The Honda CR-V is a compact Crossover SUV manufactured by the Japanese Automaker Honda since 1996. It was loosely derived from the Honda to satisfy a public demand for a sport-utility vehicle from Honda. There are discrepancies as to what "CR-V" stands for, with Honda sources in different markets citing different meanings. Though Honda sales literature in UK reportedly makes references to "Compact Recreational Vehicle", other Honda references (including the official Honda Japan CR-V Fact Book  and Honda Worldwide ) cite "Comfortable Runabout Vehicle". It is available in both All-wheel drive and Front-wheel drive, although in many markets such as the United Kingdom and Australia, only All-wheel drive is offered due to lack of demand for lower specification vehicles and higher consumer expectations.
Honda produces CR-Vs in the United Kingdom and Japan for worldwide markets, and as of 2007, North American CR-Vs are produced in East Liberty, Ohio. The CR-V is produced for the People's Republic of China market by the Dongfeng Honda Automobile Company, a Joint venture with Honda. Starting in fall 2007, North American CR-Vs will also be produced in Jalisco, Mexico in addition to the US, Japan, and Britain due to high demand. Honda executives considered making the CR-V as one of the first vehicles to be produced at Honda's new facility currently under construction in Greensburg, Indiana that will open in fall 2008; however, the facility will initially exclusively produce the Honda, which may free up space in East Liberty for CR-V production from the 2009 model year onward. Elsewhere, the CR-V is Honda's smallest SUV other than the related Element sold in the United States and Canada, and the Honda sold in Europe. In size, the CR-V slots between the Element and Honda.
Introduced in Japan in 1996, the CR-V was Honda's first in-house designed SUV and was originally intended only to be a niche vehicle. Honda was hesitant to market the vehicle since many felt the car did not have potential to sell alongside the Honda and to take over the role of Honda's entry-level SUV. In the United States, it was displayed for the first time at the 1996 Chicago Auto Show. Citing strong sales from the comparable Toyota RAV4 upon its release, the model was then brought stateside in February 1997. Shortly afterwards, CR-V sales outpaced those of the smaller RAV4, and the compact has maintained strong sales and gained accolades ever since.
First generation (1996–2001)Edit
The original CR-V lasted from 1996 to 2001. Upon introduction, the model had only one trim level, which would later be known as the LX model trim; it was powered by the 2.0 L I4 Honda producing 126 hp (94 KW) and 133 ft·lbf (180 N·m) of torque. Outer dimensions for this engine would be identical to the Integra's 1.8 L engine, but internally the engine was bored out to add the extra displacement needed to produce more torque. The engine utilized a one-piece cylinder sleeve construction unique from any other B-series engine due to overlapping combustion chambers. The chassis was a Unibody design with a 4-wheel Double wishbone suspension. Inside, the rear seats were able to fold down, and a Picnic table was stowed in the rear floor area. A common external trait that was visible with this generation was Plastic cladding covering the front Bumper (automobile), rear bumper, and fender wells. In most countries, CR-Vs had a chrome grille; however, in the United States, the grille was made out of the same black plastic as the bumpers. A major difference between the LX and EX trims was that the EX had Anti-lock brakes and 15 inch alloy wheels while the LX did not. Drive train options were: front wheel drive or Honda's Real Time 4WD.
Real Time Four Wheel Drive SystemEdit
The Honda's Real Time 4WD system on the CRV utilizes a Dual hydraulic Pump rear differential and 4WD Transfer case. The Dual Pump Rear Differental operates the front wheels during normal conditions then transfers power to the rear wheels when needed automatically without the driver engaging the system. To allow the ABS braking system to work when the CRV is engaged in Four Wheel Drive operation the 4WD will turn off if the brakes are applied.
Later Model CRVs also have a lockup torque converter and Grade Logic program which aids the CRV when climbing steep inclines by keeping the transmission in the lower gear. The 2007 and later Model 4WD system was improved and sends an additional 20% more torque transfer to the rear tires than the earlier models.
When driven off road, CRVs with the AWD System are typically used in the "Greenlaning" or "Two-tracking" type of off roading.
Although the body style remained the same as the first generation, an update for the CR-V made from 1999 to 2001 was in response to criticism of the original engine lacking enough power for a vehicle of the CR-V's weight (3,200 Pound (mass) or 1,450 kg). The engine was changed to the 2.0 L Honda engine, producing 146 hp (108 kW) @ 6200 rpm and 133 ft·lbf (180 N·m) @ 4500 rpm of torque. Fuel economy of 22 mpg City/25 mpg Highway (US) and price were not affected by the increase in power, which was the result of a higher compression ratio (9.6:1 compared to the B20B's 8.8:1), a new intake manifold, and slightly higher lift on the intake valves.
Models equipped with an automatic transmission now had an overdrive cancel button that allowed the driver to lock the transmission in the first three gears to provide power for passing and climbing grades. The interior was also improved, as some consumers felt that the support provided by the seats was inadequate for longer trips. The cloth on the seats was also redesigned with a much more attractive pattern.
The 1999 European, Australian, and Asian model CR-Vs featured more drastic changes. Exterior alterations included a new front bumper, smoothed off rear bumper, and a smaller plastic radio antenna on the rear of the roof. "Nighthawk Black" was added to the list of paint choices, while the unpopular "Passion Orange" disappeared. A new deeper blue pearl and red pearl replaced their old metallic and enamel equivalents. European models received an enlarged Honda emblem on the front grille, and a new metallic yellow paint in certain countries.
In 2000, a Special Edition model was introduced in North America. The SE featured body-colored bumpers and side moldings, a body-colored hard spare tire cover, leather upholstery, CD/cassette audio deck, rear privacy glass and chrome grille accent. Up to 2001, the CR-V sold more than any other vehicle in its class. The North American models also received new exterior colors including Naples Gold Metallic and Taffeta White. Electron Blue was introduced in 2000 to replace Submarine Blue Pearl, while Satin Silver Metallic replaced Sebring Silver Metallic in 2001. However, that year, sales of the Ford Escape and its clone, the Mazda Tribute, surpassed the CR-V's.
The Australian higher spec model was called the 'Sport' and included body coloured bumpers, mirros, door handles and hard rear spare wheel cover. It also included alloy wheels, roof rails and large glass sunroof. This variant was available for entire span of the First Gen CRV in Australia. The CR-V became the country's best-selling SUV in 2000, outselling the Toyota Land Cruiser for the very first time.
Second generation (2001–2006)Edit
The second generation CR-V was a full redesign, based on the seventh generation Civic, and powered by the Honda. North American versions of the new engine produced 160 hp (119 kW) and 162 ft·lbf (220 N·m) of torque. Per new SAE regulations, the same engine is now rated at 156 hp and 160 ft·lbf. Despite the power increase, the new CR-V retained the fuel economy of the previous model, thanks in part to the engine's I-VTEC system. The newly developed chassis had increased torsional rigidity and bending rigidity, while the new suspension possessed front toe control link MacPherson struts and a rear reactive-link double wishbone; the compact rear suspension increased cargo space to 72 ft³ (2 m³). The second generation CR-V was Car and Driver magazine's Car and Driver for 2002 and 2003. Second generation CR-Vs in countries outside of North America were again offered in both 'low spec' and 'high spec' variants, with the latter featuring body-colored bumpers and fittings. It also now did not require the glass hatch to be opened before the swinging door. Changes between model years 2002, 2003, and 2004 were very minor. Success of the Honda CR-V created an entry-level SUV for Honda, called the Honda.
In 2005, the CR-V received a mid-model refresh. The 2005 CR-V was now equipped with 16 Inch wheels; earlier models had 15 inch wheels. Another visual change included the taillights, which no longer had amber for the turn signals. The rear bumper reflectors were longer and narrower. The Grille was also changed; it had 2 horizontal bars instead of one. Lastly, the low beams and high beams used dedicated bulbs, as opposed to a shared bulb in the prior setup.
On the inside of the car, the EX trim received upgrades which included steering wheel-mounted audio controls and an outside temperature monitor. The stereo system was also XM Satellite Radio ready. All CR-Vs also had revised rear seat headrests, which had been redesigned to reduce rear view blockage.
Mechanically, the 2005 model was also changed. A major change included a drive-by-wire throttle for all CR-Vs. The four-wheel drive system was improved; it had been tuned to activate faster in low traction situations. Also, the automatic transmission for the CR-V now had one extra gear (total of 5), for improved highway fuel efficiency.
In the United States, in accordance with Honda's Safety for Everyone campaign, all 2005 and later CR-V's have ABS, front airbags, side airbags for front passengers, and side-curtain airbags with rollover sensors for all outboard occupants. Also, Electronic Brake Distribution and Vehicle Stability Assist were added as standard equipment on all trim levels. CR-Vs in other countries such as Australia continued with only dual Airbags and ABS as standard equipment. Side airbags were optional, while curtain airbags were unavailable.
In October-November 2005, Honda offered the CR-V Limited Edition which was previewed at the Australia, along with an Accord Limited Edition model, also on sale until November 2005. It was a base model, only available in black metallic, with optional extras such as alloy wheels, body-colored side molding and a number of other features.
Following the tradition of adding a trim level above the EX during the refresh like the first generation CR-V, Honda added the SE trim level for the 2005 CR-V. The CR-V SE had painted bumpers, body side molding, and spare tire cover. For a more luxurious experience, Honda added a leather interior, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated side mirrors, and heated front seats. A new color, Pewter Pearl, could only be found on the SE. The SE also included a hard body-colored cover for the spare tire on the back.
For the 2006 model year, two new colors were added, Royal Blue Pearl and Alabaster Silver Metallic. These colors were available on the CR-V LX and EX only.
Third generation (2007–present)Edit
A redesigned CR-V was launched for the 2007 model year. The third generation CR-V is powered by the latest version of Honda's standard Honda 2.4 L I4 engine, similar variants of which can also be found in the current-generation Honda and Honda. A 2.4 L engine upgraded to 166 hp is used in the North American market. A 2.2 L i-CTDI diesel is offered in the European and Asian markets. The European market Honda CR-V offers a new Honda 2.0 L engine, based on the Honda Honda i-VTEC SOHC engine found in the Honda Civic, as opposed to the previous CR-V offering the Honda. The Manual transmission has been dropped from the US market, leaving the five speed automatic as the sole unit.
The 2007 CR-V features a rear liftgate, unlike previous models. There is no longer a spare wheel attached to the back door. The new CR-V is lower, wider and shorter than the previous models; the length decrease stems mostly from the fact that the spare wheel no longer adds length to the back of the vehicle. A lowering of the center of gravity is another benefit of the spare wheel being located underneath the rear floor. A feature unique amongst SUVs is the center rear seat pass-through.
Honda is also offering an integrated Navigation option on the EX-L model. The navigation unit is made for Honda by Alpine and includes voice activated control, XM radio, in dash CD player that can play MP3's and WMA's. It also has a 6 Disc CD changer in the center console and a PC Card (PCMCIA) slot in the Nav unit for flash memory MP3 or WMA files. A second CD player is behind the navigation screen, this CD player plays MP3/WMA cds. A rear backup camera is also included.
An IPod adapter was to be an available option on US models, but is currently only available as an add-on accessory. Even so, all CR-V models still have the auxiliary audio input jack, which is either on the head unit itself (LX) or on central tray (EX) or inside the center console (all versions of the EX-L, with or without navigation).
In the United States, the Honda CR-V became the number-one selling SUV in the US for 2007, a title previously held for fifteen years (1991–2006) by the Ford Explorer. To meet the extremely high demand, Honda shifted some Civic production from East Liberty, Ohio to Alliston Plant #2 (where some Pilot, Honda, and Odyssey production was located until production was consolidated at Honda's Lincoln, Alabama facility) to free up space for additional CR-V production. Currently, the East Liberty plant is building 180+ CR-Vs a day for the US and Canadian markets, and additional vehicles for both markets are also being imported from Japan and Mexico. Notably, the Mexican-built CR-Vs are assembled from CKD (Complete knock-down) kits made in East Liberty.
- Honda CR-V official U.S. site
- Honda CR-V official Canadian site
- Road Test: 2008 Honda CR-V EX-L Navi at paddocktalk.com
- 2008 Honda CR-V Consumer reviews at Edmunds.com
- Honda CR-V Information - Honda CR-V Information