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2007 Honda CR-V EX Review

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Engine: 2.4-liter I-4
Horsepower/Torque: 166 hp @ 5800 rpm/161 lb.-ft. @ 4200 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 103.1 in.
Length x Width x Height: 178.0 x 71.6 x 66.1 in.
Tires: 225/65R17
Cargo volume: 72.9 cu. ft.
Economy: 22 mpg city/28mpg highway/19.6 mpg test
Price: $24,050 (base, plus $595 destination charge

The Bottom Line – Very good redesign of a classic compact SUV. Smooth engine/transmission combination plus decent overall performance make this an ideal step up from a compact, or even mid-size sedan.

Honda has redesigned its popular CR-V compact sport utility vehicle for 2007 and it’s a great redesign. Not only does the CR-V retain all its basic plus points from the previous generation, it gains more aerodynamic styling that, if you “fuzz up” your eyes a bit, looks like the bigger brother Acura MDX.

Based on the `06 CR-V, the `07 is three inches shorter on the same size wheelbase, the 2.4-liter inline four has 10 more horses to 166 hp, and the tires grow an inch to 17 inches. All these dimensional changes make the CR-V seem like a larger vehicle, but still act like a small one.

Our tester was the front-wheel drive EX version, which is next to the top-of-the-line. As such, it gains a power sunroof over the base LX, as well as an AM/FM radio with in-dash six-CD changer and MP3 player, audio and cruise controls on the steering wheel, and a few other goodies. All-wheel drive adds about $1,200 to the base price shown.

I was impressed with how quiet the engine was. Most fours tend to be buzzy, especially on acceleration, but this one was relatively quiet. I say “relatively,” because it still can’t compete with a larger, lower-revving engine. I felt the 166 hp that the engine delivered was enough for the CR-V, which weighs in at a tad over 3,500 pounds.

This reminded me of one of the first Honda vehicles I ever drove that had an engine that was so smooth it seemed to be lifted from one of Honda’s motorcycles.

In addition, the CR-V had excellent handling. One advantage of compact SUVs is that their aspect ration (height versus width) isn’t as drastic as in some of the larger versions. The CR-V is more car-like and therefore offers a ride that is more car-like.

Interior dimensions remain about the same, despite the shorter overall length. Front legroom is excellent. Rear legroom is also very good and the low center hump makes it possible for an adult to ride there for a reasonable period of time. I felt the front seats offered good side support.

Cargo capacity reaches a maximum of 72.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. With the seat back up, volume is still an impressive 35.6 cubic feet, or about triple that of the normal sedan trunk. In addition, there’s a shelf in the rear that can be adjusted to double carrying capacity, if you don’t want to pile things on top of one another.

The CR-V has an excellent instrument panel with two major round gauges and white-on-black lettering. In the center of the dash there’s a digital display that offers readings for average mpg, instant mpg, range left in the tank, a trip odometer and outside temperature. There’s also a nice navigation screen with an audio readout included. You can open the nav screen to insert CDs. In addition, there’s a back-up camera that allows you to see what’s behind the vehicle when you shift into reverse. More than once we’ve used that camera to save running over objects. If there’s a child back there, it’s priceless.

The entire interior has a nice brushed aluminum trim. Where the sunglass holder is normally situated, the CR-V has a “spy mirror,” a small convex mirror to allow the driver to check on what the little ones are doing in the back seat. If I had one of those when our children were growing up we could have cut travel time in half.

Amenities include two cup holders up front plus cupholders in the doors, nice door handles, a good LATCH system with the hook near the headrests, and a nice cubby over the glove box.

The CR-V has always been one of the premier car-based compact SUVs. The 2007 redesign maintains that tradition.

2007 The Auto Page Syndicate