Friday, July 13, 2012

2012 Honda CR-V Review and Road Test

It has become clear in the last few years that the Honda CR-V and the Toyota Rav4 are no longer guaranteed to be at the top of buyers lists. The Koreans have made major inroads into the small SUV market and so has GM with their Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain. In response to this Honda has brought out a brand new CR-V for 2012. The styling has been updated, or if ask many people its been made much worse. One of the new CR-Vs claims to fame is the fact that it will read out your text messages to you. That sounds great until you find out that it is not iPhone compatible. Never the less Honda seems to be selling a fair number of these, so we should see them sanctimoniously blocking left lanes across the country for years to come. With its somewhat high price and unimpressive standard feature list many buyers are wondering if the CR-V should still be on their shopping list.

Inside the 2012 CR-V seems well-built but lacks any distinctive styling. Sitting in the driver seat you are surrounded with a sea of uniform plastics. Granted they are of a good quality but they lack any distinctive design. A welcome feature is a standard back up camera that provides a good view of what is behind you. In the centre console you will find a USB port as well as a power point and audio line in. In terms of electronic connectivity the CR-V is well equipped even in the base model. To the left of the steering wheel there is a green "econ" button that when engaged will slightly improve the overall fuel economy. The steering wheel is nice to handle and is slightly smaller than most in the class, offering a sporty touch. Rear seat room is adequate but not the best in class. The rear cargo area is small when compared with competitors like the GMC Terrain. Special mention must be given to the system that folds the rear seats down. Instead of a laborious process to get the seats to fold it is quite effortless. When standing a the rear of the vehicle you see two small handles on either side of the cargo area, simply pull one of these and the seat folds its self down using a spring-loaded mechanism. It is an innovative and very convenient feature.

On the road the CR-V is pleasant to drive. The ride is quiet and steering feels easy to use. Acceleration is adequate from the one available engine, a 2.4L 4 cylinder engine. Rated at 185 horsepower it is powerful enough for most daily use but returns above average fuel economy for a small SUV. Honda may want to consider a turbo version of this engine for the many buyers out there who want a little more power. The CR-V takes corners well even at higher speeds, which is impressive given its hefty weight and high centre of gravity. At highway speed the CR-V handles well with little drama. Overall the driving experience is like being in a high-up midsize sedan. The available all-wheel drive system is automatic and will distribute torque to each wheel as needed without any input from the driver. Parking the CR-V is easy thanks to the standard back up camera. There are a few blind spots at the rear which is typical in this segment due to styling.

The bottom line: The CR-V is a good all-rounder, however at its lofty price point and lack of standard features it could be a tough sell against much of its competition.