2010 Honda CR-V: Comfortable, Compact Softroader
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
When Honda chose the CR-V as its compact crossover SUV in 1996, it filled a niche in the soft-road utility market for the Japanese car builder. As to what CR-V stands for, some Honda sales literature has called it a "Compact Recreational Vehicle", but other official Honda material references the crossover as a "Comfortable Runabout Vehicle". Still others in Honda marketing say the initials mean nothing and are a marketable assortment of letters as are the initials in its sister company Acura’s RDX and MDX. To them, finding words that fit the initials is a marketing afterthought.
The eighth-best-selling vehicle in America in 2010 is produced in East Liberty, Ohio, and nearing the end of its third generation, the 2010 CR-V adds modest refinements and upgrades to its exterior and interior, with additional power and the promise of better fuel economy.
On the outside, CR-V receives a freshened front fascia with a new horizontal single-slat chrome grille and honeycomb-designed lower front grille, new front bumper, re-sculpted hood, revised taillights and a redesigned rear bumper shape. The previous model featured a double slat-style cross bar.
Interior improvements focus on new features and functionality. Comfort is enhanced with improved seat fabrics, and wider driver and front-passenger armrests. Visually, information display backlighting in the gauges is blue instead of the previous black for better visibility, and electronically, and Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® is now included on models equipped with the available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™.
Under the hood, the 2010 CR-V has moved up its horsepower from 166 to 180 and gas mileage is rated at an increase of 1mpg.
Moving back to the exterior, CR-V fits the compact sports-ute segment with measurements of 179.3 inches in length, 66.1 inches in height and 71.6 inches in width on a 103-1-inch wheelbase with a ground clearance of 6.7 inches. Weighing in at a light (for an SUV) 3413 lbs., this Honda crossover carries its weight with a 58/42 front/rear distribution.
Architecturally, CR-V displays a rounded overall shape that moves it away from perceived SUV slab sides. The CR-V's unit-body construction makes extensive use of high-strength steel (58 percent) to save weight and create a high-rigidity body structure, which significantly contributes to the vehicle's ride quality, safety performance and upscale presence.
CR-V’s power and performance come from an aluminum alloy 2.4-liter inline-4 engine that produces 180hp and 161 lbs-ft of torque. Coupled to a 5-speed automatic transmission, the vehicle is available in FWD and 4WD and is EPA rated at 28mpg in highway driving and 21mpg in the city. I found those figures to be optimistic, as week of mixed-use testing only garnered an average of 20.1mpg.
On the track, CR-V tested well enough, managing a smooth and steady 9.2 seconds for a zero-to-60 gallop and a 17-flat quarter-mile.
On the road, acceleration is good, but a bit hesitant; quick turns exhibit some body roll and top wobble; and the ride is not refined due to a stiff suspension from front MacPherson struts, coil springs and anti-roll bar and multilink rear with coil springs and anti-roll bar. Steering is a bit boatlike with a degree or two of play before the system engages.
Off road, well, CR-V is really a family utility vehicle designed for cruising around town, taking the kids on a highway trip with the cargo bays filled with camping gear, hockey equipment or suitcases filled with clothes. It really is not a bona fide off-road vehicle, but is a soft-roader that can smooth out some mudholes but is best left to navigate macadam rather than rocky trails.
In the cabin, sightlines are excellent from pillar to pillar. The upright instrumentation is easy to see and read and the confines are non-confining. Spacious with interior headroom of 38.9 inches up front and 38.5 inches in row two, legroom of 41.3 and 38.5 and shoulder room of 56.9 and 56.0, the driving experience is comfortable with the exception of a fair degree of road noise present. Interior accouterments include
climate control system with air filtration, back-up camera, a large flip-up LCD screen, keyless entry, tilt and telescopic steering column, cruise control, power windows with auto-up/down driver's window, power door and tailgate locks, AM/FM/CD audio system with four speakers and fuel economy meter.
From a safety perspective, CR-V scores well with perfect 5-star crash ratings for frontal and side impacts and 4 of 5 in rollover tests. Safety systems include the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ body structure; Vehicle Stability Assist™; and a pedestrian safety design in the front of the vehicle. Additional standard equipment includes side-curtain airbags with a rollover sensor; front side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System; active front seat head restraints; an anti-lock braking system with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist; and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System.
Base priced at $25,095 for the CR-V EX 4WD trim, my test vehicle came in with a final sticker of $29,070 including moonroof and upgraded electronics, but the CR-V ranges from $21,545 base to about $39,000 plus $780 destination charges.
The 2010 Honda CR-V … whatever the initials mean, it is one classy road vehicle.
> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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