Craig Scime: The CR-V has been the go-to family crossover for some time now, but in 2012 it was ready for an update.
Amanda Salas: The 2012 Honda CR-V has a new look, new technology and is a step up from its previous model.
Craig: The overall design of the CR-V hasn?t changed much, but take a close look at the front end, and you?ll see the new headlights and a slatted grille give the CR-V a more aggressive stance.
Amanda: Although there?s a lot of plastic in here, the cabin of the CR-V doesn?t feel cheap. I think it?s thanks to the good design and the texture of the plastic, which feels like it could really endure all the everyday wear and tear.
Craig: I?d have to agree. And what?s really cool is in the center of the dash here, is the intelligent Multi-Information Display, or i-MID. And the neat thing about this is it comes standard on all CR-Vs, and it includes the rear parking camera.
Amanda: With it you can check out what song is playing on the Bluetooth wireless audio, or create your own channel with Pandora Internet radio. And if you go for one of the EX-L models, Honda?s Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition and turn-by-turn directions is a great available feature.
Craig: Other updates are all about improved versatility, like a lower cargo floor, and one-pull fold-down rear seats. When those seats are fully stowed, you?ll get over 70 cubic feet of cargo space.
Amanda: Honda offers three CR-V trim levels: LX, EX and EX-L.
Craig: We?re driving the range-topping EX-L. It comes with leather seating, moonroof, fog lights and 17-inch alloy wheels. You can also add a rear-seat DVD player to keep the kids entertained on those long drives.
Amanda: And you?ll enjoy any drive, whether it?s long or short, due to the suspension improvement and improved sound insulation.
Craig: You get decent acceleration from the 185-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, a 5-horsepower improvement over last year. It?s hooked up to a five-speed automatic transmission sending power to either the front wheels or available all-wheel drive.
Amanda: That all-wheel-drive system is new for this year. Offered with all trims, it?s lighter and actually responds more quickly to changing road conditions.
Craig: And you get all that with a very little hit to fuel economy. The front-wheel-drive model gets 23 miles per gallon city, 31 highway. All-wheel-drive models? Just one mile per gallon less in each category.
Amanda: Among the competition, the Kia Sportage puts up similar stats but has a sportier driving feel, and the all-new Ford Escape, which will be out soon, is loaded with attitude.
Craig: If you?re on a strict budget, you might consider the base Sportage. At just $18,500, it?s about $4,500 less than the base CR-V. But you won?t get the rear parking camera or the i-MID system. Prices level out as you move up to better-equipped models.
Amanda: Craig, Honda is known for its incredible reputation for reliability. With its new style and tech features added to the 2012 Honda CR-V, it just explains why people love it even more.
Craig: I totally agree, Amanda. And, if you don?t need the all-wheel-drive feature, then go with the EX model. Because that gives you a good balance of price and features. Plus you get the moonroof, the nice wheels and the fog lights included, making this a great family-friendly crossover.