This car was a fantastic buy for my family. After 140,000 miles and nothing more than oil changes, brakes and tires it was tragically destroyed in a pretty serious car accident. $15k in damage later and on one was seriously injured. Never had any issues with A/C... We liked this car so much, we found the exact same car and bought it with the insurance money.
Lots of interior room, strong running engine, build quality and reliability.
Gas mileage wasn't great for a 4cyl, but this isn't a car. Seat belts are a little finicky for retraction, but they saved my wife and kids' lives so they worked when it mattered, as did the air bags.
Like other 2003 CRV owners, I bought with expectations of "Honda quality." My air conditioner went out at 56K miles, and to their credit, Honda paid for parts; I paid for labor. At 118K it went out again. I was told it was "too far out of warranty" for them to replace the AC again. I assume keeping a Honda for 200+K means replacing the AC every 55K miles??? The oxygen sensor is also out, so I am a soon-to-be EX-Honda owner. Had planned to buy a Civic next, but not now. Detroit should be a lesson on squandering a good reputation and letting quality slip. I don't know what it costs for Honda to get a new customer, but it cost them an AC replacement to lose a "Honda for life" customer.
Cargo room; split seat.
Better mileage and reliable air conditioning systems.
This is my very first new car. The first two years were bliss because I overlooked little things that are now driving me crazy. And each month a new noise appears. The linkage is awful but my mechanic tightens it up regularly. Brakes failed me on a bridge in Virginia last August. Horrifying but let me tell you how grateful I am to have a standard transmission. All tires have been replaced. Monday the new starter goes in. The road noise which I cheerfully ignored because I was driving a HONDA is now torture. The original battery lasted 3 months. The passenger side door lock does not open automatically any more. Fuses have been replaced. Never again.
I am very disappointed and surprised at the unreliability of the 2003 CRV. I thought Honda's lasted a long time with standard maintenance. I had to replace the tires not long after I got the car. The ones that come with the car are poor and unstable. My seatbealts are difficult to use and don't slide back and forth as they should. The security light stayed on because one of the seatbeats was not working at all. A part had to be ordered. Another one is a nightmare to use. I have had to replace one of the oxygen sensors for $550.00. Now my clutch and air conditioner are going out. That's another $2000 plus. Because of this, I will not purchase another Honda and will now trade this one in.
The seats folding down and the cargo space.
Re-engineer the whole car for better reliability. It doesn't live up to Honda standards.
Between my wife and I we have owned four Hondas, 3 Accords and now 1 2003 CRV EX. We purchased each Honda new and all three Accords were fantastic reliable vehicles. I thought that I was a Honda customer for life. Then we bought a new 2003 CRV. It's now 6 years old with only 49K miles on it. We've replaced 2 sensors ($450), all four brake pads and rotors ($500) and now both front struts + a front end alignment ($600). I can understand all of these wear items around the 100K area, but not at 49K miles. In reading through other reviews, looks like I can expect the AC to go soon too. We'll try Toyota soon. Honda, learn from the quality errors of the big three, or you may be sorry.
Roomy, table, comfortable ride and control and access.
More power - 6 cyl. and improved reliability as addressed by all of the problems we're having on a vehicle that sees very mild use.