Sleek styling, spacious interior, fuel economy, boot space
Hard-plastic cabin, road noise, no low-range gear, basic gearbox, expensive in top trim
The new-for-2012 Honda CR-V is an all-new design that is slightly lighter and apparently more aerodynamic. Built in the United States, it comes in LX, EX and EX-Leather flavours. It is still powered by a 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine with a basic 5-speed automatic transmission, but power has been bumped up a fair bit. Honda now tacks on an improved all-wheel-drive system that still drives the front wheels most of the time but can send torque to the rear wheels anytime, instead of like the old system that used to wait for the front wheels to lose traction and spin first. The 5-seater cabin comes with a quick 60:40 fold-flat rear bench. The LX gets 17-inch alloys, a 4-speaker CD stereo with AUX port, mirror-mounted indicators, ABS, stability control and front airbags. Only the EX and EX-L models get 18-inch wheels, a 6-speaker stereo with USB/AUX ports, cruise control, HID headlights, fog lamps, dual-zone auto a/c, sunroof, Bluetooth, rear camera and an 'i-MID' LCD display. The EX-L itself further gets side-curtain airbags, leather and a power driver's seat.