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 9, 2013
Whatever grief Honda has taken, and the harvest it now reaps, for letting bean counters strong-arm the engineering corps over the past decade, the company still knows how to package.
April 1, 2013
The seats in our 2012 Honda CR-V are really comfortable. They give great support and the leather isn't bad either. But I think my favorite part about them is the armrest. When I have control over my own folding armrest, I feel like I'm in First Class on a transatlantic flight and there's no one in the seat next to me.
March 27, 2013
Here's a feature I haven't seen anywhere except in a minivan: The sunglasses holder that doubles as an interior rearview mirror. Sure, Honda probably just stole this thing from the Odyssey. But it's every bit as useful for spotting back-seat hijinx here as it was there.
March 11, 2013
By now you know how quickly and efficiently the CR-V's rear seats can be dropped. What you don't know is that the same can be accomplished by pulling this fabric loop which sticks out from both seat bottoms inside each rear door. The tab triggers the same tumble-and-flop scenario that you'll get using the releases inside the hatch.
March 8, 2013
Here's something kinda cool about the 2012 Honda CR-V: An average fuel economy readout not just for Trip A, but also a separate one for Trip B.
I found this particularly handy on my road trip to Mammoth because it meant I could let Trip B keep a running tally of both miles covered and average mpg for the entire trip, while Trip A took care of each fuel fill-up segment.
February 21, 2013
This weekend I noticed there was a long, dark pen mark on our 2012 Honda CR-V's light gray headliner.
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.
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 29, 2013
Honda does small-item storage in the form of small, well-placed bins better than anyone else. Here's a tour starting with the two-bin door pocket.
January 28, 2013
That Honda's CR-V uses a five-speed automatic transmission while its primary rivals, the Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4, use six-speeds isn't ideal. That the five-speed lacks a manual gate, shift paddles and rev-matching abilities is inexcusable.
Here you can see that the only way to lock the transmission in a gear is to pull it down into 2 or 1 or use the D3 button. None of these options is as elegant or as easy as a rev-matched downshift would be using a paddle or a manual gate.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor @ 16,062 miles
January 18, 2013
I drove the CR-V to a friend's house to watch the Niners clean up the Pack. Since he owns a 2011 CR-V, I thought I'd get his impressions of the redesigned model. It wasn't exactly an apple-to-apple comparison. He owns an LX model, strictly a utility wagon, and admitted it was easy to be impressed by our EX-L's leather, nav system and quasi-piano black trim.
But he specifically liked the new CR-V's deep center console with the rolltop lid, even though he appreciates the functionality of his CR-V's flip-up table/console. He noted how the new CR-V cuts away some of its ceiling above the rear seats, allowing for more vertical cargo space. And being somewhat of a Luddite nostalgist himself (we sometimes record music at his house on an old 8-track tape machine), he liked that the new CR-V returns to an analog fuel gauge, needle and all, as opposed to the LCD digital display in his car.
He wasn't as enthused with the exterior design. Although the new CR-V looks a bit bolder, he voiced a complaint similar to that of others: the rear end just looks too long, lumpy, and overhangs its welcome. When asked if he'd consider trading up however, he said he'd be tempted, simply because he's been so pleased with his current CR-V. Thus, Honda's magical emotional connection sauce works its charm again.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 15,500 miles
January 15, 2013
I spent a great deal of time over the holidays in a Honda Pilot and discovered that it perfectly embodies the Honda tradition of vehicle packaging excellence. It's actually much shorter in length than a Mazda CX-9, for instance, but has more useable interior space, along with an abundance of little cubbies, bins and other clever storage solutions.
However, the Pilot drives absolutely nothing like a Honda. It feels more like an Expedition, with monumentally slow steering, roly poly body motions and a center of gravity that feels located a good three feet above the roof.
The CR-V, on the other hand, definitely feels like a Honda. Perhaps not like those hallowed Hondas of old that make certain folks weep at the thought of CRXs and mid-90s Civics with those funky one-armed headrests. But it definitely has that dynamic DNA — responsive steering, a relatively nimble handling feel — while also having an interior that's quite cleverly packaged.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 15,363 miles
January 9, 2013
I got a nice surprise when I grabbed the 2012 Honda CR-V's rear-seat release lever from the cargo area. One pull and the folding rear seat made a big commotion: The seat cushion instantly tilted forward, the headrest dropped and the seatback folded down. Handy.
Okay, in truth you have to pull the left and right levers, since it's a split/folding rear seat, but man, this is easy. It's a true one-touch operation.
On the downside, the CR-V's load floor isn't completely flat. But there's plenty of usable room regardless. Also, putting the rear seats back in place is a two-step operation: First, drop the cushion back to the floor, then raise the seatback and slam it into its upright position.
One other high point of the CR-V's luggage area: The cargo cover sits unusually high, which allowed me to load a mountain bike in the back without having to remove the cover. Easy.
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
November 26, 2012
As best I can tell, this is a new feature on the current-generation CR-V: rear doors that swing open nearly 90 degrees. I only discovered this in an empty driveway while shuffling a car seat in and out of the CR-V. Seems like you only discover these things through physical interface with the car: pushing the door open wider with your foot, thigh or butt until you realize you've either dislodged the hinges or that these doors do, in fact, open 90 degrees.
Cool feature whether you raise kids or ride bikes. At its longest point (just past the handle), the fully-opened door extends almost 38 inches from the body.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor
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 31, 2012
Seems that in the past five, six years, Honda's instrument panels -- particularly the dash gauge cluster -- have gone goofy with the starship bridge motif. Other automakers have also fallen for this techno funk, but all the winged displays, semi-circle gauges and kaleidoscope lighting feel distant from the more classic Honda/Acura interfaces of 10, even 5, years ago.
I can hear a product planner pleading, "But it's what the kids want!" And that's fine, except the kids aren't the ones buying your CR-V, and they started getting bored with your Civics when you put struts up front (2006 Si excepted).
So it's some relief that while driving at night, you can turn off the navotainment screen entirely for a little visual soothing. This is a personal peeve, and I'm staying on it until every automaker in the developed world hears me. I even kinda want a screen defeat feature named after me, like the Monroney sticker, so just bear with me here. I'm on a mission.
The i-MID screen doesn't dim completely, but it's not as bright as the camera makes it seem. And you can kill the graphics except for time and temp. Not ideal, but it'll do.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor
October 11, 2012
I've spent a lot of time in the 2012 Honda CR-V, and although I find its interior functional on a lot of different levels, the i-MID interface seen here at the top of the dash is not one of them. I almost never use it. I just leave it on the radio display. There is a wallpaper function, a trip computer display and a settings menu. But, in order, I'm too lazy to upload a photo, don't like to feel pressured by seeing my average mpg as I drive and never need to adjust those settings.
One potentially useful feature i-MID does offer is the ability to change audio sources using the buttons on the left side of the steering wheel.
September 19, 2012
I passed a first-gen Honda CR-V on the road this morning, and thought it looked much smaller than I remembered.
So I did what I always tell my kid to do. I looked it up:
2012 Honda CR-V AWD
Height: 65.1 in
Length: 178.3 in Wheelbase: 103.1 in
Wheelbase: 103.1 in
Ground clearance: 6.7 in
Curb weight: 3,426 lbs
September 12, 2012
You can't do much with the 2012 Honda CR-V's navigation system when the vehicle is moving, at least not if it involves touching the screen. Mike Magrath already told you that. However, in a moment of mild desperation and annoyance over the weekend, I tried the voice control. And surprisingly, it works great.
Great, as in I almost never I have to repeat myself because the system usually understands me on the first try. All you do is hit the talking head icon button on the steering wheel, say "destination," and wait until it asks you what kind of destination you want to enter (i.e., "address," "intersection," etc.). Then, the nav lady guides you through the entry process, and prompts you enter the city, then the street, then the house/street number. Street names can sound alike, of course, so the Honda's system brings up a list of possibilities and lets you touch the screen (just this one time!) to select which of the names you actually said.
September 12, 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
August 30, 2012
This morning the Honda's CR-V voice command system asked me if I wanted to pair a phone. Weird, I thought, since I hadn't made any overture in that direction, and I'd never heard it make that request before. A few minutes later it asked me something more random about setting new controls.
Finally I realized that traffic was moving so slowly, I was perched very casually in the driver's seat, sitting with my left leg bent too far up. It was barely bumping the voice control button at the bottom of the steering wheel.
My accidental use of the voice commands made me realize the depth of the Honda's system.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 7,009 miles
August 29, 2012
I snapped this photo early in the morning sun as I was waiting for my daughter to meander out to the car. Today was her first day of 7th grade, and she was playing it super cool.
As we approached the circle drive in front of the crowded middle school, she unbuckled her seatbelt a tad bit too early, only to be audibly reprimanded by the Honda CR-V's female voice warning that the passenger's belt had become unhooked. Neither of us had heard that warning before.
"Jeez," said Emma. "I'm not even in the school yet, and people are already telling me what to do!"
Get used to it, kid.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 6,979 miles
August 28, 2012
As you can see, the backup camera in our CR-V is not your average point-and-shoot. It has three available options for viewing the bumper you're about to run into.
Is this overkill?
Seems like it, although I'm sure there are situations where that fisheye view on the left comes in handy. So far, the standard setting in the middle seems to do the trick for me on most occasions.
I will admit that I'm becoming a bit too used to such cameras when it comes to parallel parking. It makes it so easy you barely have to think, and we all know where that eventually gets you.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com
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 16, 2012
When I plug my iPhone into the CR-V to play music or a podcast it successfully plays ... for about 20 seconds. Then it goes quiet. Nothing I do can coax it into playing again.
Then I go into the Audio Source menu and call up Bluetooth Audio since my iPhone is paired for phone use. I then discover that it will successfully play in Bluetooth Audio. That's nice, except I don't want Bluetooth Audio. The sound quality's crap and I can't control anything besides play, pause, next and forward. If I wanted that functionality, I'd use a CD, which wouldn't sound like crap.
Others also noticed this annoying tendency, including Dan Edmunds who dug deeper and discovered that when you plug in your iPhone a little icon pops up on its screen. You press it, a menu pops up and then you tell the device where you want sound to be directed.
Hopefully you only have to do that once, though in other cars, you don't have to do it at all.
James Riswick, Automotive 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 10, 2012
When you look at the 2012 Honda CR-V's nav screen, it's easy to say it's the same as it ever was -- dated and a little slow these days -- but it's not the same. And it's not as good.
In previous iterations of this nav system (all of them until 2012) you could program the navigation and have full functionality of the system while the car was in motion. You can't do that anymore.
Honda was the last Japanese hold out on this issue and now, if you want to actually use the products you paid for, you have to go German. VW, Mercedes, Porsche and BMW all give you control whenever you want it and they've got far higher speed limits, and far faster cars to worry about.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Edmunds.com
August 07, 2012
If you decide you don't need to display a boring, wholly redundant analog clock, the Honda CR-V has a non-essential but nice feature. You can upload your own images via the USB connection and display them in that space instead.
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 26, 2012
My plastic to-go coffee mug has a handle on it. I've mostly given up on the stylish ceramic coffee receptacles without handles, because I end up dropping them in my sink and they break.
So my mug has a handle and Honda designed the front cupholders in the 2012 Honda CR-V to accommodate one beverage with a handle. Nice.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 2,962 miles
July 26, 2012
Ordinarily, when I get into our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V, and click the text message button on the touchscreen, I see this message...
July 24, 2012
On the eve of my wedding, I loaded nine cases of wine in our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V, plus another eight or nine boxes and bins of plates, napkins, glasses and assorted decorations. Everything fit into the CR-V, and I still had a clear view out the back for the 30-mile drive to the church.
The CR-V has a nice, box-shaped cargo bay with minimal intrustion from suspension components, and you get an almost flat load surface when you fold the seats... there's a slight uphill slope (which is perhaps a slight disappointment given that the rear seat-bottom cushions now fold up independently of the seat-backs, eliminating the fore/aft adjustment the rear seat used to have), but the slope didn't stop me from tetrising everything in snugly.
Bottom line, I had a good amount of stuff to haul, and although I was pretty confident it would all fit into the CR-V, it went in a lot more quickly than I'd expected.
July 13, 2012
Here's another in what's sure to be a vast series of posts on our 2012 Honda CR-V's clever storage solutions. Yesterday, I made a fuss about wanting a handbrake and said I'd give up some of the CR-V's center console storage to get one.
Hours later, I was almost ready to take back those short-sighted words when I realized the deep center console box is a nifty solution for transporting wine securely from the grocery store. The rolltop-desk-style sliding lid is particularly convenient as it doesn't get in the way like a flip-top lid would.
Aside, someone asked if we would max out the hauling capacity of the CR-V. No promises, but that may happen next week when I pick up the six cases of wine I ordered, plus some cava-type sparkling wine, plus numerous other party paraphernalia.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 2,535 miles
July 12, 2012
Honda is really good at some things. Small-item storage is one of them. Here, as you can see, is where the creative Honda people intended for me to keep my runnning shoes.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor
July 12, 2012
Here's one reason the CR-V's cargo area absolutely rules. Forgive the Beyonce in the background as this was shot at a gas station.
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