Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2003 Honda CR-V Overview
Apparently You Can Put a Price on Perfection
After receiving a major redo in 2002, the 2003 CR-V arrives pretty much unchanged, save for some new interior features and colors. With a whole host of new competitors lining the mini SUV trail, the CR-V will find the going tougher than ever. But if last year's sales figures are any indicator of how the CR-V will fare this year, Honda's little triumph of automotive engineering has nothing to fear.
You'll appreciate the way the CR-V gives you the handling characteristics of a car yet retains the high seating position and excellent visibility of a large SUV. The steering wheel has a nice heavy feel to it and requires very little input to change lanes. After only a short test drive, you'll probably conclude that the CR-V is also pretty well balanced for such a tall vehicle, managing most curves without the histrionics that accompany so many of its truck-based competitors. We think you'll like what Honda has done inside the CR-V as well; the front seats have a sturdy back with plenty of lumbar support already built in and the seat bottoms are nice and wide to accommodate all size drivers.
The sole engine for the CR-V remains Honda's 2.4-liter four-cylinder. This engine produces a healthy 160 horsepower. For 2003, Honda has managed to increase the engine's low-end torque, which helps the CR-V move faster from a standing stop and also gives it the extra oomph needed to climb steep grades and perform perilous passing maneuvers. What you'll really come to admire about the CR-V's engine is its velvety smooth nature. At idle, you can barely tell the engine is turned on and at highway speeds, the sound emitted from beneath the hood is akin to a well-oiled machine. The increase in power is all the more amazing when you consider that Honda achieved their goal without sacrificing fuel economy or emission standards.
The CR-V is available in LX, LX 4WD and EX 4WD. Honda's 4WD system works simply, without any need for input from the driver. Under normal driving conditions the CR-V operates as a front-wheel-drive car, but if the front tires begin to slip, the system routes power to the rear wheels, temporarily engaging the 4WD. This system is intended to help the CR-V on wet roads and when encountering snow. It is important to point out that because it lacks low-range gearing and a transfer case, the CR-V is not suitable for off-road adventures. Seeing as surveys have shown the vast majority of four-wheel-drive vehicles purchased in this country never go off roading anyway, we think most people will find the CR-V's setup works just fine for their daily needs.
What the CR-V lacks in off-road ability, it more than makes up for in cargo and passenger space. Compared to the last generation CR-V, the new model is longer by an inch, gains 2 -inches of rear legroom and 1-inch of shoulder room. When the CR-V's patented flip and tumble rear seat is folded up, you can stow two mountain bikes, side by side, in an upright position. The total volume of the CR-V's cargo hold is 72 cubic feet. Even with the rear seat in place, there is still a usable amount of storage space. Accessing the cargo area of the CR-V is made easy by the large rear door that swings open instead of flipping up; the attached rear window can either remain attached to the door or with the door shut, flip up to allow easy access. A collapsible picnic table that hides just beneath the rear cargo mat is one of the CR-V's more clever features.
All CR-V's feature power windows with auto down and up driver's window, dual power mirrors, rear window wiper and washer, air conditioning, power door locks, an engine immobilizer and anti-theft system, cruise control, sunglass holder and an AM/FM/cassette/CD player. The EX trim adds standard Real Time 4WD, a 6-disc CD changer, a power moonroof and rear privacy glass.
Honda is quite proud to point out the CR-V's five-star government crash test rating as well as the high marks earned at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To achieve these results, Honda equips every CR-V with dual front airbags and seat belts with pretensioners and force limiters. In addition, front side-impact airbags are standard on the EX model and optional on the LX.