A leader in its segment, the Honda CR-V set the standard among compact crossover utility vehicle. When it came time to redesign Honda’s best selling SUV, the company turned to CR-V owners for guidance. They said they wanted more value, fuel economy, and technology so Honda responded with the all-new 2012 model.
At the launch in San Diego, California, Honda executives spoke about targeting three areas for improvement, efficiency, functionality, and driver confidence. In doing so, the CR-V, the top-seller in its class from 2007–2010, will be class leading in several categories.
Improved efficiency focuses on fuel economy and to do this, Honda equips the CR-V with an enhanced 2.4-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine that now achieves 185 horsepower and 163 lbs–ft. of torque. It’s matched to five-speed automatic transmission.
A lack of power is noticeable but the CR-V makes up for it with a best-in-class EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 23/31 mpg.
Other fuel saving measures include replacing hydraulic power steering with electronic steering, using rolling resistance tires and best-in-class aerodynamics.
The CR-V also invites drivers to drive more fuel efficiently via two standard features, Eco Assist and the ECON mode. All CR-Vs include the Eco Assist feature with an intuitive color visual cue. The backlit instrument cluster or intelligent-Multi-Information Display (i-MID) fades from green to blue depending on the driver’s energy saving, or wasting, driving.
Drivers can also opt to push the green ECON button located to the left of the steering wheel that modifies several operating characteristics, e.g. climate control fan speeds, to enhance fuel efficiency. Utilizing this and Eco Assist, however, will magnify the CR-V's lack of pep.
Functionality betterments includes a standard 60/40 split, fold down rear seat that deploys with levers near the tailgate or pull straps behind the seats. Other additions include standard Bluetooth phone interface, a best-in-class cargo room of 61.4 cubic feet with the rear down, and an enlarged rear window for better visibility.
The CR-V can also claim one of the quietest rides of any in its segment, upgrading the driving experience as whole. This was confirmed by opportunities to drive the CR-V’s main competitors at the launch, e.g. Kia Sorento, Toyota Rav4, and Ford Escape.
The fourth generation offers an all-new Real Time All-Wheel Drive system, a change possibly driven by the fact that 65 percent of CR-Vs are purchased with the technology, according to executives at the launch.
Termed the “super CR-V,” the new model does include impressive standard features for added driver confidence like a wide-view rear back-up camera, a must for any SUV and a feature usually paired with a navigation system, making it cost-prohibitive.
The driver’s mirror offers an expanded view to give drivers seven more degrees of viewing into the blind spot on the left. Federal guidelines did not allow Honda to do the same for the passenger side mirror.
New convenience features include a Pandora Internet Radio interface and an SMS text messaging function that can read received texts from cell phones aloud over the audio system.
Air conditioning, cruise control, and AM/FM/CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack and XM Radio ready, are also standard.
Available in three trim levels, LX, EX, an EX-L, pricing for the 2012 CR-V starts at $23,105.