10 years and 130K miles still strong (with caveats)
written on 08-30-2011
Bought this car new and still purrs like a puppy ten years later.
Things to keep an eye out on
 Automatic transmissions, don't forget to change that oil regularly.
 I had to replace the radiator at around 90,000 miles. It developed a crack in the cheap plastic casing in the front right below the fill port.
 Lube that rear differential regularly.
You'll definitely need to change it if you notice that tight turns at low (5 mph) speeds causes a humming from the rear.
 ADJUST VALVE CLEARANCES early and regularly! The cylinder heads on the first generation CRV's are soft aluminum and the valve seats can recede into the head cooking your valves and a very costly repair
I purchased my 1999 Honda CRV in Feb. 2008. It had 98,000 miles on it. Other than the timing belt and regular ware and tear it has been an excellent car. I now have 267,000 miles on it!!!! I recommend honda to anyone who asks..both my kids drive a honda and my dad just bought his first honda a year ago!
Bought this car used two years ago (2012) with about 80k miles on it. It had had the timing belt replaced already, so I felt pretty confident that this car would last a while before any major mechanical failures, and, so far I've been right. Absolutely no problems in the two years I've owned it, just normal maintenance costs, including new tires. I really love how it drives... it's peppy, handles excellently well, and I love driving it in the snow. I sometimes wish it had a bit more power for acceleration, but not often. I typically just drive it at the speed limit and see gas mileage in the low 20s. Overall I've been very happy with the car and don't plan on getting rid of it any time soon!
It was a great SUV. Enjoying going fishing,hunting,camping, and road trips with it. But any crv from year 1996 to 2000 has recall on ignition/electrical problem. My 99 crv die on me a few times when i was driving, everything shut down, hard to steer the wheel, brake padel was hard to press on. Any automatic AWD transmission has problem . AWD transmission cost from $750 to $1200. FWS transmission is about half the price. Most older model 4WD crv being sold on craigslist had transmission problem.
I have a 1999 CR-V EX with 206,000 miles and and its still going strong. As others have said, adjust the valves every 20K - 30K (or sooner since its so simple to do in less than an hour without much knowledge at all), change your fluids as scheduled (Transmission, motor oil, rear diff oil, etc.) and it will last a long, long time. Even the cloth interors on these cars lasts forever without showing wear. The vehicle is amazingly roomy inside.