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New Car/Review


Honda CR-V EX 4WD (2001)

SEE ALSO: Honda Buyer's Guide

By Matt/Bob Hagin


     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 20,550
     Price As Tested                                    $ 20,990
     Engine Type              DOHC 16-valve 2.0 Liter I4 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 122 cid/1973 cc
     Horsepower                                   146 @ 6200 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               133 @ 4500 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  103.2"/68.9"/177.6"
     Transmission                              Five-speed manual
     Curb Weight                                     3394 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  15.3 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                           205/70R15 all-season
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/drum (ABS)
     Drive Train                   Front-engine/four-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/five-door
     Domestic Content                                  5 percent
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A


     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            22/25/24
     0-60 MPH                                        9.5 seconds
     Maximum load capacity                            850 pounds
     Maximum towing capacity                         1000 pounds
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

(Gigantic SUVs have a big following, according to Matt Hagin. His dad Bob, prefers the new genre SUV that's small enough to push by hand if the occasion arises.)

BOB - Although big SUVs still have their devotees and are enjoying sales numbers that are bigger than ever, the mini-models are closing in on those numbers at a rapid rate. Lots of off-road buyers are cognizant of the fact that they don't need seating capacity for an entire NBA team nor do they need the cargo capacity of a moving van. Parenthetically, they are also aware of the fact that they won't be traveling the boulder-strewn trails of Baja California so they don't need the tenacity and toughness of an M-2 Bradley tank so this Honda CR-V just what their doctor ordered. It's built on an extended and modified Honda Civic platform and powered by a four cylinder engine that was borrowed from last year's Acura and enlarged from 1.8 to a full 2.0- liters. The unit is all aluminum with four-valve, twin-cam technology putting out 146 horses and it does it on a diet of 87-octane fuel. It gets 22 miles per gallon around town and the EPA says it get 25 on the highway. Although it can be had with an optional automatic four-speed transmission, ours came with a five-speed stick-shift that interestingly has all five cogs indirect-drive/. There are three CR-V models available and the base model is front-drive only. The automatic will be a leading seller for buyers doing most of their driving around town but for off-roading, the five-speed would be advantageous since first gear is very low.

MATT - I'd be surprised to see any of these CR-Vs taken into the boondocks, Dad. Honda's targeted market niche is young couples or families that lead active, outdoorsy lifestyles. At worst, snow-covered or dirt roads will be the hardest duty most CR-Vs will ever see. The vehicle has only eight inches of ground clearance so boulder-crawling is out. In truth, it's a front-wheel driver that goes into an all-wheel mode if the system senses an irregular road surface of if the front wheels start to slip. This is all done automatically and it doesn't require any input from the driver. When the driver backs off on the throttle, the unit reverts back to front-wheel drive. The suspension is typical Honda sedan with double A-arms at all four corners and sway bars to help control chassis lean on turns when it's driven on pavement. It has anti-skid braking, of course, but it has to make due with drum brakes in back. As with all front-drive cars, the CR-V is a little nose-heavy by about 250 pounds.

BOB - The accouterments of the CR-V show typically Honda attention to driver-friendly items, Matt. The rear door swings away to the side but the rear window swings up which make loading light objects lots easier. The floor of the rear area does double-duty as a picnic table and a roof-rack comes as standard equipment for strapping on bicycles, skis, kayaks and other energetic activity paraphernalia. But boaters will have to settle for a bigger vehicle or a smaller vessel since the towing limit is only 1000 pounds. The interior has comfortable bucket seats up front and a 50/50-split bench seat in the rear with a seat back that will fold flat to the rear. The front seats fold all the way back too, and when the front and rear seats are fully reclined, they make two fairly comfortable snooze-racks that are very handy after an afternoon of jogging or biking over mountain trails.

MATT - All three models come with air conditioning as standard equipment as well as a relatively high-quality AM/FM cassette sound system. About the only physical shortcoming I can find in the CR-V is that climbing into the rear seat is tight for full-sized adults. The wheels on our tester are 15-inch aluminum alloy mounting tall 205/70 all-season tires. I'm not too crazy about the spare hanging out there on the back door but I guess there's not enough room for it inside or under the chassis.

BOB - Most of the time, auto makers apply meaningless letters to their various models but in the case of the CR-V, the letters are appropriate. They stand for Comfortable Runabout Vehicle.