Honda CR-V Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.36/5 Average
4,333 Total Reviews
Model Overview:

When the original Honda CR-V debuted in the late 1990s, its mission was simple: to offer a distinct alternative to more mainstream mid- and full-size large SUVs. With its car-based design, economical four-cylinder engine and sedanlike ride and handling, the CR-V was an instant hit. Priced competitively and offering plenty of passenger room and cargo capacity for most people's needs, the Honda CR-V has long enjoyed strong sales numbers and much loyalty from consumers.

Today, the compact- or small-SUV segment has grown to include more than a dozen different models, with varying philosophies of what constitutes the perfect blend of size, power and capability. While some models offer more powerful upgrade engines and others can deliver true off-road capability, the Honda CR-V remains focused on its more practical aspirations. True to form, it is one of the best choices available in the all-important areas of being both easy to drive and family-friendly.

Current Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is offered in familiar LX, EX and EX-L trim levels. Even the LX comes pretty well equipped, while the EX and EX-L get additional convenience and luxury features. The EX-L is also eligible for either a navigation system or a rear-seat entertainment system. You can't get the navigation and the DVD systems together, however.

Powering all CR-Vs is a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine that's good for 185 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque, mated to a five-speed transmission. On all models, front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional.

The newest Honda CR-V's list of merits is a long one. Its interior is intelligently thought out and boasts strong fit and finish. Its ride is more comfortable and quieter than before, and handling and steering remain high points. Its major shortcoming concerns passing power in certain circumstances. We've found the CR-V's acceleration peppy enough around town, but somewhat sluggish during merging and passing maneuvers on gradients. However, as long as your beaten path doesn't include many steep roads or overly heavy loads, the Honda CR-V should provide all the room, refinement and performance you will ever need.

Used Honda CR-Vs
The current, fourth-generation CR-V was redesigned for 2012. Changes were of the more evolutionary sort, as its size, basic interior packaging and engine were similar to the previous model. Key alterations included a quieter and more comfortable ride, additional features and a backseat that flipped down from levers in the trunk.

The third generation of the Honda CR-V was produced from 2007-'11. Compared to the previous-generation CR-V, this one had few key improvements, including a new liftgate (instead of the previous side-mounted door with an outside-mounted spare tire), improved handling and steering, and the option for a navigation system for the first time.

Trim levels included the traditional LX and EX, plus the EX-L -- the L signifying leather upholstery (along with heated front seats). CR-Vs from 2007-'09 made 166 hp versus 180 hp for the following two years. A five-speed automatic transmission was standard across the board, and all trims could be had with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Those looking for maximum luxury in a CR-V should know that the EX-L gained a power driver seat, automatic climate control and a premium stereo for 2008. An SE trim level, which slotted between the traditional LX and EX trims, was made for just the final year of this generation.

In reviews, we've found this CR-V to be a very well-rounded model. High points included a comfortable and sensible interior, top crash test scores and agile handling. Elevated amounts of road noise might be a problem for some shoppers, as would be the engine's modest power, but overall this CR-V should be a great choice for a used small crossover SUV.

Produced from 2002-'06, the second-generation CR-V boasted a number of improvements compared to the original CR-V, including more power, more interior room and improved passenger protection. It was available in base LX or uplevel EX trim. The EX had more features, as well as standard antilock brakes and side airbags for the entire run (the LX didn't get them as standard until 2005), so picking an EX might be a wise idea. Notably, stability control and side and side curtain airbags became standard across the lineup in '05. The Special Edition model, available only in 2005 and '06, included exterior styling tweaks, a hard spare tire cover and heated leather seats and mirrors.

Power came from a 2.4-liter four cylinder rated at 160 hp, though this number dropped to 156 hp in 2006 due to a revised rating procedure. The LX had standard front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive, while the EX was AWD-only until 2006, when a FWD version was also made available. Both LX and EX initially came standard with a five-speed manual transmission, but from 2005 onward the manual was limited to the EX. The other transmission, an automatic, had four speeds until 2005, when it was upgraded to five.

In reviews, our editors lauded the second-generation CR-V's comfortable ride and refined powertrains, though the significant road noise at speed was deemed regrettable. Some of us found the four-cylinder a bit meek, but its smooth power delivery and reasonable efficiency were mentioned as admirable traits. All in all, the second-generation CR-V was roundly praised when new and remains a solid choice on the used-car market.

The original first-generation Honda CR-V compact SUV was produced from 1997-2001. It was priced competitively and offered more passenger room and cargo capacity than its peers. A manual transmission was added in 1998, and a welcome 20-hp boost the following year gave it a new output of 146 hp. In 2000, a leather-trimmed SE (Special Edition) model was added to lead the model lineup.

User Reviews:

Showing 1 through 10 of 4,333.00
  • Nothing compares - 2009 Honda CR-V
    By -

    I live in Switzerland, Europe. Hondas are far less popular over here, then in the USA. In the last sales ranking available (2019, for compact SUVs), the CR-V doesnt even show up in the first 25 most sold models. So it took me a while, and a whole lot of bad cars, until I discovered Hondas qualities. I change my cars quite often, usually barely keeping them longer than 6 months, hence Im already at car nr. 60 (or more?) in my life. I usually always stayed loyal to a brand for some years. My first Honda was a FR-V, a car based on the CR-V, but a bit more van-like, and sportier. But they stopped building that car in 2009, and the used ones available today, all have around 200000 km, or even more. I bought a Diesel model then, with the reliable 2.2 l i-ctdi motor. I bought this car 2 years ago, and it was truly one of the most reliable cars I ever had. I wanted to change it this summer, so the CR-V was the logical upgrade. Its spacier, larger, and has the same reliable Diesel engine as I had in the FR-V. I found a very nice used one at a good price, and never regretted buying it ever since. Its a smooth ride, and the build quality of this car is simply awesome. It still looks almost like new after 10 years, and 170000 km. I also like its styling, my 3rd. generation model is not so different in style, than the latest one. At least, it doesnt feel like Id be driving an old car. My kids like it just as much as me, the space in the back is huge (along with the cargo boot) and perfect for road trips. The cabin is perfect, and the cockpit does not look old at all. The only thing to complain about, is the slightly grinding noise, the rear differential makes on very narrow turns. I already exchanged the oil with the right Honda oil, but the noise remains. I was however told by my Honda garage that this is no cause for concern, as many CR-Vs do that same noise, but the differential itself is very rarely broken. They told me to drive 10000 km, and to replace the oil once more, and the noise would most likely be gone. Ill try it. But so far Im fully confident that this car is one of the best I ever had, all brands considered (ca. 20 different car brands).

  • Lost my favorite aspects of car - 2014 Honda CR-V
    By -

    Happy with reliability of CRV. However, there were 3 things I loved about my 2010 CRV that are now gone. Floor to roof cargo height reduced by 8" (have to put bike on slant now). Open floor area between front seats (great for computer bag) now filled with a useless console. Middle folding rear seat good for putting skiies through and 2 passengers - gone to 2/3, 1/3 split - now skiied and only 1 passenger. Plastic grey trim on top level trim - ugly and cheap. So my favorite things about car gone and I am in work around mode. Probably will look at other alternatives. Hoping the tires on this car last longer than the 30K on 2010 model. "Sport utility" is a completely different concept than "family" vehicle. Keep it in mind Honda.

  • A wonderful deal for us - 2015 Honda CR-V
    By -

    Rating very high for: - excellent deal for 2015 CR-V close to $30,000 after negotiation - Touring trim, needs hardly any additional equipment or package at that price compared to the other similar cars whose price goes up 8f you opt for those accessories or technologies - SUV feel and cargo space - right blind spot camera standard on most trims is a marvellous idea most other brands dont provide much superior to the blind spot warning beeper. Rear and blind spot cameras and splash guards should be standard equipment on all automobiles. - only accessories I agreed to were 4 splash guards already fitted on the car, although pricey, but I figured it would cost me not much lower after market, and trying to screw 4 of them in a crouching or lying down position would be very tedious for me. In Oregon where roads are wet at least half the year, it is very annoying and dangerous having the vehicles in front or side of you splashing all over your windshield all the time even when the rain is stopped , especially on the freeway at high speed. I am amazed there is no legal requirement for this low price equipment that can prevent accidents and save lives! - really liked the dealer placing number plates on the car immediately on buying for a fee that was reasonable and avoided the wait time involved - cannot rate reliability now, but historically, is excellent. - no sales tax in Oregon. Bought in Portland. Not so good: - Honda had year-end 0.9% promotional financing on all other models except on the CR-V WHY? I will quickly refinance to lower the interest rate to half. Havent started paying yet. Spoke to Honda Financial they said go for it and have no strings or penalties attached if we do refinance early. - the dealer tried to sneak in additional fees and amounts over and above of what was agreed before visiting the showroom, repeatedly angering me and making me almost walk out a couple of times

  • All around traveler - 2014 Honda CR-V
    By -

    If you need a good all around vehicle, I would recommend this one. Im really proud of this car. The trunk is really roomy and there is a lot of legroom. Perfect height for average people, even my 4yo can get in and out by herself. But still high enough to go through 2.5 feet of fresh snow up an 1/8 mile driveway. We used to have a honda odyssey minivan and we replaced it with this CRV. I was worried about stepping down from a V6 to 4 cylinder for our road trips. Going over the big mountain passes in cruise control, the odyssey would downshift to around 3k rpm and this CRV does the same. I feel that the lighter weight offsets the smaller engine. I would have given 5 stars if it werent for the darn VTC actuator clacking on cold starts and darn front seat head rests/restarints. I have checked with my mechanic and the VTC actuator is just an annoyance. I have to recline the front seat back a little and then the Fwd cant of the headrest is not so bad. The head rest was designed this way to reduce neck injury, so I understand. I took this car for a 3000 mile trip this last winter and it did about 25.5 mpg with blizzaKS and a Thule roof box. Again we had so much snow in utah. With studless snow tires on, I went through all sorts of snow. Handling was great going over Snoqualmie pass, blue mountains, Sierra nevadas, tahoe, donner pass and siskiyous. We had white out conditions with blowing snow and this little CRV did not skip a beat. Good tires are important to go and stop, awd just helps to go fwd. Ill update again after this spring break trip to Mt. Rushmore from Seattle. Hope this review helps

  • Vacation on the snow - 2015 Honda CR-V
    By -

    Pricey. Good gas mileage. Drives really well. No chains needed in the snow.

    By -

  • Thumbs down on CRV - 2014 Honda CR-V
    By -

    Tinny and unsafe unpredictable driving in New England weather. Slid right through a red light today - braking and AWD useless - no problem though for the little Prius in front of me! This vehicle has been disappointing since day one and is very overrated. MPG is 22.5 at best. Does not hold its value- I owe more than it is worth . Owned Jeeps for 20 years and loved them. Did not consider another one due to Chrysler Corps and local dealership very poor customer backing and service. They do not stand by their customers or honor warrantys so that is why I did not consider doing business with Jeep/Chrysler . Definitely not impressed with Honda though. Probably go back to Jeep - at least I will feel safer while driving in New England winter weather and will not depend on customer backing by Chrysler or dealership.

  • Worst headlights of all! - 2015 Honda CR-V
    By -

    We bought our 2015 Honda CRV Ex-l three weeks ago. The headlights are too focused in the front. When making a 90 degree turn, you dont see anything till you turned. It is rather dangerous driving at night. This is fifth Honda we bought, and second CRV we have. We took the CRV back to the dealer, they told us they can only adjust the lights up and down, not left or right. We called Honad, they said it is not defective, so even it is safety issue, they will not do anything for us. If you will drive at night in areas without street lights, you should test drive it under similar condition to see if you think it is safe. Our older CRV has no such problem at all. We are very disappointed at 2015 CRV.

  • Not that great - 2005 Honda CR-V
    By -

    I cant say this car breaks down a lot but it was cheaply made. I was borrowing my moms car for a while and I can say right off that my 1998 Chevy Blazer does way better than it. To start with its not that great in the snow. The four wheel drive does fine, but as far as the ABS goes, its terrible. ABS is supposed to keep a car from sliding in the snow, but this one, pfft, it slides anyway and instead this VSA thing they installed comes alive when its not supposed to which is supposed to help the car when its turning. The other thing about it is safety issues. The breaks arent great either, they dont stop as fast as other cars do. I mean if you live somewhere where there isnt a lot of snow, Im sure its not a bad car. It gets you from A to B doesnt have any horrible engine or tranny issues. But I wouldnt recommend it for snow country.

  • Beware of posted fuel mileage. - 2014 Honda CR-V
    By -

    We purchased our CRV in November and love the vehicle with one exception. The fuel mileage isnt anywhere close to what it was sold as being. My wife has a daily commute of 30 miles each way to work, so fuel economy was a major factor in our decision. Although with 90% of our driving being interstate, the vehicle is only averaging 23.5 mpg even with the eco turned on. If you are looking at the CRV for the fuel economy, I would recommend looking at another vehicle.

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