Along with Toyota's RAV4, Honda created the "cute ute" SUV genre when it introduced the CR-V for the 1997 model year. Currently in its third model cycle, the CR-V starts at $21,245 for a two-wheel-drive LX variant with most all the bells and whistles any driver should need. If your tastes run to having supple leather, the latest navigation hardware and four-wheel drive, the EX-L starts at $28,945. Either way, with Honda's legendary reliability and resale value, your money will definitely be wisely spent.
Written by James Hamel
The standard powerplant for the CR-V is a large displacement 2.4-liter, 166-horsepower four-cylinder engine that provides 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Many tinny and insubstantial economy cars struggle to attain such fuel efficiency rankings. Add in a perfectly geared five-speed automatic transmission and the CR-V manages to attain the perfect balance of performance and frugality.
From the moment you slam the door to every time you crank the engine, the CR-V convinces you that it's every inch a Honda. That means that every aspect of the vehicle, from conception to manufacture, has been engineered to the highest standards. If you are buying the vehicle, you can count on it having good resale too.
While there is a small portion of the population that does enjoy the thrills of weekend off-roading, how often do you really hit the rutted roads up in the mountains? If you are more like the rest of us and really only need a solid full-time four-wheel drive setup for inclement weather and the occasional rough terrain, then Honda's Real-Time four-wheel drive system is all you'll ever need.
Unless you have a family of seven, the CR-V is all anyone needs. With a cargo area featuring 73 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded, there are few chores that the CR-V can't handle. The CR-V was engineered so completely with families in mind that there is a small mirror in the front headliner that can be used by parents to monitor sibling battles in the rear seats.
Even though gas prices have dropped lately, there's always the threat of price fluctuations. Even though gas is around $2 a gallon right now, the difference in cost between regular and premium gas can add up over the life of a vehicle. And with the economy in the state it is right now, most people are planning to keep their vehicles for the long haul.
The Honda CR-V has many rivals in its market class, most noticeably the Toyota RAV4 and the Nissan Rogue. While the Toyota is as storied a nameplate as the CR-V, the Nissan is noticeably a first-generation design. Just sit in it and you will see that it just feels less substantial. The Toyota, while a valid choice, is pricier than the Honda CR-V and has lower reliability rankings. The Honda CR-V is truly all the SUV you will ever need.