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.
Few vehicles do as many things as well as the 2008 Honda CR-V. As practical as a backpack, this benchmark crossover is an easy, one-size-fits-most car choice.
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 johnp (FL) on Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good gas milage, cheap to maintain, comfortible to"
Cons: "NONE, USE Honda only parts no aftermarket."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Never has had any unexpected maintence. Just oil changes, set of tires change, brake pads changed and wiper blade changes. Vehicle has never needed any other maintence. Paint holding up exceptionally well car sits outside in the weather at all times. No rust, or oxidizing any where on body or under carrige. Granted this car is driven safely with no youth drivers. Best car I ever owned. Have made numerous long distance drives with no leg or back fatigue proplems. Roomy interior too converts to carry 5 average adults or seats all fold down for long/large items to be carried."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By spikeiggy (MA) on Friday, November 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,608overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliable, low maintenance, great on gas"
Cons: "seats could be a little more comfy, add a pillow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"excellent car for the price point value, very reliable, great on gas, comfortable for long drives and seats 5 with the options to put the back seat down for cargo room. overall it is the best car I have owned, and my third Honda purchased. go buy one today! you will be happy"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Mindy (TX) on Wednesday, November 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfortable seats, better gas mileage"
Cons: "bigger doors mean less window space, bigger tires"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The sun visor is too little to block sun, no window guard to block rain and trim around windows coming off causing floor to flood when it rains. Warranty doesn't cover trim. I believe this vehicle was over-priced. Don't like this design. The comfort and gas mileage was better than others. Liked '04 model a lot better!"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By kernelpanic911 (NY) on Sunday, October 13, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Cons: "Engine vibration, engine noise on hills"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"The 2011 Honda CR/V EX AWD is a decent car, but highly over rated. Until I drove other vehicles in this class, I thought it was enjoyable but not anymore. My dissatisfaction is in the engine vibration at idle, which is a common characteristic of the CR/V. The 5 speed transmission is programed for fuel economy which created early upshifts and poor performance, especially at 45-50 MPH. Road noise at highway speed is louder then the GMC Terrain or the Subaru Forrester and Ford Escape. Honda gets a free pass when their vehicles are deficient but stick a Chevrolet badge on the CR/V and watch how the ratings diminish. Would not buy another CR/V and look forward to handing it in at the end of the lease."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By tom (VA) on Sunday, October 13, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "console poor design"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"the center console is a poor design, the compartment next to cup holders opens in wrong direction and holds things like pens? too small. The rear storage is deep and not lit and also contains your 12v plug and phone jack, next to impossible to find the plug.The front of the center console looks like it opens for storage but doesn't? May sound petty but this drives me nuts and have told wife on many occasion it going for trade. Otherwise this is a very nice vehicle."
By Shannon on Wednesday, October 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great gas mileage, lots of leg room"
Cons: "Only 5 passenger seating"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Im needing more passenger seating. Sad to see this vehicle go. Handles great on ice and in snow. Plenty of power. Enough cargo space for my adventures. Gas mileage is amazing. Love the navigation system."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful