Versatile Honda CR-V Compact Offers Big Utility in a Small Package
Versatile Honda CR-V Compact Offers Big Utility in a Small Package
The 2011 Honda CR-V is the latest in a line of vehicles from Honda that helped to establish the compact crossover suv segment back when it was initially introduced in the mid-1990s. The Honda CR-V remains one of the frontrunners in its class and it enjoys a popular following amongst young families who have outgrown what a wagon or sedan has to offer them in terms of interior room and day-to-day utility.
2011 marks the final year of production for the current generation of the Honda CR-V, but this small sport-utility vehicle still has a lot to offer buyers. Let's take a look at 10 things you should know about the 2011 Honda CR-V.
Photos courtesy of Honda
The 2011 Honda CR-V has managed to remain relatively compact in a world where entry-level crossovers have ballooned in size over the past several years. This makes the vehicle both easier to park and easier to drive on narrow urban streets flanked on either side by row upon row of stationary vehicles.
Unlike some of its competitors, the Honda CR-V doesn't try to cram three rows of seating into its passenger compartment, which means that drivers won't have to deal with the complaints of adults trapped in uncomfortable accommodations at the very rear of the crossover. The Honda CR-V's interior provides good amounts of space for as many as five occupants, and it also offers 35.7 cubic feet of storage space behind the rear seat. Fold that seat forward and the SUV is capable of swallowing up to 73 cubic feet of cargo, which puts it on par with much larger crossover options.
In keeping with the "small is beautiful" philosophy that guides the Honda CR-V's platform design, the vehicle also maintains a thrifty, four-cylinder engine under the hood. Compared to some of the V-6 engines found in the larger compact crossovers that the CR-V competes against, the 2.4-liter unit's 21-mpg in city driving and 28-mpg on the highway stands out. Honda manages to achieve these fuel economy numbers without too much of a sacrifice in terms of power - the four-cylinder unit generates 180 horsepower and 161 lb-ft of torque, managed by a five-speed automatic transmission.
The 2011 Honda CR-V comes with front-wheel drive by default, but four-wheel drive is available as an option. Honda calls the system Real Time 4WD, and it differs from other crossover four-wheel drive systems through its ability to automatically redistribute engine torque to the rear axle only in situations where a loss of traction has been detected. In regular driving, only the Honda CR-V's front wheels are engaged, which helps the vehicle when it comes to fuel economy - the 4WD edition of the CR-V drops only a single highway mpg when compared to the front-wheel drive model.
The Honda CR-V now comes in the SE trim level, which builds on the content provided by the base LX while still remaining affordable. Adding to the LX's cruise control, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, keyless entry and MP3-capable CD player are exterior dress-up items such as 17-inch alloy wheels and tinted windows. Inside, the Honda CR-V SE gains a multi-function steering wheel that provides buttons that act as an interface for the vehicle's cruise control as well as its upgraded, 160-watt stereo system, which includes an in-dash six-CD changer and six speakers.
The top of the line 2011 Honda CR-V EX-L is intended to offer the final word in comfort for the compact crossover. Highlights to be found on the EX-L include dual-zone automatic climate control and heated leather seats, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The driver's seat also gains ten-way power adjustment with power lumbar support. Other upscale equipment found on the CR-V EX-L includes an upgraded stereo system that includes a subwoofer and the sunroof and cargo management system.
One of the few options found on the Honda CR-V is the Honda Satellite-linked Navigation system, which offers voice-recognition capabilities and which is exclusively available on the EX-L trim. The hard drive-based navigation system also comes with a rearview camera to help add to driver peace of mind while reversing the crossover. The vehicle's simple hard drive interface makes for faster operation than a DVD-based system, and turn-by-turn driving directions allow you to keep your attention on the road while still making it to your destination on time.
The 2011 Honda CR-V provides a healthy list of driver's aids designed to help make the experience behind the wheel as engaging as possible. The CR-V's automatic transmission offers an integrated Grade Logic Control feature that is designed to detect driving conditions and reprogram the unit's shift points on the fly in order to provide for more accurate application of the four-cylinder engine's power. This combines with the vehicle's drive-by-wire system that replaces the traditional mechanical throttle cable with sensors that track the position of the accelerator pedal, rendering much more accurate engine response while simultaneously improving reliability.
Don't let its compact size fool you - the Honda CR-V is as safe as they come. The crossover has been loaded with standard safety features such as dual-stage front airbags, side-airbags for those seated in the first two positions and a side-curtain airbag system that is tied in directly with a rollover detection sensor. Anti-lock brakes and Honda's Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control system are also on hand the help ensure that the CR-V stays pointed in the right direction no matter how hairy conditions might get out on the road. Not only does VSA with Traction Control prevent wheel spin, but it can also brake each individual wheel in order to prevent oversteer or understeer during abrupt maneuvering.
The 2011 Honda CR-V's fuel economy rating isn't the only area where this crossover turns over a green leaf. The CR-V has been certified as a ULEV-2 Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle, which means that it produces very few greenhouse gases during the course of normal driving. The vehicle is able to balance environmental responsibility with real-world performance needs thanks to the i-VTEC variable-valve timing system and dual overhead camshafts that govern its engine management, in addition to the attention that was paid to the CR-V's aerodynamics when sculpting its sleek shape.
The 2011 Honda CR-V's base MSRP of $21,695 not only undercuts that of its nearest rival, the Toyota RAV4, by $230 (MSRP $21,925), but it is less expensive than vehicles like the Mazda CX-7, the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain. Also of interest to potential Honda CR-V buyers is the fact that this model is due for a significant redesign in 2012, which means that those who can put off their purchase until later in the 2011 model year could be able to take advantage of exceptional deals waiting at dealerships looking to clear out inventory just prior to the updated Honda CR-V's introduction.