May 23, 2013
Written by Steven Macoy
Thursday, 12 April 2012 15:36
Our 2012 Honda CR-V was quick to remind us why so many Americans gravitate to this compact sport-utility vehicle. When it came time to secure a grandchild in a booster seat, there was none of the usual “I can’t reach that” or “you’ve got to help me with this,” no contortions or restrained oaths. This is a fuss-free SUV that gets surprisingly good fuel economy; we logged 27 mpg on a cross-Connecticut trip with three adults on board.
What the CR-V lacks in excitement, it makes up tenfold in sheer competence. It’s easy to take a wrong turn in the automotive marketplace by following emotion or chasing a too-good-to-be-true bargain — or simply failing to devote enough time and research to the car-buying process. But if you’re looking for qualities like comfort, versatility, foul-weather capability and safety, you’re unlikely to regret choosing a CR-V.
The enduring success of the CR-V is remarkable, considering the presence of so many worthy rivals. Chevrolet, Ford, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Subaru and Suzuki all make medium-priced compact SUVs that are worth a look.
The CR-V is a conventional four-door compact SUV available with front- or all-wheel drive. No longer bolted to the tailgate, the compact spare tire can be found under the rear deck. Leg room and head room are ample even for tall drivers and passengers, and the cargo compartment is both spacious, nicely finished and easily expanded to a full 70.9 cubic feet.
The 2012 CR-V is not as noisy as its predecessors, but there’s still a fair amount of road noise. The 185-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine, the only power plant offered in the CR-V, is quiet, capable and fuel-efficient. The car’s road manners are exceptionally athletic for an SUV.
Our test car was equipped with an economy mode, activated by a push of a button; it modified engine, transmission and air-conditioner performance to maximize fuel economy. Lighted bars on either side of the gauge package indicate whether the driver is achieving maximum fuel economy.
At a little more than $30,000, our CR-V was loaded with features, including all-wheel drive, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, power moon roof, heated mirrors and heated front seats. The base front-wheel-drive LX model starts at $22,295 — almost $4,000 more than the well-regarded Kia Sportage in base trim, but about $1,000 less than the Chevrolet Equinox LS.
The CR-V is oriented toward young audiences, with a bevy of technological features — from XM satellite radio and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls to Bluetooth audio and hands-free link, Pandora Internet radio interface, SMS text-messaging functionality, and USB audio interface. In a car so rich in technology, there’s plenty of opportunity for driver distraction, but Honda does render some features “inoperable or grayed out while the vehicle is moving,” as the CR-V’s Technology Reference Guide puts it.
The CR-V is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, and it scores well in reliability surveys.
Engine: 2.4-liter inline Four, 185 horsepower, 163 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: 5-speed shiftable automatic
Weight: 3,408 lb.
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
Ground clearance: 6.3 in.
Wheels: 17x6.5 alloy
Tires: 225/65R17 102T all-season
Seating capacity: 5
Luggage capacity: 37.2 cu. ft.
Maximum cargo capacity: 70.9 cu. ft.
Towing capacity: 1,500 lb.
Fuel capacity: 15.3 gallons
Fuel economy: 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway
Fuel type: Regular
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