Let’s start with the exterior. After all, the CR-V was restyled for 2012. It has a slightly more aggressive look with the back window line moving up instead of sloping down. It’s nice, but I guess I wanted more. It’s almost as, knowing the CR-V is such a great selling car, Honda didn’t want to take any risks. Come on, show me what you’ve got! Honda is known for innovation, why not lead the pack?
The same is true for the interior. Again, it’s nice. I can’t find fault with the way it’s laid out at all. It’s ergonomically perfect. But again, no excitement. Now, I know this is a crossover aimed directly at the soccer-mom heartland, but how about something slightly more stylish? The dash was redesigned, and while it has a sleeker look, nothing about it stands out. I especially didn’t like the sliding center console cover between the seats. It looked decidedly old-school.
Honda has tried to make the car more interactive. It even has a connection that can allow the display to show text messages. Unfortunately, it only works with a couple of Blackberry models and one Droid. It can connect with your phone by Bluetooth, but then that’s pretty standard in this range of car.
One function is getting lots of praise: The easy fold down rear seat is easy to use with a light touch. But is that what Honda really wants me bragging about? The CR-V’s overall length went down an inch, and the interior cargo space also went down as well. It’s has two cubic feet less at 70.9 cf.
Under the hood, there’s a 2.4 liter, 185 horsepower engine. Enough power to keep up with traffic moving away from the light, but not enough to make you feel like you could whip around slower cars on the freeway. Mileage is decent, 23 city/31 highway for the front-wheel drive model and 22/30 for the all-wheel drive. You can use the econ mode to stretch your mileage, but you’ll lose a little power. However, it’s not a drastic drop. The 2012 CR-V uses a five-speed transmission (just like the 2011 model) which has caused a number of reviewers to wonder why Honda didn’t upgrade to a six-speed this year. Apparently, too bold.
Base price for the LX model is around $22,500 while the EX-L all-wheel drive with navigation will set you back close to $30,000. The warranty is three years or 36,000 miles. According to the 2012 JD Power Initial Quality Study, the Honda CR-V delivers right out of the box. It’s the top-rated vehicle in the compact crossover group. JD Power also noted that despite introducing a redesigned model, Honda didn’t skip a beat and owners once again gave it top marks for a new car. What more could you ask for?
If you’re looking for a crossover that will give just about everything most drivers will want or expect, the 2012 Honda CR-V will deliver. If you’re looking for a car that leave a smile on your face, or cause you to glance back as you walk away, you’ll have to find somewhere else to fill your emotional automotive void.