The 2007-2010 Honda CR-V is one of the most popular compact crossovers on the market. Unlike an SUV Its clean design, fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine and excellent resale are its most obvious attributes, but there is so much more to this little utility vehicle than just utility. From its playful and handsomely crafted interior to its comfortable ride and laudable handling, the CR-V just does everything right. Honda's reputation for reliability and good resale value are in full force with the CR-V, a fact that may make finding a low-price, low mileage used model somewhat difficult.
Why You Want It
If you don't need to transport more than five people or tow heavy loads, the CR-V is about the most practical vehicle you can own. Its flip forward rear seats create a cargo hold far more cavernous than any trunk, and the available all-wheel drive and nearly seven-inches of ground clearance combine to tackle the worst Mother Nature can dish out. The CR-V's car-like ride and handling make it supremely comfortable in daily driving situations and, although the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine isn't big on power, it is easy on gas. Most owners agree that the CR-V's styling is pretty timeless and its list of available features pretty cushy. Yet, for all its pluses, the CR-V does have a few minor flaws. Driver's over six feet will find front seat legroom rather confining and there is no high-end audio option or iPod integration feature. Also, the cool folding rear picnic table from the previous generation was unfortunately exiled from this model, and the most desirable features, such as Bluetooth, navigation and rear backup camera, are confined to the top-of-the-line trim.
Notable Features & Options
The base CR-V LX with front wheel drive includes 17-inch steel wheels, power functions for the windows, door locks and mirrors, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, air conditioning, cruise control, a split-folding and tumble rear seats, rear wiper/washer, rear defroster, a four-speaker AM/FM stereo with MP3 compatible CD player and auxiliary audio input jack, and eight cup holders. The EX trim adds a power sunroof, rear privacy glass, steering-wheel audio controls, six-disc CD changer with two additional speakers, 17-inch alloy wheels, and exterior temperature display. EX-L models add heated front seats, leather seating, and a fixed center console (replaces the LX and EX's folding side table.) EX-L models from 2008 on feature a 270-watt sound system with subwoofer, eight-way power driver's seat with power lumbar, and automatic climate control. The only option for the EX-L is Honda's voice activated navigation system with built-in rear backup camera. In 2010, the EX-L gained an available USB audio interface feature, 10-spoke alloy wheels and Bluetooth cell phone connectivity on the available navigation system. Horsepower also jumps from 166 to 180 for all CR-V models. LX, EX, and EX-L trims can all be equipped with Honda's Real-Time 4-Wheel Drive system that temporarily routes power to the rear wheels as needed. Standard safety equipment on all CR-Vs includes six airbags (driver and passenger front, front side-impact and front and rear side-curtain), four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and traction control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
2007: The all-new CR-V debuts.
2008: The plush EX-L trims gains an eight-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support, dual-zone automatic temperature control and a 270-watt seven-speaker sound system with subwoofer and six-disc CD/MP3 changer.
2009: No change.
2010: The CR-V receives a major makeover, with a fresh new front end, new wheels and 14 more horsepower. The available navigation system (EX-L) gains Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity.
Engines and Performance
The CR-V offers only one engine choice: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine teamed exclusively to a five-speed automatic (sorry manual fans, you'll have to go back another generation if you want to shift your own gears.) This engine/transmission setup delivers good fuel economy (20 city/26 highway) and pretty decent performance. Horsepower is rated at 166 and, on 2010 models, 180; torque remains unchanged at 161 pounds-feet. Around town, the CR-V feels peppy and sprite, its small size and nimble handling making it easy to dart in and out of traffic, as well as to parallel park. On the highway, the CR-V sometimes feels strained at speeds above 65, and high-speed passing with a loaded CR-V requires a bit of patience and excellent distance judgment skills. We found the CR-V's ride to be quite comfortable and smooth, although at highway speeds there is a little more engine and wind noise inside the cabin than we'd like. Visibility is generally good, but the large rear pillars and high rear window do create blind spots that cannot be compensated for by the side mirrors; navigation equipped EX-L trims features a rear backup camera that greatly improves rearward visibility.
Recalls, Safety Ratings and Warranties
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has issued the following recalls for the 2007-2010 Honda CR-V:
2010: Honda issued a recall to check a possible defect in the engine wiring harness connector that could cause the engine to stall.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
As for its safety record, the government gives the 2007-2010 Honda CR-V its highest rating of five stars in its front and side-impact crash test, and four out of five stars in the roof-strength rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) concurs with the government's findings, giving the CR-V its highest rating of GOOD in the side-impact and off-set front impact crash test, but only MARGINAL in its roof strength test.
The 2007-2010 Honda CR-V's manufacturer's warranty covers 3-years/36,000 miles bumper-to bumper and 5-years/60,000 miles for the powertrain. If you purchase your CR-V through a Certified Pre-Owned Honda dealer, you can extend the warranty up to 7-years/100,000 miles from the date the vehicle entered service. Honda Certified vehicles also undergo a rigorous 150-point inspection and come with a 1-year/12,000 mile basic warranty (does not cover the powertrain), or if the vehicle is still under the original basic warranty, extends it to 4-years/48,000 miles.
Word on the Web
On both consumer sites to Honda owner forums, we had to really dig deep to find anything negative about the 2007-2010 Honda CR-V. Outside of some isolated problems unique to the person posting, we couldn't find any common complaints whatsoever. We found a few complaints about premature tire wear and noise coming from the rear differential. Others complained about poor fuel economy in winter months, but we think the culprit here is the addition of ethanol some states mandate to help reduce pollution. Ethanol boosts power, but will cause a 2-3 mpg drop in fuel economy. In all, we have to conclude that CR-V owners are one happy bunch, and that the CR-V easily lives up to its bulletproof reputation.
The 2007-2010 Honda CR-V has a number of competitors. The Toyota RAV4 is every bit as reliable as the CR-V, and offers such desirable features as a V6 engine, third-row seat and a manual transmission. The Chevrolet Equinox is larger and heavier than the CR-V, but its reliability and resale numbers are nowhere near as impressive. You could look to the Hyundai Santa Fe, which, like the RAV4, features a third-row seat and V6 engine option, but again the resale figures and fuel economy numbers just don't match up. Subaru's Forester has a better four-wheel drive system than the CR-V, and about the same fuel economy, resale and reliability figures, but it lacks the CR-V's cuteness factor.
Those on a budget will find the front-wheel drive LX trim offers all you need in a basic crossover, while those who insist on things like heated seats, navigation and Bluetooth (not to mention that all important rear backup camera) will gravitate towards the EX-L. The best choice, though, is probably an EX AWD, which offers a good mix of value, capability and features.