Used 1999 Honda CR-V Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1999

The CR-V gains 20 horsepower, bringing the total output to 146. Automatic transmission models have a revised column shifter with an overdrive switch. The power window buttons are illuminated, the spare tire cover has been upgraded and the front passenger seat is equipped with an armrest.

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 rugged and capable Isuzu Rodeo. To Honda aficionados, it is not a real Honda. (Consider 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 a fresh 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 familiar four-speed automatic transmission, which now comes with an overdrive on/off switch. The 2.0-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder engine makes 146 horsepower and 133 foot-pounds of torque, up 20 horsepower from last year, thanks to intake and exhaust tuning along with an increased compression ratio.

The CR-V's Real Time four-wheel-drive system is a derivative of the unit that Honda initially offered on their Civic wagon. All 4WD models come with a five-speed manual transmission, while the four-speed automatic is optional. A front-wheel-drive model is offered, but it comes only with the automatic transmission. The result of using all of these car components is not surprising: the CR-V looks and feels like a car.

The CR-V's interior is instantly recognizable to anyone who has spent 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 uninspired, interior materials. Fit and finish is equal to the highly acclaimed Accord. Cargo capacity is an impressive 67.2 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded. 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. For the first time this year, the front passenger also benefits from a left-side armrest, an item that was missing on previous models. Rear passengers will also enjoy cupholders, which are now mounted in the door panels.

Available in either LX or EX trim levels, the CR-V is surprisingly well-equipped even at the base LX trim level. Air conditioning with a filtration system is standard, as are power windows, power door locks, rear window wiper and defogger, AM/FM stereo with cassette, cruise control and a folding picnic table that doubles as a cargo area cover. Antilock brakes are available only on the EX model, which also comes with a CD player 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, this is 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.