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!
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.
Updating:. Now has 217,000 miles on it. Had to have some new rear bushings put on. Transmission still great. No problems. Oh...had to put a new catalytic converter on. Cheap and easy to do.
*** Original review:
Wish they still made them like this.
I am the original owner of my '99 honda crv and now have 191,000 miles on it.
No major problems...Just put a new radiator on it about two years ago, the old one just had a pin-hole leak.
The original battery lasted 9 years and was still okay, but I decided I'd just be safe rather than sorry and replaced it.
Only issue I ever had with it was a bad clunking/thunking when going over even small uneven spots...it was a $12 fix and just needed a new bushing where the sway bar end link went in.
We change the oil on time, and change the transmission fluid earlier than what it calls for.
I've checked valve clearance and they've always been fine.