2012 Honda CR-V
by John Davis
The all-new, fourth-generation, 2012 Honda CR-V is more of an evolution than a revolution. That’s easy to understand as Honda decided not to mess with a winning formula. But even for the CR-V, it takes constant tinkering to stay on top.
For 2012, the exterior has taken a fresher turn. Styling is now far more engaging. But, Honda resisted the trend toward making the CR-V larger, as the new body panels actually fit tighter around dimensions that are very similar to last year.
The front end has a bit of a squashed look as the lower black fascia pushes up toward the new 3-bar grille. Large multi-reflector headlights set behind a big clear lens that wraps way back into the fender. Down the side, there’s more body panel sculpting, and the side mirrors add an “extended view” beveled edge for a wider rear view. At the rear, the traditional high mounted vertical tail lamps remain, only now they’re much larger and wrap into the fenders.
Interior room grows a bit for 2012 as the new CR-V offers true room for 5. Seats are very comfortable up front; and a flat floor and wide bench provide everyday space for 3 in the back. But, gone is the almost flat floor in the front cabin. In its place is a useful center console with a huge storage bin. Seat-up cargo space grows from last year, and the already low load floor has been dropped even further.
Borrowed from the Civic is the novel iMID information screen. An SMS text messaging function can “read” incoming texts to you, and let you respond with one of 6 prepared responses by touch screen, or voice command.
But, keeping your focus on the road and not texting will reveal that the driving experience of the CR-V hasn’t changed all that much. A stiffer chassis and the lower ride height contribute to an even more solid ride, and surer cornering, but this CR-V is still more comfortable than sporting.
The engine is a slightly revised 2.4-liter I4. Reduced internal friction and intake improvements add 5 horsepower over last year for 185. The only available transmission remains a 5-speed automatic, but gearing has been revised with an eye more toward fuel economy. An ECON mode is also new.
The CR-V also adds a new electronic all-wheel drive system. Even on dry pavement, some torque is diverted to the rear wheels when starting off. AWD ground clearance is unchanged at 6.7 inches.
We think CR-V fans will be very pleased with this redesign. After all, it’s more of what they bought their CR-V for in the first place. Plus, it’s changed enough to both entice new buyers, and give rivals an even higher bar to cross.
If you desire to find out more about the 2012 Honda CR-V, be sure to catch MotorWeek’s Road Test of this new compact crossover on episode #3113 which begins airing on PBS stations on December 3, 2011. For a complete listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to www.motorweek.org and click the “Find Your Station” tab. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity (Formerly HD Theater) cable channel.