First Glance at the Honda CR-V
The first CR-V appeared in 1995. The second version appeared in 2001. In 2004, its front and rear facades were freshened. Since then, it has remained virtually unchanged except for a nip here and a tuck there. As usual, Honda got this one right the first time.
In Canada, the CR-V has been the best selling SUV of any size for several years running. With good reason too. It's big enough on the inside for four football linemen, yet small enough to navigate crowded city streets and maneuver into tight parking spots. And even though it's getting a bit long in the tooth, it's still a heck of vehicle, one that wont give you even a moment's grief.
In the CR-V Driver's Seat
The CR-V holds five adults with lots of room behind the rear seats for cargo. If more cargo room is needed, both rear seats easily fold up and tuck out of the way tight against the front seats. If you have to carry two passengers and a lot of cargo, one of the 60/40 split rear seats can be folded up for the cargo and the extra passenger can sit normally on the remaining rear seat.
I tested the 4WD EX model with the 5-speed manual transmission. My CR-V had very comfortable cloth covered seats with full adjustment including height. Seat controls were manually operated on my tester, but the drivers seat had power assist for the fore and aft movement. Everything is easy to operate.
All models of the CR-V come with 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS. Traction control and electronic stability control are also standard.
On the Road in the Honda CR-V
At highway speeds, the CR-V is quiet and smooth riding. The rack and pinion steering tracks true so the CR-V is not put off by small road imperfections. In other words, it's not dancing around on the ruts cut into the asphalt by overweight trucks and you're not making constant steering corrections.
The CR-V also comes with either a 5-speed auto or a 5-speed manual. My test car was equipped with a 5-speed manual and a light, very smooth clutch. Even though most of my driving can best be characterized as stop-and-go city type, I didn't mind shifting the gears myself. And, regardless of what the EPA says, in my experience a manual tranny always gets better fuel economy than an automatic. Sometimes dramatically better.
To preclude burrowing, the system ought to start off in 4WD and then switch to 2WD if no slip is detected. Which is exactly the opposite of what actually happens with the RealTime 4WD system.
On the other hand, this system will most certainly handle a few inches of snow on your local mall's parking lot at least it will if you keep good tread on your tires. Hey, if you want real 4WD off-road capability you can't have the good ride and easy handling of a CR-V. At least you can't yet. But let's wait and see what happens when the all-new '07 CR-V comes out.