2009 CR-V New Car Test Drive
The Honda CR-V is among the best of the compact SUVs. The CR-V offers a smooth ride and responsive handling. The four-cylinder engine employs variable intake valve timing to optimize horsepower and torque for acceleration and cruising speeds and it's paired with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Inside is a nicely designed cabin, comfortable and convenient. Everything by way of instruments, controls and storage is, respectively, logically arrayed, properly placed, and reasonably plentiful. Buyers choose from three models: the basic LX, mid-range EX, or leather-upholstered EX-L, which can be fitted with an optional navigation system that incorporates a rearview video camera for safe and easy backing.
The CR-V features one of the nicest cargo compartments in this class. The back seats fold perfectly flat and without the holes that can be hazardous to dogs.
Real Time 4WD is offered on all three models. The 2009 fuel economy figures from the U.S. government's EPA rate the front-wheel-drive CR-V at 20/27 miles per gallon City/Highway, and the four-wheel-drive version at 20/26 mpg.
This latest-generation CR-V was completely redesigned and re-engineered for the 2007 model year and is more powerful and more comfortable than the previous-generation models. For 2009, the only changes are three new exterior colors. Built on a unit-body structure, the CR-V is considered a crossover. All have four doors and seat five.
All Honda CR-V models come with a 166-hp four-cylinder engine and a five-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is available for all models ($1200).
The CR-V LX ($21,245) comes with fabric upholstery, air conditioning, cruise control, powered outside mirrors that fold, power windows, power central locking, driver's-seat height adjustment, 60/40-split rear seatbacks that recline and fold, tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA stereo, trip computer/information center, a collapsible tray between the front seats, and 17-inch steel wheels with P225/65R17 tires.
The EX ($23,495) adds a tilt-and-slide power moonroof; intermittent rear window wiper/washer; steering wheel-mounted audio controls for a six-speaker stereo with an in-dash, six-CD changer; dual-deck cargo shelf; lights-and-horn security system; rear privacy glass; and an outside ambient temperature gauge.
The EX-L ($26,045) features leather-trimmed seats, armrests, shifter, and steering wheel; heated front seats; XM satellite radio with a 90-day trial subscription; front center console with storage for 24 CDs (replacing the collapsible tray); dual-zone automatic climate control; eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support; and a 270-watt, seven-speaker (including subwoofer) premium audio system.
The EX-L can also be equipped with voice-recognition GPS-based navigation and a rearview camera. It is then priced as a separate model ($27,745). And the CD changer moves into what was the CD storage space in the console.
No other options are offered, although Honda-approved accessories available from dealers include wheel locks; attachments/racks for bicycles, kayak, skis, and surfboard; a roof box; auto-dim inside mirror with compass; amplified bass speaker system; and backup sensors.
Safety features that come standard include the required three-point seatbelts at all five seating positions; child safety seat anchors (LATCH); front airbags; front seat-mounted side airbags (to minimize upper body injuries in side impacts); roof-mounted, front and rear-seat side-curtain airbags (to minimize head injuries in side impacts and rollovers); and front-seat active head restraints (to minimize neck injuries in rear impacts).
For crash avoidance there are antilock brakes (which let the driver steer during panic stops); electronic brake-force distribution (which optimizes braking power front-to-rear during emergency stops); brake assist (which senses impending emergency brake application and boosts pedal pressure); Vehicle Stability Assist (Honda's electronic stability control system that attempts to minimize skidding in turns); and tire pressure monitors (which warn of dangerous drops in tire pressure).