By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
A perennial best-seller in the compact SUV field, the Honda CR-V gets a full makeover for 2012 as it seeks to maintain preeminence in a fiercely-competitive market segment. Honda endowed the fourth generation of its versatile five-passenger hauler with an even more sophisticated look, feel and level of standard equipment, while retaining all of the basic character traits that served it so well in the past. As before, the 2012 Honda CR-V is available in LX, EX and leather-lined EX-L trims, all powered by a 4-cylinder engine and offering the choice of standard front-drive or optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) configurations. In addition to current key rivals, headed by the Chevrolet Equinox and Toyota RAV4, the 2012 CR-V will have to fend off challenges from two formidable all-new players: The Mazda CX-5 and the fully-redesigned Ford Escape.
While a bounty of changes inside and out endow the 2012 Honda CR-V with a new level of user-friendly appeal, this latest incarnation retains its signature car-like driving feel and superb flexibility while delivering even better fuel economy.
Anyone hoping that Honda would break tradition and finally offer the CR-V with an optional V6 engine and available three-row seating like the Kia Sorento and Toyota RAV4 will be disappointed.
A comprehensive redesign brings more contemporary visual flair and greater functionality to the entire 2012 Honda CR-V package, along with even better fuel economy. It also gains a host of new features, including an available rear-seat entertainment system and an upgraded "intelligent" version of the optional Real Time all-wheel drive.
Driving Impressions Building on the Honda CR-V's already-stellar reputation for being easy to drive and easy to live with, changes to the 2012 iteration have raised those benchmarks in modest but genuinely...meaningful ways. Extensive noise abatement efforts have yielded a quieter, better-isolated passenger compartment, while an even more rigid unit-body structure, coupled with revised suspension tuning, gives the 2012 CR-V improved handling characteristics. Like the 2012 Civic, the new CR-V also is fitted with Honda's new Motion-Adaptive electric power steering system that interfaces with the standard stability control to automatically encourage proper corrective inputs when it senses slippery or uneven road conditions during cornering or braking. For ultimate four-season security, the CR-V also introduces the automaker's new Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System. Smaller, lighter and quicker to respond than the existing Real Time setup, it smoothes out initial acceleration and can transfer up to 100 percent of torque to the rear wheels if necessary.
Intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID)
All 2012 Honda CR-V models come with a new, 5.0-inch LCD color screen in the center of the dash that allows the driver to access and control a range of functions using buttons on the steering wheel.
Easy-fold rear seats
The backs on the 2012 Honda CR-V's new 60/40-split rear bench now flop forward at the pull of a lever conveniently located on either side of the cargo bay to create a near-flat load floor that's over five inches longer than the one in the current CR-V.
A complete redesign gives the 2012 Honda CR-V's passenger compartment a more sophisticated overall look and feel, highlighted by a smartly sculpted dash, restyled gauges and new switchgear. Revised front seats that offer greater comfort and support flank a more accommodating center console with bigger cupholders and a much larger covered center stow bin that houses USB and auxiliary inputs as well as a 12-volt power point. Although the 2012 CR-V's overall interior dimensions are largely unchanged from the previous model, its best-in-class cargo area now offers a bit more space than before with the rear seat up, but marginally less when it's folded down.Exterior
Remaining true to the vision previewed in the recent CR-V Concept, the 2012 Honda CR-V maintains the same relative scale as the current model but boasts bolder and more aerodynamic bodywork set off by edgier front and rear fascia treatments. A more steeply-raked windshield and slightly lower roofline effectively complement the new CR-V's higher-profile grille and lamp treatments, while a large single-piece liftgate, coupled with a significantly lower lift-over height, eases loading and unloading chores. All LX models are fitted with 16-inch steel wheels and 215/70 all-season tires, while EX/EX-L versions have 225/65 tires on 17-inch alloy wheels.
The 2012 Honda CR-V LX boasts a full range of power assists, a 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with USB/AUX inputs, Bluetooth HandsFree Link, Pandora Internet Radio interface, read-aloud SMS text messaging capability, air conditioning, an intelligent Multi-Information Display, multifunction steering wheel, multi-angle rearview camera, keyless entry, cruise control and a tilt/telescoping steering column. The CR-V EX adds various interior and exterior enhancements, a power moonroof, privacy glass, alloy wheels and a security system, while the EX-L gains leather upholstery, a power driver's seat, heated front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, XM Radio and more. All CR-Vs feature stability/traction control, anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, Hill Start Assist and front, front-side and side-curtain airbags.
In keeping with its longstanding practice of offering vehicles largely in "mono-spec" trim levels, options for the 2012 Honda CR-V are extremely limited. The LX, EX and EX-L can be fitted with the new Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System, while CR-V EX-L buyers can opt to add either the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with a 6.5-inch dash-mounted touch-screen or the new DVD-based Rear Seat Entertainment system that features a single 7.0-inch hi-resolution LCD screen that flips down from the headliner.
The sole powertrain combination in all 2012 Honda CR-V models is the familiar 2.4-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine matched with the equally-familiar 5-speed automatic transmission. Friction-reduction efforts have helped bump the engine's output from 180 to 185 horsepower, and similar internal tweaks to the autoshifter, coupled with a comprehensive ratio revamp, collectively yield better fuel economy figures for both front-drive and all-wheel-drive CR-Vs. The former now has an estimate of 23/31 mpg city/highway EPA marks, while the latter is estimated at 22/30 mpg. To help in the mileage-maxing cause, all 2012 CR-Vs feature an energy-efficient multistage alternator and come with Honda's Eco Assist system that includes the green "ECON" button on the dash that can modify throttle mapping as well as operation of the air conditioning and cruise control. Despite its slightly lower curb weight and modest power increase, acceleration on the 2012 CR-V feels very much like its 2011 predecessor. The maximum tow rating also remains unchanged, at 1,500 pounds.
185 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
163 lb-ft of torque @4,300 rpm
EPA City/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg (front-wheel drive), 22/30 mpg (AWD)
By rw in pa on Friday, October 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "safe and reliable"
Cons: "Cheap, uncomfortable, no features, no choices"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I feel sorry for the people who love this car. They must have very low expectations or driven some real dogs in the past. We have been trying to trade ours in for 6 months without loosing too much, the Honda holds its value story is only when the dealer is selling you one. not when you want to trade it in. I finally got the drivers seat less painful to sit in with the help of the local upholstery shop. Cheaply made, few features and very uncomfortable seats with marginal A/C. Also when you buy one you get what they make, lx, ex, ex-l etc. No equipment choices allowed."
6 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By BW on Wednesday, September 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great MPG, Comfortable, User friendly."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Hands down a great simple practical small suv. I get excellent mpg up to 32-35mpg on longer road trips. Average 28 during my weekly commuting. Plenty of cargo room, comfortable to drive, safe. I could go on and on. And how can you beat Honda reliability as this is one of a few Hondas that I have owned. Oh and its great in the snow, perfect for New England winters. Thank you Honda for a great little Utility."
29 people out of 41 found this review helpful
By Constant Driver on Monday, August 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "high mpg, comfortable, bad weather performer"
Cons: "I didn't get two!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I purchased this car after having a Honda Civic. It still feels like I'm driving a car, not an SUV. The CR-V was built on the Civic chassis, which made transitioning way easier than I thought possible. There is great road noise reduction with the windows up. I can get up to 40 mpg with the eco boost on long distance road trips, and my normal driving has me between 25-30mpg, including stop and go drives. The car is comfortable, though maybe not as much for the 6' + crowd. The now standard features of a back up camera and blue tooth connectivity really make driving it a breeze. I have towed a piano, lumber and house supplies, exercise equipment, and a tractor already with it. Plus, the center console can fit my purse in it. My WHOLE purse. Amazing. It did GREAT in the snow storms this year (2013-2014) and handles well in rocky terrain as well. My only regret is I didn't get a moon roof when I bought the car."
28 people out of 38 found this review helpful
By donna on Saturday, August 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "design ,backup camera"
Cons: "noisy drive, mileage not accurate"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I really like the car but there are a couple minor issues. The car is not as quiet a ride as I would like! Also the mileage is not nearly what the sticker stated, I average 23-24 Hwy and 20-21 around town. Sticker had 28 Hwy and 24 around town."
33 people out of 49 found this review helpful
By 2014CR-Vowner on Monday, July 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 437overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Awesome price, great quality, amazing reliability!"
Cons: "Seat warmers not standard, Cargo tray not standard"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned my CR-V for almost a week now! LOVE it! I owned a Honda previously and it was the best vehicle I've ever owned. Bought the CR-V new this year (2014) and have every intention of keeping it for many years to come. It's beautiful to look at (I got it in the Mountain Air Metallic with black interior), it drives like a champ. LOVE the back up camera and the hands off blue tooth! The only thing I've noticed it it DOES lack a bit of "get up and go" when you're going up an on ramp, etc. I drive it in econ mode all the time, but have noticed it doesn't take much pressure on the gas pedal for it to kick out of econ mode. I'm very fuel conscious, so of course, this caught my attention. Also love the huge console compartment. I can fit my entire purse in it...so no more having it fly off the front seat and emptying its contents all over the passenger side floorboard! Also love the cargo area for hauling possessions. LOVE the way the back seats fold down using the lever! GREAT idea Honda! Hoping to be a Honda owner for life if everything goes well! :-)"
22 people out of 27 found this review helpful
By Pebbles on Friday, July 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "great gas millage, made good, very dependable"
Cons: "NO power is it's only flaw but a big one for us"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"This car/AWD sport utility has everything you could ask for, including great traction in bad weather. But it does have one MAJOR flaw. It is very under powered. Anytime you are pulling a mountain, or hauling a full load of adult passengers the cars bogs down real bad. Honda should have made it with a V-6, not a V-4. However it does get great gas millage. Would I buy it again - NO. But I do recommend it for flat land driving or just a great little around-town vehicle. But for anyone who is a seriously driver, buy something with more power."
26 people out of 44 found this review helpful