2007 Honda CR-V

By The Car Family

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New, but not really bigger, Honda’s $20,000 (US) CR-V certainly is a better vehicle than the one it replaces. That being said, it still lacks an optional V6 engine, three rows of seats, or the dynamic interiors the competition offers. Thus this Honda must be loved for what it is; reliable transportation for those who relish its safety, resale, and low maintenance. On the other hand, the 166 horsepower engine is noisy, there is more road noise than we expected, and the transmission works overtime to keep the engine on task and thus there can be significant gear hunting around 50 miles per on level ground.

Mom’s view: The table between the front seats is a love-hate affair. It is handy, but everything slides off it when cornering or when stopping. In addition, if you have short arms and have to move the seat forward it is difficult to reach the coin and cup holders on the table. On the love it side it is easy to fold the table up so you can have access to the backseats without having to get out of the vehicle. Fortunately, you can order the optional standard center console instead of the table. There are plenty of drink holders, an underseat drawer, and an optional back shelf that doubles the usability of the rear hatch compartment and is a must have. The rear hatch did not have a remote opening function, but the low mounted handle was very easy to reach and opening and closing it was, well, a snap.

On previous CR-Vs the rear hatch swung to the side and had a heavy spare tire attached. The new model does not have this drawback and is a joy to load and unload. We tested a base version the CR-V and found it pleasingly equipped. I would have liked more horsepower and was surprised a V6 engine was not an option. I was disappointed at the gas mileage as we could barely come close to 22 mpg in mixed driving. I also found the seats a bit thin in the padding department and would have liked a few more features such as inexpensive grocery bag holders.

Safety wise Hondas appear to do very fine. The CR-V comes with four wheel ABS disc brakes, dewpowered airbags, child safety seat connections, stability control, brake assist, a tire-pressure monitor, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. You can order a camera backup monitor on the top-level model and there are parking sensors available. Overall, a nice young person’s car for someone how is practical, frugal, and reliable.

 

Dad’s view: This Honda does not like roughed up roads. It becomes darty when confronted with a variety of highway patches, ruts, and bumps. We had the front wheel drive model and so the all wheel dive version might not have this problem, but I recommend you take the CR-V over some poorly maintained sections of road to check it out yourself, as our test vehicle might have just been an anomaly. Regardless, would consider an upgraded tire and rim package for more stability. However, it does handle quite admirably for what it is around corners when the surface is smoother. As for the suspension it has been tweaked with new alignment settings, a larger anti-roll bar, and a quicker rack and pinion steering set-up. Braking is adequate, but the pedal pressure feels right. The CR-V is based on the excellent Civic underpinnings.

The 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine provides 166 horsepower at 5800 rpm and 161 pound-feet of torque at 4200 rpm which is why the five speed automatic transmission is so busy keeping the power delivery smooth when the engine is going slightly up or down hill. If you have the four-wheel drive model the power goes to the front wheels until there is slippage when the rear wheels receive the torque. Fuel mileage for both is listed as being nearly the same for both versions by the government with 23/28 average ratings. We got less. As for speed, look for 60 mph to appear in about 10 seconds.


College going male’s view: Real windows that actually open and close were a real plus and the backseat room was fairly good for the size of this vehicle, but, as the front, the seats weren’t all that comfortable even with fore and aft adjustments. The stereo was subpar and the reception was the same, but at least there is a standard input jack for MP3 players. If you opt for the GPS you also get a PC card reader and a back-up camera. You can also order heated outside mirrors, leather upholstery, heated front seats, XM Satellite Radio, upgraded stereo amplifier, and a rear subwoofer. The optional CD changer moves from the dash to the center console on GPS equipped models and there is a single CD slot behind the screen.

 

Interior lighting wasn’t as bright as I like considering vehicles such as this frequently carry bags that can spill and their content roll into the most inaccessible places. The doors open very wide and front visibility is excellent, but the larger C pillar does create a blind spot to the rear and side of the Honda. Once I got used to the shifter mounted at the bottom of the dash near the stereo I found it quite easy to use. The headlights were adequate, but the horn was useless. Only the horn on Honda’s natural gas (CNG) Civic was less likely to draw needed attention. Finally, the turning radius is quite large for a vehicle of this length probably owing to the front wheel drive nature of the drive train. I really enjoyed the new CR-V and owners should be happy with their high resale, usability, and quality record.

Working woman’s view: This is clearly a woman’s car and Honda knows this with 60 percent of its sales going to women. Thus they have made it easy to enter the CR-V even when wearing a shorter dress thanks to Honda’s wide opening doors. In one move you get slide in with your purse. The rear doors open a full 90 degrees making it easy to put in a baby seat or a large package strain free. The lightweight rear hatch and the CR-V’s handy size, it is shorter than a Civic, make it easy to use in crowded mall parking lots. There is also a LATCH set-up for those babyseats to be properly secured in all the rear seats. If you have older children the front sunglass holder mounted near the front dome light has a wide-angle mirror to keep track of who is winning the battle in the back seat. The rear seats have a 60/40 split and they fold flat. By the way, Honda does not offer a third row seat option.

The CR-V has a modern look and the much improved rear hatch means you can actually open and close it when parked on a steep hill. The interior is a bit spartan for my taste, but everything there was easy to use, read, and manipulate. You should also note that with certain hairdos the headrests could become uncomfortable. The 15 gallon tank enables you to travel about 300 miles without refueling, although the government rates the CR-V’s range in the 400 mile category. Although the CR-V is marketed right at my demographics I find it just too plain and uneventful. There is no sense of play about it.

Family conference: Honda has a loyal following and this CR-V will not disappoint. It is much better than the previous model and should offer continued excellent resale and quality. If you want more room and power you need to look elsewhere and we would highly recommend the Honda Pilot. For a list of all vehicle websites go to http://www.reacheverychild.com and click on business.

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