Used 1997 Honda CR-V SUV Review




what's new

Priced competitively with mini-utes, the new CR-V offers more passenger room and cargo capacity than its peers. The CR-V is available with antilock brakes.

vehicle overview

For years, Honda has been selling a sport-utility vehicle that many consider a fraud. Forget that the Honda Passport is based on the very rugged and capable Isuzu Rodeo, to Honda aficionados it is not a real Honda. (Think of how the Porsche 914 fares in the eyes of diehard Porsche fanatics.) Thus, to many people, the CR-V is the first Honda sport-utility vehicle.

Built on the Civic platform, the CR-V successfully integrates familiar Honda components into an all-new design. Honda's famous four-wheel double-wishbone suspension makes an appearance on the CR-V, the first ever application of four-wheel double-wishbone technology on a sport-ute, as does the very familiar four-speed automatic transmission. The 2.0-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder engine makes 126-horsepower and 133 ft-lbs. of torque. The CR-V's real time four-wheel drive system is a derivative of the unit that Honda initially offered on their Civic wagon. The result of using all of these car components is that the CR-V looks and feels rather like, um, a car.

The CR-V's interior is instantly recognizable to anyone who has spent any time in Honda's passenger cars. Functionality takes precedence over style in the CR-V's cabin, and the result is easy-to-read gauges, well-placed controls, and high-quality, if somewhat boring, interior materials. Fit and finish is equal to the highly-acclaimed Accord. The CR-V offers comfortable chairs for its occupants, each of which has excellent visibility and the ability to recline when the trip grows long. The CR-V's cargo capacity is an outstanding 67.2 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded.

Available in only one trim-level, the CR-V is surprisingly well-equipped. Air conditioning with a micron filtration system is standard, as are power windows, power door locks, rear window wiper and defogger, AM/FM stereo, and a folding picnic table that doubles as a cargo area cover. Options include antilock brakes and alloy wheels.

The CR-V is not meant to replace hard-core recreational vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler or Toyota 4Runner. Instead, it is meant for the person who wants the functionality of a sport utility without having to pay an exorbitant sticker price and huge gas bills. The CR-V will get people to work and back in all but the worst weather, and to their favorite picnic area, assuming it's not on the Rubicon Trail. Best of all, it's a sport-utility vehicle that Honda-lovers can finally call their own.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.