I will be laying this car to rest soon. Trying to find something I can afford with the same reliability, functionality, and visibility. This car only died twice in traffic, and both were not due to car itself, so to speak. The first was when a defective replacement starter burned up, and the second was when an old radiator hose that ought to have been replaced but wasn't, because no one who worked on the car bothered to let me know about it. burst. Parts wore out long after their expected life. The car has reached the point where the repairs to it's exterior (front exhaust pipe, ABS sensor on one wheel, ball joint, control arm for one ball joint, struts) will cost about $1500 to repair. Add a shattered back window, and it doesn't make sense to fix it anymore. This car has 220,248 miles on it, and the engine still runs beautifully. This car was a basic AWD cargo box on wheels without luxurious amenities, but it has a been a reliable friend. I love the visibility it provides for a short person by it's high position relative to other traffic and large windows.
I bought this vehicle sight unseen after reading carfax's, user reviews, user problems, etc. I had to drive to Chicago to pick it up which was horrible experience after almost getting hit twice due to others speeding. The ABS brake light was on and the salesman at the dealership said it was because the brakes had been changed and the code not reset. Not a problem, right? The car was really clean inside and out - no accidents. My brother drives it home for me while I lead with no problems. The next day when I get up to go to work, the engine light, the brake light, and the ABS brake light are all on. The tailgate handle is seized up. I decide to take it to our local Honda dealership service department. The ABS light is on because the rear wheels need new sensors - $500. The engine light because it needs a new distributor cap. Oil was leaking because it needed a new cam bolt. The red brake light I think because it was below zero. I pulled the parking brake all the way up and put it back down and it went out. When they said it was finished I made arrangements to pick it up after hours and the engine light was flashing still. I called them, got it back in, and 3 cylinders were tight. They also unseized the tailgate handle and got it to latch. The tailgate handle is a $185 repair through them. This summer I believe thanks to u-tube my brother and I can replace this ourselves. Also, the horn is not working and neither is the interior clock. All in all, I put in an additional $1010. I love how the vehicle drives. It has its squeaks and such, but for a 17 yr old Chicago SUV that has moved to a small town - it is a dream. I was surprised about my first gas mileage check of 25 mpg. I thought that was pretty good. Oh, the speakers are great! I purchased the car for $3000 and put a little over $3000 into mostly because of labor. I drove it down to Florida this summer 2017 and I heard some noises when turning and such that I decided to trade it in if I found something. I loved the design of 1998, but I moved up to a 2006 one owner CRV LX with only 72,400 miles on it. So far it has much more power.
This is one of the best built vehicles offered from Honda, the motor and durability of the interior are exceptional. We also own a 2009 CR-V since new, but I can't give it the same level of support... the cloth interior on the 2009 rips and stains easily, but the 1998 interior looks nearly new after using the car as a daily driver for 17 years. The B20 motor is one of the most durable and reliable engines on the market, ask any experienced Honda service rep. We have no rust on the vehicle and its been all over the world as part of a military family.
Around 200,000 miles we had to replace (or had replaced) suspension bushings, the radiator, a few timing belts, brakes and the muffler. However, for about 250,000 miles of service and counting its a great car. Its visibility is exceptional and all controls are extremely obvious, The entire car is durable and while road noise is higher than the newer CRV, we've never had electronic issues like the newer vehicles and the 98 CRV is very comfortable to drive.