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 Girly Girl on Sunday, September 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, convenient size, great gas mileage"
Cons: "road noise, uncomfortable on long trips"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I love my CRV around town. It is easy to park and convenient. The hatchback and storage is so easy for hauling groceries, etc. However, it is not very comfortable for long trips and the road noise is a real concern. Wish it weren't so. I would love to purchase another CRV."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By bigd on Saturday, September 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Cons: "very spartan, uncomfortable seats, marginal A/C."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"If you are over 40 and NOT fat you will probably find these seats to be very uncomfortable. They are hard and crowned in the middle. A test drive won't tell you how bad the seat is, only after daily driving is it evident. I had the local upholstery guy take the bottom seat apart to try to fix this issue. We were able to get the crown out of it but it is still a poorly designed and constructed seat. Air conditioning is marginal also. Disappointed in our 2013 CRV EX-L after all the talk about Honda's being so good. window lock, radio controls, blind spot mirror on right, marginal power with air and people and so on. Had to buy sunroof and leather to get a powered driver seat. I think I'll go back to Ford/Lincoln products."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By duffer on Saturday, September 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Classy, versitile and reliable"
Cons: "Road noise, road noise, road noise."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The only problem I have with this vehicle is the excessive road noise. It appears that more insulation and seals around the windows and doors would be beneficial."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By mags on Sunday, September 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "all the airbags , cargo capacity"
Cons: "would have preferred a vehicle with 4WD not AWD"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Only selling it because I lost my job and need money. It handles well, quick response and recovery to road hazards. Has been averaging 18.4 mpg, air conditioning constantly on, short trips, Long Island traffic knocked the mpg down from about 19.2. I would have preferred to have the second row seats to fold flat. For a crossover SUV, this CRV can handle trips to discount warehouses about as well as the old 2 door Chevy Blazer I owned several years ago. Amazing cargo capacity. Handles well in bad weather. I only got stuck twice (as did the fire trucks and ambulances)driving to work at the hospital during the blizzard of 2013."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Patty on Sunday, September 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very comfortable and loads of storage"
Cons: "Visibility and no basic amenities"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"The car has performed well. I was disappointed in the lack of USB port, sateliite radio and the blind spots that are very prominent. In 2011 Honda added USB, blue tooth , satellite radio but did nothing to correct the blind spots or rear visibility."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
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."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful