2012 Honda CR-V: A Compliant Ride Even If It's Not That Quiet
December 07, 2012
Drive a BMW X3 for a couple days and then hop into our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V, and you will notice a difference -- in the available torque for merging and passing, cabin noise levels, styling and, well, pretty much everything. And no wonder, given that it costs over $20K more, the Bimmer crossover had better offer some advantages over the $30,000 Honda.
But for the local highway conditions peculiar to Southern California (which is a peculiar place by anyone's measure), I find the supension calibration and tire package on the 2012 CR-V more agreeable.
Whereas our Sport Activity package-equipped X3 feels busy, and almost frenetic, as its short-sidewalled 245/45R19 (102V) all-season, run-flat Goodyear tires attempt to pound the 405 freeway into submission, the CR-V is relaxed and better at absorbing the grooves and expansion joints on this silly but iconic commuter route. Of course, with the big sidewalls on the Honda's 225/65R17 go-flat Bridgestone Duelers, you'd expect that.
You'd also expect the CR-V to concede every handling and braking test to the X3, and indeed it does -- the Bimmer slaloms at 64.4 mph, the Honda at 60.7. The X3 manages 0.80g on the skidpad versus 0.76g for the CR-V.
Braking is maybe the most interesting comparison, as both end up in the 120s -- which is maybe a little better than you'd expect of a Honda and a little worse than you'd expect of a BMW. CR-V: 129 feet. X3: 123 feet.
Returning to my freeway commentary, though, there's no denying the CR-V is louder than the X3. Even with its quieter tires, there's more road noise coming into the cabin, plus some significant wind noise, too. I still think it's better than previous CR-Vs, but is it good enough for a crossover SUV priced around 30 grand?
Well, I'm driving the long-term CR-V to Phoenix next week, so I'll have ample opportunity to consider that.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 11,581 miles