Make us your home page
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

The Daily Drivers: Honda rolls out a somewhat newer CR-V

Honda's commercials for the CR-V trumpet its redesign. Well, that's overstating the case. To us, it's more of a refinement. Honda's not big on radical change, and it shows in the fourth generation of its popular compact SUV. That disappointed the one of us who is a Honda owner (Lyra), but we both were excited to drive the CR-V.

Appearance: Honda smoothed the rounded, slightly top-heavy look of the CR-V's roofline, which was starting to look dated. It's now more aerodynamic (and lower), gently sloping into the hatch's vertical, wraparound taillights. It makes for a modern profile. Up front, the grille is bolder, intruding into the headlights. Overall, it's a more integrated look. In EX models the 17-inch alloy wheels complement it.

Performance: The power has improved slightly in the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, which is now good for 185 from 180 thanks to tweaks in the powerplant and gearing. We found the ride to be pleasant and composed, especially in city driving, but would have liked more oomph for interstate merging. Hey, Honda, why no turbo or V-6 option? The steering is light and responsive, and given its design tweaks, the CR-V doesn't have as much body lean in tight turns. Also benefitting from the changes is the mileage, which has risen to 31 mpg in highway driving. (There's an ECON button that lets you sacrifice pickup for more fuel efficiency, but we didn't find the tradeoff worthy of its use.) The 5-speed automatic shifts well, but seems archaic in an era of almost standard 6-speed gearboxes. The difference is really noticeable on the highway (and in cabin noise) when it holds those gears a little longer.

Interior: It's attractive, fairly quiet and comfortable, with lots of family-friendly storage space, attractive gauges and, for the most part, logically placed controls. The center console is large, but Lyra misses the floor space in previous models that gave her room to store her purse. The USB and audio connections are easy to get to in the cavernous center bin, but they can be difficult to see at night. Peter found the leather seats of our tester firm but comfortable. Up front there was plenty of headroom, and the rear seats also don't scrimp on the head- and legroom. Other details we liked: The buttons on the leather-wrapped steering wheel have different shapes, so it's easy to find what you need without looking down. The voice command is one of the best we've used; the system understood Lyra on the first try every time. With the rear seats folded flat, there is 71 cubic feet of cargo space, which Peter found useful when loading groceries and a new gas grill. One thing he didn't like: The release for the gas-flap door is hard to reach under the dash and near the floor.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

One-touch: The seatback release makes it easy and convenient to go to cargo mode.

Color: Our Crystal Black Pearl gave the SUV an expensive look.

Better half: It pleased the toughest critic, my wife, who was sad to see it go.

Lyra Solochek

Cargo: One-touch seatback release for cargo configuration means no more hassle

Eco Assist: Glowing green bars indicate conservative driving.

i-MID info display: Miles to empty, custom wallpaper and even text messages.

The bottom line: Sure, we'd like another gear and a little more horsepower, but all things in due time. Maybe Honda knows best when it comes to the 2012 CR-V, a triumph of evolution, not revolution.

2012 Honda CR-V EX-L

Price: $22,295 base LX start, $29,355 as tested

Powertrain: 2.4-liter inline-4, 5-speed automatic, FWD

Horsepower: 185 at 7,000 rpm

Torque: 163 pound-

feet at 4,400 rpm

Curb weight: 3,434 pounds


in inches:

Wheelbase, 103.1

Length, 178.3

Width, 71.6

Height, 64.7

Seats: 5

Fuel economy:

23 miles per gallon city, 31 mpg highway

Safety features: Airbags and curtains, rollover sensor, vehicle stability assist, ABS, electronic brake distribution, brake assist, side-impact door beams, ACE body structure, front and rear crumple zones, LATCH system

Options worth considering: Real-time AWD, moonroof, navigation


The Daily Drivers: Honda rolls out a somewhat newer CR-V 02/03/12 [Last modified: Friday, February 3, 2012 3:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24


    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters


    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights


    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.


    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]