Honda's CR-V Is A Solid, But Pricey, Small SUV
2013 Honda CR-V Review:
Every once in a while I get to test a vehicle twice in a single year. This week I had the 2013 Honda CR-V AWD EX-L with navigation, just one model year newer than the CR-V tested last spring. The CR-V remains a solid compact sport utility vehicle with more horsepower than the previous generation and a more rounded look.
The CR-V remains a solid compact sport utility vehicle with more horsepower than the previous generation and a more rounded look.
When restyled for 2012, the CR-V shrunk a bit in length and height but added 1.5 cubic feet of cargo space. In the past six months, the SUV also has gained $420 in price.This EX-L with navigation is the top of the line. A base LX with two-wheel drive starts at $22,695, which is $400 more than just six months ago. The destination charge grows $20 to $830 for a vehicle coming from Ohio. A base LX with four-wheel drive starts at $23,945.
This EX-L starts at $30,195, and with its delivery fee hits $31,025. It doesn’t feel that special to drive. But the CR-V is still a quiet, small SUV that holds four adults comfortably along with lots of luggage.
Honda’s 2.4-liter engine provides 185 horsepower, which is pretty good, except that Honda sticks with its old five-speed automatic transmission that does not shift very smoothly.
There’s an ECO button on the dash’s left side that will speed your shifts to keep your engine’s revs down and save a bit of fuel. It did not hamper acceleration, but you notice when it is on. Green lights frame the speedometer and light up when you are accelerating in an energy-conscious manner. That worked well and is very subtle.
Last time I managed 24.6 mpg in about 60% highway driving. This time I got 23.8 mpg in an even mix of highway and city driving, which was exactly what the trip computer indicated. It is rare that a trip computer is dead on. The EPA rates this at 22 mpg city and 30 highway.
Ride was the only thing that struck me as much different. It seemed bumpier, although last time I called the Honda’s ride a little choppy at times. Highway and suburban driving is well controlled and comfortable, which you might expect as the CR-V rides on a 103.1-inch wheelbase and features 17-inch tires.
The steering remains moderately light with a bit of wheel play. Handling is OK, with a little lean in tight turns. The standard all-wheel drive will help when the weather gets messy. Traction and stability control are standard along with four-wheel discs brakes.
CR-V also comes with hill descent and hill start, features that help the small SUV creep down a steep incline or start and gain traction easily on a hill. You also could use the Honda for light towing, as it pulls 1,500 pounds.
Inside, the interior is quiet. The test SUV featured a brown-over-tan leather interior, with tan leather seats, cheap-looking fake gray wood trim on the dash, and matte silver trim on the door pulls, steering wheel hub and center stack shifter area.Honda still has key start, plus a tilt/telescope steering wheel. The tester had phone, radio and cruise buttons on the hub. Its navigation system and radio operate on a center-dash touch screen.
Honda uses a small screen atop the dash’s center for the trip computer, clock and compass functions. It is too far from the driver, as the screen is recessed way back in the dash and its enclosure’s sides are angled the wrong way for easy viewing.
The CR-V’s seats feature flat bottoms and mildly contoured backs that are firm but comfortable. Both front seats offer two-level seat heaters, and the driver’s seat is powered, including lumbar supports. There’s also plenty of head and leg room front and rear.
The rear seats fold flat after you fold the rear seat bottom forward. Even without that, there is a roomy 37.2 cubic feet behind the second-row seat. The cargo bed is low, so it’s easy to load and unload under the big, powered rear hatch.
Overhead, a power sunroof is standard on the EX-L but the sun visors do not slide or feature extenders.
The CR-V remains a solid choice in the small SUV market, but this top-end model is too pricey. There are many choices in this market, so shop around before settling on a model. Other good alternatives are the Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4.