Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011 Honda CR-V

2011 Honda CR-V Review
The 2011 Honda CR-V ranks 5 out of 23 Affordable Compact SUVs. "It's fun, cute and practical, and it's a bargain,” says The 2011 Honda CR-V is a Renaissance man -- or woman -- of the automotive industry. The Honda CR-V’s ability to accomplish so much has made it an award winner. Other affordable small SUVs make up for the 2011 Honda CR-V’s shortcomings. Fuel economy on the Tiguan, however, is low. It only nets 19/26 mpg city/highway, which is pathetic in comparison to the GMC Terrain’s average of 22/32 mpg city/highway. If you want even better fuel economy, try the Ford Escape Hybrid, which gets 34/31 mpg city/highway. For a compact SUV with a more striking appearance, check out the $22,745 Chevrolet Equinox. The 2011 Honda CR-V has three trim options -- the base LX, mid-level EX and luxurious EX-L. Shoppers can choose between front-wheel and all-wheel drive.

The prices for the "2011 Honda CR-V" models will be announced in the middle of this year. Pricing for the base model should start at $22,700 for the vehicles equipped with front-wheel drive. Meanwhile, those with an all-wheel drive system is priced slightly higher at $23,900.

The Honda CR-V charged into the breach back in 1996, showing traditional SUV buyers that a rapier could work as well as a broadsword. When gas prices turned the body-on-frame market topsy-turvy, might didn't necessarily equal right. This supposedly weak little softroader stole the SUV sales crown from atop the Ford Explorer's head where it had sat untouched for 15 years from 1991 through 2006.

But the battlefield has changed and the 2010 Honda CR-V is facing formidable challengers on all sides. Most offer a V6 engine, having grown in size and power to resemble those mid-size SUVs they once displaced. The 2010 model is armed with 14 more horsepower and a long list of standard and optional equipment. So... is the CR-V this segment's once and future king or is time to crown another? This newest CR-V still has the same Outback-aping lower cladding and controversially curved D-pillar in profile, but the rear bumper gets a bit of liposculpturing to differentiate it from the '09.

Our "Polished Metal Metallic" (new for '10) EX-L also sported the new split five spoke (a.k.a. 10-spoke) 17-inch alloy wheels that you'll find on EX and EX-L models. The 2010 Honda CR-V EX-L w/Navi 4WD (an irksome mouthful) is the top-of-the-line model and comes ready for battle with a sunroof, Bluetooth, touch-screen navigation, TPMS, leather, back-up cam and automatic headlights – a first for the Honda CR-V.

That MSRP, we might add, is the highest price you can pay for a CR-V. The electronic "ears" in the Honda system did a great job of listening too, only flubbing our commands once or twice.

It's a big cargo hold, measuring 35.7 cubic feet even before you fold down the rear bench. The stereo sounded great, the navigation system got us where we needed to go without hassle, the climate control system worked perfectly and calls using the Bluetooth system were clear. The CR-V's upgraded 2.4-liter DOHC i-VTEC four-cylinder has corralled 14 more horses since last year, with output now rated a more class-worthy 180 horsepower. While the 2010 power boost is much appreciated, this CR-V is definitely not as fast as a RAV-4 or Equinox. Those tires contributed to the noticeable road noise at freeway speeds, but the CR-V's cabin isn't any louder than its competitors.

Times have certainly changed in the SUV world. Our admittedly loaded 2010 Honda CR-V EX-L w/Navi 4WD was priced at a healthy $30,455, but offered more amenities than most shoppers will need. The CR-V's numbers, however, don't make it a standout on paper. Make no mistake though, the 2010 Honda CR-V is no Prince Charming. The extra power, equipment and refinement of the 2010 model should keep it near the top a bit longer.

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