The Honda CR-V has long been one of our favorite compact crossover SUVs, and an update for 2012 makes it more appealing than ever. Our only gripes include a wish for a 6-speed automatic and better road noise suppression.
PerformanceWith modest gains in output and efficiency for 2012, the CR-V continues on with a lone 4-cylinder engine and 5-speed automatic transmission. It's not particularly quick, but handling is solid and it delivers mpg near the top of its class.
Modestly powered, expect 9-10 seconds to reach 60 mph with the all-wheel-drive model. With a simple PRNDL shifter, there are no options (paddles or otherwise) for manual-shifting.
Our testing of many CR-Vs over the years often has revealed merely adequate brakes. The tradition continues.
Light and precise steering matches the demeanor of the CR-V. It has a good sense of straight ahead, too.
Offers slightly more athleticism than some compact SUVs, and it doesn't go all soggy with a full load. Keeps its poise on dirt roads, as well.
The 5-speed automatic holds the CR-V back more than anything else. It makes the 4-banger work that much harder, and gear hunting can occur on uphill grades, especially when loaded.
Rated at just 1,500 pounds, towing is not the CR-V's strong suit.
Available all-wheel drive is intended for light off-road duty and weather-fouled roads. For that it works well, and the unpainted lower body surfaces hide scuffs and scratches.
ComfortAlthough it doesn't pamper per se, the CR-V is a comfortable vehicle for four, a little tight for five. Some might complain of road noise on long highway trips.
Overall, good seat comfort and adjustability: ample headroom, shoulder room is slightly tight, but legroom is especially generous for the rear seats.
The CR-V is for those who prefer control and poise over outright softness. Mostly the ride is well-mannered and composed, but certain choppy-road surfaces can telegraph through.
The ongoing complaint that the CR-V was not quiet has been improved with this latest redesign. But a bit too much tire noise still finds its way into the cabin.
InteriorA redesigned interior did not sacrifice the CR-V's historically good design, ample space, or comfort to add frivolous function. It retains sound ergonomics but is now available with, among other new features, Bluetooth and rear-seat DVD.
If there's one thing the CR-V EX nailed, it's ergonomics: deep center console with roll-top lid, dual-zone climate control, rear-seat release lever from the cargo area, and so on.
Getting in and out of the CR-V is easy with large front doors, reasonably low seat height, and rear doors that swing open nearly 90 degrees.
The CR-V has always been known for an open/airy cabin. While it lost its "open floor plan" in the redesign, it still offers one of the roomiest cabins for a compact SUV.
With its available rearview camera, parking chores are made easier and the D-pillar blind spots mitigated. No parking sensors or blind-spot monitor available.
There are larger cargo capacities in its class, but not many and the CR-V's 37 cu-ft nominal and 71 cu-ft max is at the top of the range. We managed to transport an 8-foot table.
ValueThe CR-V is a good value. Build quality, price, features are strong. MPG is among is near the top of its class, and we've been able to match the window sticker estimates in the real world. Too bad the warranty is only so-so.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Tight seams, even gaps, and not a single interior trim piece out of place. The quality of the CR-V is one of its strong points and for the money, hard to beat.
Features have been steadily added to the CR-V's portfolio, but connectivity isn't leading-edge and our Bluetooth connection was sometimes finicky.
priced between $22K-$27K, the CR-V is moving farther away from the entry-level status it once enjoyed. Still, what you get works, and retained value is strong.
Rated by the EPA at 26 mpg combined (25 for the AWD), the CR-V performs well in its class. But a 6-speed automatic might have done better.
With just a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, there are many other choices with better coverage.
Edmunds actually owned a 2012 CR-V EX-L Navi for a year. Other than some quibbles with Bluetooth and nav operations, we loved it and continue to recommend it without hesitation.
Fun To DriveThe CR-V was once and standout "run-about" in this burgeoning compact SUV class, but now that there are so many from which to choose, the fun-to-drive experience has been applied more broadly throughout the segment.
Driving the CR-V is far from a taxing or frustrating experience. Once in a while, we wish for more power or a smarter transmission with more gears, but it always gets the job done.
Overall it's perky and pleasant and larger on the inside than you might imagine. It's sort of the perfect urban compact SUV that can visit the ski slopes if it needs to.