May 15, 2013
I remember when we were still talking about adding a 2012 Honda CR-V to our long-term test fleet. I was a proponent of it. The CR-V excels at being ordinary, and since most of us lead ordinary lives most of the time, this Honda is nearly impossible to dislike.
Space efficiency is the CR-V's greatest asset. It feels hugely spacious on the inside, and you're sitting in comfy seats with simple controls and useful storage slots all around you. Yet on the outside, it's not huge at all, and so it fits just about anywhere. It's a better fit in most garages than Honda's Accord.
May 7, 2013
Sometimes, a vehicle is so good that you struggle to find faults with it. The 2012 Honda CR-V falls into that category.
I'll admit there are times I wish its little four-cylinder engine had more power, especially at higher speeds, like when you're trying to pass a line of cars on a two-lane road. But then it wouldn't get such respectable fuel mileage.
And sure, the rear-end styling is a bit odd. At least in my opinion.
April 19, 2013
Our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V recently hit 20,000 miles, and we drove another 400 miles before we even noticed. Of course, the CR-V isn't really a milestone kind of car. It just goes about its business and doesn't make a fuss about anything. That's probably why I like it.
March 7, 2013
The 2012 Honda CR-V served as transportation for my recent road trip to Mammoth for a ski weekend.
It was a good choice. We didn't really need the all-wheel drive, as only a smidge of new snow fell while we were there. But it's nice to have that bit of confidence in your back pocket when you're five hours from home.
With just two of us onboard, there was plenty of room for our skis and stuff. The CR-V is a comfortable and relatively quiet place to spend a five hour drive, although road noise was a bit higher than expected.
While the CR-V has always seemed to have adequate enough oomph for getting around the general L.A. slog, out on the two-lane sections of U.S. 395, where power is required to pull out and pass 18-wheelers, the CR-V proved a bit of a dud.
February 19, 2013
There are plenty of minivans and large SUVs filing through the school parking lot, but when it comes to carpooling two middle-schoolers, our 2012 Honda CR-V offers a full range of amenities.
During the six-mile, 20-minute drive, the girls spread out their breakfast fixings, charge their iPhones in the front center console, and loudly read off the name of each song that appears on the CR-V's stereo display.
February 6, 2013
I'm 40 years old, married, have two kids and live in suburbia. I'm guessing that's close to Honda's target demographic for its CR-V. So it's with some interest that I've been observing how the CR-V fits into my life. For the span of 24 hours, I figured I'd jot down what I did with the Honda. In hindsight, it was all pretty mundane and could have really used some Kiefer Sutherland-style cliffhangers. But it did show off the CR-V's suite of strengths.
February 1, 2013
A couple of weeks ago we noted how the 2012 Honda CR-V was the best-selling vehicle in its segment last year. Some of that success is no doubt due to sales momentum. Honda's been doing this a long time, and there's a lot of loyalty associated with the CR-V. But it all had to start somewhere, and the latest CR-V is still excellent at what people expect out of it.
Read through our various posts on our long-term CR-V the past six months and this is what you'll learn: It's roomy inside, but not too bulky to drive. It's comfortable around town and on the highway, but there's still a secure feeling to the handling. It's fuel efficient. It's inexpensive to operate and own. It's got top safety scores. And unlike a small or midsize sedan, you can fit bulky things in the cargo area and get it with all-wheel drive.
Whether you're young and single, starting a family, or have already made it to empty-nest status, the Honda CR-V will likely fit your life quite nicely.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 16,353 miles
January 30, 2013
Leg room. The CR-V has lots of it. I've got a 32- to 34-inch inseam depending on how things are measured. This photo shows how much leg room is available in the CR-V behind the driver's seat when it's set in my preferred driving position.
No one will complain about rear leg room in this SUV.
Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ 16,100 miles
January 23, 2013
As last year's sales numbers come rolling in, the folks at Honda have plenty to smile about. The Honda CR-V nabbed the eighth spot on the list of 2012's best-selling vehicles, sandwiched between the Toyota Corolla and the Ford Escape (the Honda Civic and Honda Accord also made the list). Its strong performance means that the CR-V was the best-selling SUV in the land last year.
Congrats, CR-V. With your comfortable ride quality, impressive features list and highly functional interior, it couldn't have happened to a nicer vehicle.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
January 10, 2013
The 2012 Honda CR-V's throttle response is so perfectly intuitive, so perfectly supple that it surprises me if I haven't driven it in awhile. Yes, that's right, I'm actually more shocked these days when I drive a car that doesn't immediately lurch forward at throttle tip-in rather than one that does. This abrupt throttle thing has gotten out of hand.
But the CR-V's gas pedal is so well-calibrated that it doesn't matter if you take off gently, with a little gusto, or immediately floor it. It's always smooth. Which makes the daily drive less of a hassle.
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 15,343 miles
December 21, 2012
I took a quick 800-mile trip to Arizona in our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V last week. My destination was Scottsdale and while there I would drive the revamped 2013 Toyota RAV4, so it made sense to get some context by spending some time with the RAV4's chief rival, which also happens to be the best-selling SUV in the U.S.
You already know I'm a fan of the CR-V's cabin, which is unspectacular at a glance but somehow manages to check all the boxes anyway. There's a lot of space in here, the visibility is excellent, and I love all the storage compartments that surround the cockpit. For me, the CR-V still has a big advantage over the RAV4 in storage areas, and overall, I prefer its more conservative cabin design.
On the open road, more noise intrudes into the cabin than I'd like. Most of it is road noise from the tires, but there's a fair amount of wind noise that comes in off the large side mirrors... I don't necessarily want to give them up, because I like seeing traffic to my left and right, but the noise is there. Also, there are mountains between here and Scottsdale, and the ordinarily adequate 2.4-liter engine has to work pretty hard on uphill grades. And when the engine is working, the cabin vibe is not so relaxed. Is the RAV4 significantly more serene on the highway? Well, in Arizona it was, but until we drive one here in Southern California, I'll reserve judgment.
December 07, 2012
It's amazing how badly you can screw up the interface for a dual-zone automatic climate control system. The advent of touchscreens-for-all seems to be making it worse.
But Honda doesn't overcomplicate it in the 2012 CR-V. There are two, large well-damped dials for adjusting the temperature and both are in easy reach of the driver and front passenger. Buttons are clearly labeled, and in most lighting conditions, the digital display is easy to read. Plus, the whole setup is compact and easily packaged at the bottom of the center stack.
About the only improvement I could ever see myself wanting is a third dial for fan speed adjustment, but that might mess up the visual symmetry and package-ability of this not-unattractive function-first design. Also, I'm not demanding about cooling or heating (I rarely use Max A/C in cars that have it) and I'll usually just fiddle with the temperature to get the fan intensity I want.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 11,582 miles
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
November 20, 2012
I've never been a huge fan of circular buttons on steering wheels. Seems like too much real estate goes to waste and they're often hard to use.
Honda did a good job with the setup in the CR-V, though, mainly because it works well without looking. The shape of the button allows you to feel your way around it easily and the logic of the controls makes sense. I could do without the other two buttons, but I'm sure with a little more practice I'll get used to their functions and not need to look.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com
October 15, 2012
There's nothing like a desert road trip in the fall, when the heat of summer starts to slack off and the sky gets a little more interesting. I grabbed the keys to our 2012 Honda CR-V and joined 10 of my friends for a few days of hiking and exploring near Tonopah, Nevada and the ET Highway, some 405 miles away from home base.
October 08, 2012
So I'm recommending the 2012 Honda CR-V to people with young families all the time. Along with the Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5, it is my favorite of the new breed of compact utilities. And as with every Honda, the CR-V is a miracle of space-efficient packaging, a perfect container for grown-ups, small kids and all the stuff that comes with that stage in life.
The trouble is, I cannott drive the CR-V to work.
It's partly the route that I drive, as this portion of the San Diego Freeway is famously over-used and worn out. Even after recent resurfacing, the road crests noticeably on each overpass across the surface streets. The CR-V bounds over every crest as if it were some kind of baby buggy of the 1950s. It even kicks at little at the back, which is the classic sign of stiff springs in the rear that don't have as much rebound damping control as you'd like.
Ironically enough, this is the kind of ride behavior that always cursed utility vehicles that were based on pickup trucks (like the original Ranger-based Ford Explorer), which is part of the reason that preferences shifted to more comfortable, controlled crossovers on car platforms (like the new, Flex-based Ford Explorer).
I shouldn't complain, really. The CR-V's freeway ride isn't that bad. Plus, it's not like you can suspend the laws of physics, because when you calibrate springs stiff enough to carry the load of five people and all their stuff, you'll get a package that's not exactly suited to one person. This is why your basic heavy-duty pickup truck with an empty cargo bed seems to spend so much time in the air rather than on the ground as you drive it down the road at a high rate of speed stiff springs for cargo capacity, not enough damping to control compression or (especially) rebound.
But even so, this reminds me that there's something about the way that Honda does its ride tuning that I don't get along with. For me, the only Honda that really suits me is the Acura ILX, which indeed has up-rated (and expensive) dampers as part of its suspension package.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com
September 25, 2012
There's nothing wrong really with the five-speed automatic transmission in our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V. You can pick on it for only having five forward gears instead of six like many rivals, but it shifts smoothly and so far has helped us to a 25 mpg average (which also happens to be the CR-V's EPA combined rating).
But now I've experienced Honda's continuously variable transmission as paired with a new, direct-injected 2.4-liter engine in the 2013 Accord, and it's really good. Not only is it quite tolerable for a CVT, as it's programmed to mimic conventional upshifts when you lift off the gas so that engine rpm drop back in a more "natural" way, it's far more responsive in passing situations on the freeway. And the 2013 Accord is a second quicker to 60 mph than last year's model.
There were several instances over the weekend in which I wished the CR-V could respond more quickly to throttle inputs. Acceleration is adequate in the Honda but no more, and its track numbers (9.4-second 0-60, 16.8-second quarter-mile at 83.0 mph) reflect that.
In the broader context of the CR-V as a sensible small family hauler, the current drivetrain is livable, but I can't help thinking I might prefer it with the new CVT. I would guess I'll eventually get my wish but probably not until the next generation of the Honda CR-V.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 8,405 miles
September 25, 2012
Our longterm 2012 Honda CR-V's five-speed automatic is a relic of a bygone era. It could use an additional cog if for no other reason than to not drop so far off the power following an upshift. Also, it's got a pushbutton lockout for 4th and 5th and old-school D2 and D1 selections on the console selector. I won't bother to bring up the non-revmatched downshifts when you use it, either (oops, too late). And no manual mode? What is it, 1991?
Niggles aside, it's not a bad gearbox. Just behind the times, that's all.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
September 10, 2012
Road noise has been an annoyance in the Honda CR-V since, well, the very beginning. Then again, no one buys (or should buy) a budget compact crossover SUV expecting total serenity, and if someone asked me to recommend one with a quiet ride, I'd suggest shopping for a normal hatchback or sedan instead.
That said, our fourth-generation CR-V seems quieter overall to me than its predecessor (2007-'11). We've logged official decibel numbers for both generations, so I looked them up to gauge the veracity of my ears.
2012 Honda CR-V
Sound level @ idle (dB): 39.2
@ Full throttle (dB): 72.3
@ 70 mph cruise (dB): 66.4
2008 Honda CR-V
Sound level @ idle (dB): 45.8
@ Full throttle (dB): 72.8
@ 70 mph cruise (dB): 67.5
So there would seem to be a difference, at least a slight one. Alas, I have to offer a caveat, because the 2008 model was tested at a different location (read: not at our default test track), so its 70-mph reading (at least) is subject to the different surface conditions there. My guess is that the 2008 CR-V's decibel level would have been a touch higher at our home track. (Of course, out in the real world, varying surface conditions are always a factor if you want to talk about road noise, and nowhere are they more variable than in a state like California.)
Both the 2012 and 2008 CR-V had original equipment, all-season Bridgestone Dueler tires, size 225/65R17 102T, by the way, but our 2012 has a newer version of that tire and no doubt a slightly different compound.
And just for kicks...
2013 Ford Escape (2.0T)
Sound level @ idle (dB): 44.9
@ Full throttle (dB): 72.7
@ 70 mph cruise (dB): 68.6
2012 Mazda CX-5
Sound level @ idle (dB): 43.5
@ Full throttle (dB): 74.2
@ 70 mph cruise (dB): 67.0
2010 GMC Terrain (2.4) (our long-termer)
Sound level @ idle (dB): 43.2
@ Full throttle (dB): 72.3
@ 70 mph cruise (dB): 69.7
2010 Hyundai Tucson
Sound level @ idle (dB): 40.4
@ Full throttle (dB): 73.1
@ 70 mph cruise (dB): 68.4
2011 Kia Sportage (2.4)
Sound level @ idle (dB): 42.8
@ Full throttle (dB): 73.5
@ 70 mph cruise (dB): 70.6
These numbers all came from our usual test track and are directly comparable to the 2012 Honda CR-V's numbers.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 7,364 miles
September 10, 2012
I drove our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V for two weeks before I got married, and so, with fondness, I selected it as my weekend car. I am a fan of this compact crossover, and true to its reputation, not because it does anything particularly well.
Yet, there's something about the way everything works together in this Honda that I just like. Throttle response is respectable. The automatic transmission shifts smoothly and feels kind of sophisticated for this class despite having only five forward gears. The ride quality is good, better than any previous CR-V, and it's composed over rough patches of freeway. And while this thing doesn't feel sharp and sporty through corners, it feels steady, capable, easygoing.
I also like sitting in the CR-V. The driving position is good for me, an adult of average height and weight, and there's a sense of space you don't get in other crossovers in this class.
I do have one complaint after my weekend in the Honda CR-V, though.
These reflector-type halogen headlights are dim. And they are as good as it gets, even on this $30,825 EX-L model. HIDs, or at least projector-beam headlights, need to happen.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 7,361 miles
August 27, 2012
The CR-V has a nifty center console, but owners of the previous-generation model know that this wasn't always the case. In last year's CR-V, the space currently occupied by the center console was an open area that could be used to stow large bags and whatnot.
I like the center console from an aesthetic standpoint, since it makes the cabin look more like an SUV's and less like a ladies' purse repository. And the console's bin is plenty big enough to store everything from gym bags to wine bottles, so no utility is lost. The only drawback is that the console makes the cockpit look and feel a bit less airy and spacious than that of the outgoing model.
Any owners of the previous-generation CR-V out there? Are you sad to see that open space go?
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
August 24, 2012
The green 'Econ' button in our longterm 2012 Honda CR-V is for people who probably don't need it in the first place. Pressing it simply remaps the throttle calibration, deadening its response, and reduces the occurrence of the air conditioning compressor kicking on and allows the cruise control greater speed variation.
Engaging 'econ' won't provide a free lunch to a leadfoot since if you want to accelerate at a given rate you'll simply press the pedal further to achieve it. Plus, wide-open throttle is still wide-open throttle. The aircon thing still applies, sure, but it is possible its fuel economy upside would be lost in the noise.
Those who are truly interested in extracting the most fuel economy out of their car would likely already be driving in a fuel-efficient manner -- gentle acceleration, using engine braking to slow, anticipate traffic signals, turning off the a/c, etc. -- so pressing Econ won't do anything they're not already doing.
It may even be the case that people think that pressing Econ is a license to treat the throttle even more aggressively than they would have otherwise. Therefore I declare the green Econ button little more than show, especially when you consider the showy 'Econ' stickers on the rear-most side windows...
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
August 14, 2012
I know I'm not the first to notice, but I have to give more props to Honda for having this hugely usable center cubby in the CR-V. As my co-workers will attest, my knapsack-style gym bag is like another appendage. In addition to my gym clothes this thing is packed with Clif Bars, water, iPod with armband holder, and shower stuff. Yet this jam-packed jock bag easily drops into the deep bin between the seats. And as Dan E. has noted, there's no flip-open lid to get in the way as the CR-V features a disappearing roll-top cover. I'm sure ladies with oversize handbags (like my wife) would appreciate this convenient feature as well.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 6,105 miles
August 07, 2012
The Oregon coast is a great place to visit. Every roadside pullout is stunning and it almost seems as if there's a law requiring picturesque towns to be placed 25 miles apart, with a handful of outlying homes sprinkled between each. But don't be in a hurry because the locals most certainly are not.
Coast highway 101, though smooth-textured and generally well maintained, tends toward sinuous where it hugs the seaside cliffs and is often contorted due to incessant land movement downslope toward the sea. Oftentimes it's a challenging road that tells a lot about the worth of a given suspension calibration on roads that are less than perfect. Despite this fact it gets little attention from automaker suspension engineers because it's so remote. Pity.
Above is the Battle Rock parking lot in Port Orford.
August 01, 2012
You didn't think all of my comments on the 2012 Honda CR-V would be negative, did you? Yesterday's gripes aside, the CR-V does do a lot of things right.
Cargo management is its forte. The CR-V swallows more stuff than it's outside appearance would suggest -- 37.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats -- and that volume presents a very usable shape because a typical carry-on roller bag fits under the cargo cover standing up. This made it ridiculously easy to fit all four of our bags with plenty of room to spare for laptop bags, a camera bag, makeup totes and whatnot.
Should you need more space (which we didn't,) the handle visible to the left is the release for the rear seatback.
July 31, 2012
Our trip up highway 101 and Interstate 5 is going smoothly, but the 2012 Honda CR-V hasn't yet put me in a mood to run out and buy one. And yes, my wife and I are in the market; our trusty minivan met an untimely end a couple of weeks ago. We're actively shopping but I don't think we'll be buying one of these even though it's in our price range and has the basic functionality my wife needs.
Exhibit A: the sun visor won't pull back, leaving a 6-inch area unprotected. As Scott Oldham once said to our crack photo squad, "It's the sun. You can't move the sun." The same is true of the trajectory of Interstate 5 north in central Oregon. So I sat there squinting for 90 minutes as the sun sank lower and lower off to our port side. This state of affairs would have persisted for another hour, too, if we hadn't exited the freeway and turned west.
July 25, 2012
The previous two generations of the Honda CR-V have always stood out for their low rear liftover height, and I saw the practical application of this in the Bevmo parking lot last week.
I was picking up three cases of sparkling wine, so I'd backed the vehicle into the nearest available parking spot to the door. It couldn't have been any easier to get the cava into the CR-V. Case is included for scale.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 2,961 miles
July 24, 2012
One thing that changed on the 2012 Honda CR-V is the liftgate. The one on the 2007-'11 model was lightweight and easy to close no matter what your level of upper-body strength. But the liftgate on our 2012 model is notably heavier and to get it shut securely, I find myself getting my legs into it a lot more often -- kind of like this...
July 24, 2012
The driver's sideview mirror on the Honda CR-V is making me crazy. The line on the left-third of the mirror distorts my view much the same way my new bifocal glasses does.
If I wore the glasses or drove the CR-V everyday, perhaps I'd get used to it.
But for now, I'm simply annoyed.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor
July 23, 2012
Of course, the answer is, no, you haven't seen our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V for the last week, because I've been on vacation with it. It wasn't anything like a heroic road trip, rather the week of insanity leading up to my wedding. Honestly, I've lost count of how many times we went to Target.
By the end of it, though, I'd racked up 600 miles of driving, all in Southern California. I hauled everything from family members to cases of wine to my own wedding dress, so yeah, mundane stuff. But I can't think many other vehicles I'd rather use for constant errand-running.
I've had trouble warming up to small crossover SUVs in the past, so either I'm getting old and soft, or this is a really good one. The ride quality is comfortable -- significantly more so than the previous two CR-Vs -- and the driver seat is well shaped, supportive and suitable for extended waits in unexpected traffic. The steering is darn good, too, especially for an electric setup. It's stable and unobtrusive on the highway and nice and precise around town.
The only thing I don't like about it is the same thing I didn't love about the previous CR-V...
...the drivetrain. The engine is weak in the grunt department (though at least it's smooth), and the transmission is slow to come up with downshifts (but again, smooth when it does shift). The thing is, the rest of the package is so strong, it's hard to give it much grief for this. More stories of the mundane coming soon!
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 2,961 miles
July 12, 2012
I'm not opposed to foot-operated parking brakes. But I don't like having them in compact vehicles like our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V.
The reason is that the footwell is small to begin with -- it's not very wide nor very deep. Adding a foot-operated parking brake doesn't help this situation. And with my long legs and relatively large feet, it's easy to trip on it getting into the CR-V if the parking brakes happens to be off (and therefore in the "up" position).
After I'm seated in the vehicle, the parking brake is still kind of a hazard. When the brake is still on, it's pretty much on exactly the same plane as the brake pedal (and in the way of the dead pedal), so the first thing I do when I get seated is to take the parking brake off... I'd rather just keep my foot on the main brake pedal (if necessary) while doing stuff like entering an address in the nav system. Yet, even in the brake's off position, I'll still sometimes catch my foot on it while getting settled to drive.
Parking brake off:
July 11, 2012
The only way to tell the 2012 Honda CR-V is different is to close your eyes.
It's quieter, calmer and more refined. The CR-V used to hate big tires, but now it rides across broken pavement with impressive composure on these 225/65R17 Bridgestone Dueler HP Sport AS tires. There's still tire harshness in the Honda way, but the suspension no longer seems to crash across seams and holes.
The CR-V has come a long way in price (sadly), but it also seems to have come a long way in refinement.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 2,490 miles