Ample passenger and cargo space, good fuel economy, well-designed dashboard
CONS Sluggish acceleration, Sloppy AWD system
Jack of all trades, master compact SUV
For nearly a decade, the Honda CR-V has set the bar for compact sport-utility vehicles. During that time, dozens of manufacturers have introduced competitors; however, the humble CR-V continues to be one of the best-selling vehicles in the class.
For 2007, Honda has completely redesigned CR-V, giving it revised styling, more power, and additional features. Though interior dimensions are virtually unchanged, the new CR-V is three inches shorter. CR-V still seats five and continues to be powered by a 4-cylinder engine. A big change at the rear includes a switch from a swing-out tailgate to a more conventional liftgate. Also, the spare tire was moved from behind the vehicle to under the cargo floor. CR-V competitors include the Dodge Caliber, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson, Subaru Forester, and Toyota Rav4.
Three models are offered: LX, EX, and EX-L. All are available with front- or all-wheel drive. Sole engine is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 166 horsepower. That's a gain of 10 over last year's engine. All models also come with a 5-speed automatic transmission. Like many of its competitors, the CR-V's AWD system lacks a low range and is not intended for off-road use.
2007 Honda CR-V EX-L w/Navi
Base Price: $28,000
As-Tested Price: $28,595
Built in Japan.
Engine: DOHC 2.4-liter I4
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Drive Wheels: all-wheel drive
Standard safety features on all models includes antilock brakes, front side airbags, curtain side airbags, stability control, and tire-pressure monitoring system. LX standards include air conditioning, keyless entry, power mirrors, doors, and windows, and CD/MP3 player with digital-media connection. EX adds power sunroof, 6-disc changer with steering-wheel controls, rear-privacy glass, and alloy wheels. EX-L models have all of those features plus leather upholstery, heated front seats, center console, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and satellite radio. Available on the EX-L is a factory-installed navigation system.
Prices start at $20,600 for the front-drive LX and rise to $28,000 for the AWD EX-L with factory-installed navigation. All models have a destination charge of $595.
Get up and Go The 5-speed automatic upshifts smoothly and downshifts promptly when called upon for additional power. In around-town driving the engine is smooth, but it grows coarse in hard acceleration and in passing situations.
Acceleration is adequate, perhaps 9.0 seconds 0-60 mph. Initially, the engine feels quite peppy, but that's due to short gearing and aggressive throttle tuning. Once underway, acceleration is underwhelming and passing response is just average for a compact SUV. Additionally, the engine tends to labor up modest hills, necessitating a downshift from the transmission to maintain speed.
The AWD system isn't designed for off-road use, but does a respectable job of delivering power to all four wheels on slippery snow-covered roads. Still, it doesn't react as quickly as similar systems on most competitors, and the momentary bursts of wheel spin it allows might be disconcerting to some drivers.
The AWD EX-L CR-V is EPA rated at 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Compared to other compact SUVs those numbers are excellent. In routine driving expect to average about 22 mpg, perhaps 25 mpg on highway trips. Honda recommends regular-grade fuel for all CR-V engines.
On the Road There's a fair amount of body lean in turns and tires have only modest grip--especially in tight turns. Still, the steering is accurate and has a fair amount of road feel, and the brakes have ample stopping power and are easy to modulate in all conditions. Overall, the CR-V strikes a good balance between ride comfort and sporty handling.
CR-V rides as smoothly as some compact cars. The suspension is compliant enough to soak up most minor road imperfections, but taught enough to keep the ride from being bouncy. As in many competitors, the ride grows busy on scalloped concrete surfaces.
In terms of overall isolation CR-V is among the quieter compact SUVs. There's little wind noise at highway speeds, but the engine is boomy in hard acceleration and the tires thrum on coarse pavement.
Behind the Wheel Honda redesigned CR-V's interior for 2007, eschewing some of its predecessor's hard plastic in favor of padded surfaces. Still, materials and assembly quality are only average for the class.
Gauges are easy to read, day or night. Most controls fall close at hand and are clearly marked. Climate controls are low in the center console and can be blocked by the dash-mounted shifter. Available navigation system absorbs audio controls, but it is one of the easiest systems to use and is augmented by a voice command system.
Supportive front seats are firm and chair-like. Head and leg room are good, but the seats could be a little wider. Driving position is typical SUV--slightly elevated--and offers a great view of the road. Standard tilt/telescope steering wheel makes it easy for drivers of all sizes to get comfortable.
NHTSA Crash-Test Results2007 Honda CR-V
|Front Impact, Driver ||5 stars|
|Front Impact, Passenger ||5 stars|
|Side Impact, Driver ||5 stars|
|Side Impact, Rear Passenger ||5 stars|
|Rollover Resistance ||4 stars|
With ample head and leg room, rear seats are quite spacious. Seat cushions are comfortable and split-folding seatback is adjustable. Rear door openings are a little narrow at their base, which makes it somewhat awkward for large-legged people to get in and out.
Cargo space is quite generous--especially when compared to other compact SUVs. Rear seatbacks fold flat to increase cargo space further. Interior storage is ample as well, augmented by an additional glove box and, on EX-L models, large center console.
Bottom Line Many competitors offer seating for seven and V6 or turbocharged power. Still, the CR-V continues to set the compact SUV bar for overall goodness. It's roomy, easy to drive, affordable and economical. No it's not the most fun to drive, but for all-around usage, it's hard to beat the Jack-of-all-trades CR-V. Perhaps this is a case where the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
|Specifications, 2007 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD|
|Wheelbase, in. |
|Size, liters/cu. in. |
|Length, in. |
|Horsepower @ rpm |
166 @ 5800
|Width, in. |
|Torque (lb-ft) @ rpm |
161 @ 4200
|Weight, lbs. |
|EPA Estimates, mpg|
22 city/28 highway
|Cargo Capacity, cu. ft. |
|Fuel Capacity, gals. |
3 years / 36,000 miles
|Front Head Room, in. |
5 years / 60,000 miles
|Front Leg Room, in. |
5 years / unlimited miles
|Rear Head Room, in. |
|Free Roadside Assistance |
|Rear Leg Room, in. |
|Free Scheduled Maintenance|