h., but average acceleration above that. The fuel-stingy engine is loud when pushed. It gives the best performance with the manual tranmission, although the four-speed automatic shifts efficiently. Fuel economy is 22 m.p.g. city and 25 highway with either transmission.
Accurate steering, decent handling, a supple ride and good braking make the CR-V fun to live with. Occupants sit high in the quiet interior, which has well-placed controls, sturdy cupholders and good room for four tall adults--or five on short trips. But drivers with long fingernails might dislike the small, dashboard-mounted power window controls. A fold-forward rear seat greatly increases the otherwise-average cargo area space.
The CR-V is conservatively styled, inside and out, but has a winning personality.