I have recommended the Honda CR-V for many years when someone asks about a small SUV. It has always been in my top 3 most recommended. I have been critical of Honda at times for not changing their products quickly enough, and I thought they should have updated the CR-V for the 2011 model year, but it was a few months ago when the 2012 debuted. This is not a critical statement, but Honda played it safe with the 2012, and it’s hard to blame them given the record of CR-V reliability.
I have the 2012 Honda CR-V EX-L all-wheel drive version this week. This is the top of the line CR-V and from an exterior view, you notice some changes for 2012 that sort of jump out at you, specifically from the rear and sides. It is hard to believe that CR-V was first introduced in 1995 and the 2012 is the 4th generation. It is lighter for better fuel economy, a little smaller on the outside, but slightly larger on the inside.
You get the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with a 5-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is good in town and on the highway, even with all-wheel drive.
The EX-L package gets you Navigation system, Bluetooth, upgraded stereo, moonroof, rearview camera and heated, leather seats. The interior is nice, nothing over the top, but it is a compact SUV and the seats are comfortable, the leather very nice. There is a lot of cargo room in the back and it is huge with the rear seats down. Major kudos to Honda for the ease of operating the back seat. Pull one strap, and the seats fold down easier than any small SUV I’ve been in.
Driving dynamics are nothing special, to be honest, but the CR-V is about fuel economy and reliability, and there is no doubt in my mind people who buy the CR-V will be pleased with both.
I will continue to recommend the CR-V, but there were several disappointments. One is road noise, I find it to be noisier inside than some of the others. I wish too that Honda had gone to a 6-speed automatic, but they improved the fuel economy for 2012 so that helps. Last, there is an Economy button that you can push to maximize your gas mileage, but when you do, it limits the air conditioning and you really have to push for acceleration.
The CR-V is a wildly reliable small SUV. It is not sexy, it is just a good quality, good gas mileage, nice small SUV that is sort of like the Energized Bunny…it just goes and goes and goes.
What I liked most: Fuel economy and record of reliability.
What I would change: More insulation and a 6-speed automatic.
MSRP: As tested, $30,605-fully loaded.
Fuel Economy: Rated at 22 City/30 Highway, doing better in town.
2012 CR-V EX-L in a few words: Very reliable SUV with good room inside.