Used 2002 Honda CR-V Review

Edmunds expert review

The longtime benchmark of the "soft roader" mini-SUV class, the CR-V is even better for 2002. Drive it. You'll like it.

What's new for 2002

Redesigned for 2002, Honda's CR-V boasts a number of improvements and refinements. Major changes include more power, more interior room and increased passenger protection.

Vehicle overview

Consumers made the first-generation CR-V ('97-'01) one of the most popular and best-selling compact SUVs in the United States. Not wanting to lose those happy customers to newer competition in the mini-SUV market, Honda has improved the all-new CR-V in nearly every fashion. This includes more power, increased interior volume, the latest safety technology, elevated levels of comfort, and more utility and functionality without adding significant exterior size or compromise to the overall package.

The main fault of the previous CR-V was its mediocre power output. To that end, the CR-V has a new 16-valve 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood. It produces 160 hp and 162 pound-feet of torque. The transmissions have also been updated. The four-speed automatic is an all-new design. In addition to improved smoothness and fuel efficiency, it features Grade Logic Control. Honda says this feature allows the transmission to downshift automatically and hold a lower gear when the CR-V is climbing a steep grade. For the five-speed manual, additional synchronizers and shorter throws make shifting easier and sportier.

On-road comfort should continue to be a CR-V strength. The new CR-V is based on Honda's Global Compact Platform, the same one used for the Civic and RSX. It offers 50 percent more torsional rigidity and 30 percent improved bending rigidity compared to the '01 model, says Honda. This translates to better crash safety and ride quality. The new platform also produces less noise, vibration and harshness.

The improved platform also allows for a larger interior without major increases in overall vehicle length. This translates to plenty of room for both people and cargo. The CR-V offers headroom, legroom and shoulder room for the driver and front passenger that is about equal to or better than the closest competitors'. The rear seat is separated near the middle, and each of the two sections will independently slide forward and backward for a total range of 6.7 inches, granting excellent legroom. Like the previous CR-V, the seatbacks can also recline independently.

For 2002, the automatic transmission will be available on all three trim levels: two-wheel-drive LX, four-wheel-drive LX and four-wheel-drive EX. The manual transmission is offered only on four-wheel-drive vehicles. Both LX and EX come with a high level of standard equipment, such as air conditioning, power windows and locks, a one-touch up/down driver window, a CD player, rear-seat heater ducts and two 12-volt accessory outlets. In addition to this, the more upscale EX receives an upgraded audio system with a CD changer, keyless remote, a power moonroof and antilock brakes.

Other safety features for the CR-V include dual pre-tensioners for the front seatbelts, headrests and three-point seatbelts for all five seating positions, dual-stage front airbags, optional side airbags (standard on EX) and whiplash-reducing front seats. In federal government crash testing, the CR-V has excelled, earning five stars (the best score possible) for both frontal and side impact tests. IIHS bumper-bash tests, however, have shown that the CR-V is susceptible to high repair costs for even minor collisions.

Like the previous model, the 2002 CR-V is not meant to compete against hard-core recreational vehicles like the Jeep Liberty or Toyota 4Runner. Instead, it is meant for the person who wants the look and feel 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.

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.