• Ten variants possible from three trim lines
  • Two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models available
  • Rear seat entertainment system offered for top EX-L trim

With only a modest price hike for the completely redesigned CR-V, Honda may continue to lead with this versatile and economical small SUV. The CR-V, now in its fourth generation, is available in two- and four-wheel drive configurations, just like its predecessor. Three trim lines remain, too.

New features, including standard Bluetooth hands-free, text messaging functions, and Pandora and iPhone compatibility add functionality inside to complement the 2012 CR-V's redesigned sheet metal outside. Prices for the four-cylinder, five-passenger vehicle have mostly increased, albeit by as little as $200 on some trim lines. EX-L models with navigation are actually priced lower than their 2011 counterparts.

The CR-V can be specified in base LX, mid-range EX or top-of-the-line EX-L trim. All boast a five-speed automatic transmission, but come in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive formats. In base, front-wheel drive LX trim, the CR-V is priced at $21,895, a $400 premium over a similarly equipped 2011 model. The price hike on the four-wheel drive LX is identical, resulting in a window sticker price of $23,145.

The mid-range EX models add equipment like alloy wheels and a moon roof to the LX's offerings. The EX sees just a $200 price increase over last year's model, not bad considering the extra equipment on the new 2012. The front-wheel drive EX is now $24,395, while $25,645 will buy a four-wheel drive EX ready for slippery winter driving conditions.

Honda makes pricing a bit less straightforward with the top of the line EX-L models, which include leather interior, heated front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control among other niceties. The old 2011 EX-L was available with or without navigation. The new 2012 EX-L can be specified without navigation, with navigation, or with a new rear seat entertainment system. Navigation and the new entertainment system are not available together.

The standard EX-L with no navigation sees the same $200 bump as the EX models. A front-wheel drive model lists for $26,845 while the four-wheel drive is $28,095. With the rear seat entertainment package, the prices are $27,745 and $28,995 respectively.

Compared to the 2011, the bargain of the entire 2012 CR-V lineup is also the most expensive model. Both EX-L models with navigation are $300 less than a similarly equipped 2011 model. The front-wheel drive EX-L with navigation is now $28,545; the four-wheel drive is $29,795.

Opt for the EX-L with navigation to save some money compared with last year's prices, or pay a few hundred extra on an LX or EX. Either way, the entire CR-V lineup offers excellent value, with lesser models delivering the same quality, economy and reliability that drivers have come to expect from Honda.

What it means to you:

Most models in the all-new 2012 CR-V lineup are priced a bit higher than last year's, but the new car includes some new and improved features. And the top-of-the-line EX-L with navigation actually sees a price drop.

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