2012 Honda CR-V: Old-School Automatic
September 25, 2012
There's nothing wrong really with the five-speed automatic transmission in our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V. You can pick on it for only having five forward gears instead of six like many rivals, but it shifts smoothly and so far has helped us to a 25 mpg average (which also happens to be the CR-V's EPA combined rating).
But now I've experienced Honda's continuously variable transmission as paired with a new, direct-injected 2.4-liter engine in the 2013 Accord, and it's really good. Not only is it quite tolerable for a CVT, as it's programmed to mimic conventional upshifts when you lift off the gas so that engine rpm drop back in a more "natural" way, it's far more responsive in passing situations on the freeway. And the 2013 Accord is a second quicker to 60 mph than last year's model.
There were several instances over the weekend in which I wished the CR-V could respond more quickly to throttle inputs. Acceleration is adequate in the Honda but no more, and its track numbers (9.4-second 0-60, 16.8-second quarter-mile at 83.0 mph) reflect that.
In the broader context of the CR-V as a sensible small family hauler, the current drivetrain is livable, but I can't help thinking I might prefer it with the new CVT. I would guess I'll eventually get my wish but probably not until the next generation of the Honda CR-V.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 8,405 miles