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Compact SUVs are usually about two things—hauling stuff and people around and an affordable price. They are the modern day station wagons clogging the parking lots of suburbia with uninspired designs and interiors clearly built to a price. But now there is the 2012 Honda CR-V and it is bringing a lot of heretofore unseen characteristics to a class of vehicle usually painfully devoid of any character. Not only is the 2012 Honda CR-V stylish, economical, and full of easy-to-use high-tech features, but it is also affordable. That is why it will continue to be the hottest selling compact SUV on the market for these ten reasons.
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#1) This is One Good Looking Vehicle
We’d say Honda was bringing “SexyBack” if, in all of history, there had ever been a “sexy” affordable compact SUV. We are sure that Justin Timberlake would even allow the use of his aforementioned hit song “SexyBack” for the ads as he is the only male on the planet legally allowed to wear a fedora. Hey, look it up, Congress passed a law. No matter, great job on the exterior styling Honda.
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#2) The Price Point is Being Held Close to Similar Levels
Estimated to be priced from $21,000 to a little over $30,000, the CR-V was designed to appeal to cost conscious buyers who don’t want to drive something that looks “dorky.” All CR-V models come standard with a rear back-up camera that displays through the center dash screen also used for all i-Mid system functions (Bluetooth, USB/iPod integration and more).
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#3) It’s Fun to Drive and Rides like a Car
Even with a switch over to electric power steering, Honda managed to maintain a level of feeling that rivals any of their excellent units in the Accord or Civic. Turn in is crisp and the suspension offers a truly buttoned down and refined feel. You can even get a few grins during aggressive cornering maneuvers without nearly giving yourself a Dick Cheney-sized coronary.
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#4) Interior Noise Levels are Extremely Low
Both wind and tire noise levels are noticeably lower than with the previous generation and the engine is only noticeable when you rev the sweet sounding VTEC 2.4 liter 4-cylinder out to redline. But if you don’t like that beautiful noise then you just must not like Hondas. Or have a soul. So save your money for a Lexus.
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#5) The 2.4-liter Engine and Five-Speed Automatic Work in Symphonic Harmony
Some may complain that Honda didn’t upgrade their venerable five-speed automatic for a six-speed auto like you find in a Kia Sportage but that model’s transmission is nowhere near as smooth and the RAV4 still makes do with a four-speed. There were changes made, however, such as the addition of low friction technology, a transmission fluid warmer and new gear ratios. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder also gained more power and is now rated at 185 horsepower/163 lb-ft which proved plenty to motivate this compact SUV in all freeway and city street conditions. Together, this powertrain is as tasty as peanut butter and chocolate.
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#6) It’s the Most Fuel Efficient All-Wheel Drive SUV in its Segment
The 2012 Honda CR-V EX-L that we tested boasted best in class fuel economy with ratings of 22 city/30 highway. This is thanks, in large part, to engineering enhancements to the all-wheel drive system which reduced rolling resistance when in motion. Two-wheel drive models return 23 city/31 highway which is about average for the class. All models run on regular gas.
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#7) The Interior Offers the Most Versatile and Usable Cargo Hold In Its Segment
Fold down the rear seats and the 2012 Honda CR-V can hold two mountain bikes standing up, with the rear seats in place it can hold an oversize running stroller, a wheelchair, luggage for a family of five and the total available space with the rear seats up is now 35.7 cubic feet. Fold down the rear seats and that total goes up to a whopping 61.4 cubic feet. Who needs to upgrade to a Murano sized SUV?
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#8) The Cargo Hold Has the Lowest Liftover Height so No Breaking Your Back Loading Heavy Items
Most SUV owners know how little fun it is to load that bulky item from Costco into the back of their ride. Thankfully, the CR-V has the lowest lift-in height in its class at just 23.6 inches. Also, for dog owners, this low entry height makes it very easy for older or arthritic dogs to get into the car. For many SUV owners, this type of car is really “the dog’s car.” It’s a fact, dogs don’t love trucks, they love SUVs.
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#9) The “One Touch” Rear Seat Folding Mechanisms are the Picture of Simplicity
While most automakers are making the engineering and interior design of their new models more and more complicated, Honda is still the master of creating simple ideas that make daily life easier. The most glaring example of this is the excellent second row folding mechanism which folds in a motion that is as perfectly choreographed as the latest Lady Gaga video except without any oddball dresses made just out of bubbles. Just pull a mechanism in the cargo hold and the seats fold flat. Simple as that.
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#10) The Interior is Pure Honda Simplicity, Ease of Use, Comfort and Build Quality
The i-Mid system which controls the Bluetooth system, USB/iPod integration/XM/new Pandora radio interface and the back-up camera is easily controlled by a simply circular knob on the steering wheel. In fact, all controls are logically placed, the gearshift falls easily to hand and the center console between the two front seats is even large enough to hold a medium sized purse. Or any other sorts of junk you feel “must” be with you on each and every adventure you take in your 2012 Honda CR-V.
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