By KBB.com Editors
When the Honda CR-V first appeared in 1997, the SUV landscape had a far different look than it does today. Then, the market offered very few compact four-wheel-drive wagon/SUV crosses, and the new Honda was the head of a very small class. These days, rising gas prices have chased many drivers out of their large SUVs and, in the hopes of downsizing, into smaller, more fuel-efficient transportation. As a result, the roads are now becoming thick with crossover utility vehicles, but the third-generation CR-V continues to prove a resilient competitor.
There's little pizzazz in practical. If you chafe in sensible shoes, a compact crossover may not be the right fit for you. If only Honda hadn't dropped the available manual transmission, there might be some sporty salvation.
The luxurious EX-L trim gains dual-zone automatic temperature control, premium audio and an eight-way power driver's seat with power lumbar.
Driving Impressions On the road, the 2008 Honda CR-V has a well-integrated feel. The four-cylinder engine is right-sized for daily driving duties and the automatic transmission shifts smoothly. The only interruption to...the quiet inside the cabin is some noise from the engine in high-demand situations, such as when the transmission kicks down to a lower gear for passing. Beyond that, there's not much road noise and little wind noise, even when the moonroof (standard on EX and EX-L) is open. The CR-V has a cushioned ride that belies its size and handling is stable and predictable. Visibility is good in all directions, even to the rear. The four-wheel-drive system is automatic, requiring no input from the driver, and shifts up to 70 percent of available torque from front to rear wheels as needed for improved traction.
Refined Ride Quality
A compact car with a big-car ride, the CR-V has a composed feel, easily rolling over rough roads without ruffling the passengers.
Sensible Size, Flexible Floor Plan
Right-sized, real-world dimensions and a highly adaptable interior are two reasons why the CR-V is Honda's biggest seller worldwide.
Like its predecessors, the 2008 Honda CR-V's defining feature is a highly flexible floor plan. Split rear seats fold easily and tumble forward. Doing so increases cargo capacity from a generous minimum of 35.7 cubic feet to a maximum of 72.9 cubic feet. Lift-over height in back is low. Second-row seats also recline slightly and the headrests have been redesigned for a visibility-enhancing low profile when not in use. Rear-seat travel is adjustable fore and aft, front seats have enough travel to accommodate taller folks and all trim levels benefit from fold-down, inside armrests. Rear-seat legroom has been reduced by about an inch compared to the previous generation, but six-footers can still fit front and rear simultaneously, though it's a tad tighter in back now. The CR-V's dual-dial dash is an easy read, controls and switchgear are all within arm's reach and simple to operate and inside storage areas abound.Exterior
The first two generations of the CR-V made their marks by combining exceptional utility with enviable reliability. They were high function, but low fashion. This time around, Honda aims to lay claim to that portion of the new buyers flocking to this segment who are style-conscious. Toward that end, the 2008 Honda CR-V's still-practical package is wrapped in a more fashion-forward design. The side view is dramatically different than past CR-Vs, with an elliptically-shaped greenhouse. Up front are slash-cut headlamps and a laid-back windshield, while the rear benefits from a large window and the removal of the hatch-mounted spare tire.
The 2008 Honda CR-V is offered in three trim levels: LX, EX, and EX-L. Standard across the board is a tire-pressure-monitoring system, 17-inch wheels, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, an MP3/auxilliary audio input jack, speed-sensitive volume control and a "conversation mirror" on the back of the sun visor. LX and EX models have a retractable center tray table between the front seats, while EX-L versions have a fixed, floor-mounted console. Two covered storage containers are included---the larger of which is big enough to hold 24 CDs. EX and EX-L models gain a folding, removable, dual-level shelf in the cargo bay for added storage options, while the EX-L has an eight-way power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and an upgraded audio system, with 270 watts of power, a six-disc, center console CD changer, seven speakers (including subwoofer) and a digital audio-card reader.
Honda's Real Time four-wheel-drive system is available on all trim levels. A GPS navigation system with a large, six-and-a-half-inch screen, voice recognition and rearview camera function is offered on EX-L models.
The 2008 Honda CR-V has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 166 horsepower and delivers its 161 pound-feet of torque across a wider power band than previously. The four-cylinder engine is linked exclusively to a five-speed automatic transmission. Dropping the five-speed manual transmission---formerly standard equipment on the CR-V---may be lamented by mileage maximizers, but Honda says that the demand for stick-shift CR-Vs among buyers is low.
2.4-liter in-line 4
166 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
161 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 (2WD), 20/26 (4WD)
By Marge on Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Want new car
Pros: "comfortable drive, very reliable, no problems"
Cons: "High road noise and no gutter on the trunk rim"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"One complaint I have about this car is there is no gutter on the trunk lid. When you open it after a rain, it drips all over you. And the road noise on freeways is bad."
By Becca on Sunday, September 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great in the snow and great price."
Cons: "noisy back tires and driver's window"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The only issues with Honda's are the driver's window rattles, I had this same issue with my last Honda, and there is to much noise from the back tires if the windows in the back are down. I still love my CR-V. I can haul the family, dog, luggage, and ice chest with no problem. My 4WD CR-V has no problem plowing through the snow. Looking to sell mine to buy a new one with seat warmers and back up camera."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By milt on Thursday, September 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "price and options, and roomy"
Cons: "too many maintenance issues rough riding noisey"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"If you ride with any of the windows down it sounds like a freight train roaring. The ride is very rough. Driver seat foam material started falling out 2nd year. Continental tires wore out in 18000 miles. ( has had 4 sets of tires) Before 100,000 I replaced ac/compressor, starter and driver window regulator, passenger door lock and link arms. I have records for all. Lot of options good price not much more. Honda quality means motor and drive line not much more"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Honda owner on Thursday, August 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, handles great!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had a number of cars in my lifetime, but this CRV is terrific! Too bad the newer CRV's that Honda manufactured did not keep this design…this year stands out from all of the newer ones because it doesn't look like every crossover on the road. Very dependable, comfortable, and as I said earlier, I LOVE this car!!!"
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By LN on Monday, August 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,973overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "The heated seats are great. No blindspots."
Cons: "Mileage could be a little better."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I always owned Toyota vehicles, and was looking to buy a 4WD SUV instead of a sedan. Someone recommended this car to me, and I'm not sorry! I test drove this car, and fell in love with it! It handles beautifully in all kinds of weather, including snowstorms, and is very comfortable and easy to drive. I was a little nervous at first, driving a bigger vehicle, but got accustomed to it very quickly. It's easy to get into and out of, you don't feel like you're "climbing" into or out of it. The only problem I have is my average mileage is a little lower than I would like (19 mpg), but I drive very little and all city miles. My dealer keeps trying to buy this vehicle back from me, but my affair is far from over!"
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By hkh on Thursday, August 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,752overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "It is zippy, fun and functional."
Cons: "The back seat belts can be difficult to buckle."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love the look, the all wheel drive and the power. The only thing we don't like about the car is the back seat is not very comfortable on long rides and the seat belts in the back can be difficult to buckle."