The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Heels On Wheels: 2012 Honda CR-V Review +VIDEO

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2012 Honda CR-V

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

The 2012 Honda CR-V has a compelling exterior redesign and more interior standard features, but let’s cut to the chase: Fuel economy averages 25 miles-per-gallon with all-wheel drive and total cost remains under $30k when fully loaded. This is one hard-to-top, two-row crossover.

I drove a 2012 Honda CR-V with the only available engine, a 185-horspower 2.4-liter Dual Overhead Cam i-VTEC four-cylinder engine with a five-speed automatic transmission and available all-wheel drive. Available in three trims, LX, EX and EX-L, my top-of-the-line EX-L test drive came with the following standard equipment: leather-trimmed seats, steering wheel and shift knob; Honda Navigation System with rearview camera; seven-speaker audio system with XM Radio and Pandora Internet Radio featuring steering-wheel controls; Bluetooth connectivity; heated front seats; dual-zone climate control; ten-power power driver’s seat; SMS text message functionality; USB interface. Total vehicle price came to $29,795.

The sporty CR-V redesign comes at the right time for Honda, luring customers away from some very competitive crossovers such as the Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4. Most attractive is the Volvo-inspired taillight design that gives the CR-V some newfound classy edge.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: Honda keeps up with popular vehicle technology by providing Pandora radio, Bluetooth, and the SMS text messaging function that reads texts from compatible phones aloud over the audio system as standard equipment found even in base LX model. The dash layout gets a ding due to an awkward upward tilt that forces drivers to raise seats higher in order to view the infotainment display screens. Spacing is generous in the rear seats despite the redesign losing about an inch of height. The leather upholstery and interior wood trim give the CR-V a refined feel, but not enough to mistake this model for a more expensive crossover.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The new model receives the highest possible safety ratings from the IIHS. Safety standard highlights for the CR-V includes vehicle stability control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, side-curtain airbags, and Advanced Compatibility Engineering.

Watch TACH's exclusive CR-V promo video

Cost Issues: The technology-equipped base LX trim is $22,295. The EX trim adds an upgraded six-speaker audio system and moonroof for $24,395. My EX-L trim with the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System, leather upholstery and ten-way power seating is $29,795. And an optional rear DVD system is available at this trim level to entertain the kiddies on long trips.

Activity & Performance Ability: Like any four-cylinder, there’s not a whole lot of off-the-line power during acceleration; nevertheless the CR-V offers an engaging and balanced ride with one of the more notable highway features being a better insulated cabin to reduce noise. Make note the powertrain components are carryovers with just a few adjustments for increased fuel economy and there is no V6 engine option. An all-new Eco Assist feature withholds the throttle response to help drivers achieve new levels of efficiency.

The Green Concern: Two-wheel drive also available, but not the most sensible or sustainable one considering fuel economy estimates have just a 1 mile-per-gallon gain over all-wheel drive.

FINAL PARTING WORDS With a snazzy new redesign, unbeatable all-wheel drive fuel economy, and modern technology features found even at the base level including Pandora radio and a text messaging function, it’s easy to understand why the CR-V reigns over the crossover market.

2012 Katrina Ramser