CR-V offers comfort, safety and all-wheel-drive capability
The compact SUV market has become crowded in the last few years. One of the entries that always has done well through its model years is the CR-V. From the beginning, Honda billed the CR-V as a more civilized road-traveling sport utility. This was and remains a smart decision, for this Honda is not what I would call a trail buster. The all-wheel-drive system is designed and engineered to get you through the mud you might encounter at the mountain cabin. I put this Honda through several exercises that I might demand of four-wheel-drive sport utilities. I also put it through a myriad of maneuvers on the street, which it handled superbly, putting many off-road capable vehicles to shame. The ride comfort and handling is greatly improved over previous versions. One of the reasons is that the vehicle is aimed at bringing sedan-like handling and comfort to the drive.As is the trend, Honda has emphasized new safety features in the CR-V. Body structures are made stronger to not only increase safety but also allow engineers the ability to give the SUV more responsive suspension. An electronic-stability system aids the driver in maintaining control. Antilock brakes, along with a plethora of airbags including side-curtain airbags, add a tremendous amount of safety. The rigid body structure assists in making the passenger compartment more resistant to intruding noise. This CR-V is much quieter quieter than before. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces a reasonable 166 horsepower. The tradeoff, which these days is much more on people's minds, is the CR-V gets 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The interior is inviting and typical high Honda quality. The seats, regardless of the upholstery, are supportive, allowing me to find a comfortable setting. Knowing the CR-V attracts active lifestyles, there are plenty of bins and cubbyholes for storage. A dual-deck cargo shelf in the rear compartment provides a place for light objects with space underneath. The CR-V continues to rate recommendations from me depending on the wants and needs of the buyer. If you are looking for a true off-road rock-crawler, keep looking. However, if a comfortable and accommodating vehicle that can get you past the mud holes in a rural recreation area is your need, this could be the vehicle for you. It was a pleasure to drive and certainly swallowed up all the gear I needed for a photo shoot out in the desert.
Ron Moorhead, a nationally syndicated automotive columnist, can be reached at [email protected]