Test Drive: 2012 Honda CR-V EX-L/NAVI

? Honda?s CR-V for 2012 gains refinement and new look”

Honda has long made it a practice to not rush into anything unless it shows a great deal of promise, and even then, the road to development is one of measured restraint. There are several cases in Honda?s past history to illustrate this fact, but simply stated, Honda rarely makes wholesale changes to vehicles that they manufacture, employing an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary philosophy in their approach to development.

The Honda CR-V for 2012 represents an excellent example of the company?s aversion to making unnecessary modifications or enhancements to products in their portfolio that are highly successful in terms of sales.

At first glance, the fourth-generation Honda CR-V, even though it is all new, doesn?t appear to have changed dramatically ? it still looks like a CR-V. But place it alongside its predecessor and the differences are readily apparent. This latest iteration CR-V adds not only new styling, but increased functionality along with improved fuel economy.

Headlining significant changes are a more efficient engine design with improved horsepower and torque, plus an all-new Real Time All-Wheel-Drive feature with Intelligent Control System?. All 2013 CR-Vs will be powered by a 2.4-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine that delivers 185 horsepower along with 163 lb-ft. of torque. The enhanced engine mates to a standard 5-speed automatic transmission with higher gear ratios. EPA-estimated fuel economy[i] is rated at 23/31/26 mpg city/highway/combined (FWD) for an increase of +2/+3/+2 mpg compared to last year?s CR-V, and a compact SUV-class leading 22/30/25 mpg city/highway/combined (AWD) ?representing an increase of +1/+3/+2 mpg compared over the previous model. Eco Assist, a new feature on the CR-V for 2012, indicates operational efficiency to the driver via ?green? visual cues surrounding the speedometer, and a selectable ECON Mode alters operating characteristics of the vehicle to support an efficient driving style.

New standard features for the 2012 CR-V include an ingenious Easy Fold-Down 60/40 Split Rear Seat? – a vast improvement over the old seat stowage system, and a range of standard technology features. New high-tech features found on all models include: a Bluetooth?[ii] HandsFreeLink? phone interface; a full-color intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) and a multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines. Also, as a first for Honda, every 2012 CR-V will include an SMS text messaging function that can read received texts from compatible cell phones aloud over the audio system. Another first is the introduction of a Pandora? Internet Radio interface[iii], compatible with the Apple? iPhone?, which works with the vehicle?s audio controls and i-MID.

The 2012 Honda 5-passenger CR-V represents an ideal balance in size and capability in the entry level SUV marketplace. It will be available in 5 levels of trim starting with the base LX model, which now comes with more standard equipment than before. Next up is the CR-V EX trim, followed by EX-L models, which feature uplevel equipment packages. The CR-V EX-L/Navi obviously comes with Honda?s navigation package, while the CR-V EX-L/RES adds a rear seat entertainment system to the equation. The ?L? designation, by the way stands for Luxury.

In terms of its visual appeal, the new body displays a more dynamic and sophisticated appearance than the previous generation. The familiar vertical taillamp assemblies remain, but are actually larger and more prominent, which unfortunately tends to interfere with rearward vision. The interior layout is more spacious and accommodating with a roomy new center console as standard, and an overall lower cargo floor height allows for easy loading and unloading. The new Easy Fold-Down 60/40 Split Rear Seat makes accessing the full capability of the cargo area much more convenient than traditional folding seats. Each side of the rear seat can be folded nearly flat into the front of the cargo area using one of the release levers located near the tailgate, or a pull-strap positioned on the seat side.

My test 2012 Honda CR-V 5-door SUV came in EX-L trim with the Navigation package and in AWD configuration. The base price was set at $29,795 while Destination and Delivery charges bumped the final tally to $30,605. The exterior was sprayed Opal Sage Metallic, while the interior was done in Biege and Charcoal tones.

SUMMARY: ?Honda is referring to this latest CR-V as a Super CR-V. It certainly exhibits a greater visual appeal overall by enhanced streamlining, resulting in an 8 percent improvement in aerodynamics. Character lines showcase gentler curves and smoother surfaces.

In the performance department, the focus is primarily on economy, and the engine when prodded in a spirited manner is noticeably vocal ? not a bad thing really, but a turbocharged engine wouldn?t have to work as hard while producing greater power levels.

The cabin delivers a more sophisticated and refined ambience with more useable space, featuring greater functionality and versatility.

Safety hasn?t been forgotten either, as standard equipment and features include: VSA, an electronic stability control system; an Anti-lock Braking System with Brake Assist; side-curtain airbags; front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System); and a front seat design that can help reduce the severity of neck injury in the event of a rear collision. An Advanced Compatibility Engineering? (ACE?) body structure in the front of the vehicle aids in making the vehicle highly effective in absorbing and dispersing energy encountered in a frontal collision.

The 2012 Honda CR-V is also covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile new-car limited warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion limited warranty, which should add significantly to the buyer?s peace of mind.

In the final analysis, the Honda CR-V for 2012 (make that Super CR-V) continues to evolve, rendering it a considerable improvement over that first generation CR-V that made its debut in 1997. Honda has once again taken a successful vehicle and made it better, without losing its familial appeal.

 

SPECIFICATIONS:

Honda CR-V AWD EX-L Navi-?12

Base Price:?????????????? ??????????? $29,795.

Price as Tested: ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? $30,605.

Engine Type and Size:??????????? 2.4-liter i-VTEC, DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder with electronic fuel injection and drive-by-wire throttle and Eco-Assist with ECON mode.

Horsepower (bhp):??????????? ??????????? 185??????????? @ 7,000??????????? rpm

Torque (ft./ lbs.):??????????? ??????????? 163??????????? @ 4,400??????????? rpm

Transmission:??????????? ??????????? Five-speed automatic with Grade Logic Control and ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Hill Start Assist.

Drive Train:??????????? Transversely mounted front engine / Front wheel drive or Real Time AWD? with Intelligent Control System?.

Suspension:??????????? ???Front ? MacPherson strut with stabilizer bar.

?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?Rear – ?Multi-link with stabilizer bar.

Brakes: ? ? ?Power-assisted Four-wheel discs (vented front) with ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ABS, EBD, BA and VSA with Traction Control.

Tires: ? Bridgestone Dueler HP Sport /AS 225/65R17 102T ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? mounted on 5-double ??V-Geo?-spoke alloy wheels.

Wheelbase: ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 103.1??????????? inches

Length Overall:??????????? ??????????? 178.3??????????? inches

Width: ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?71.6??????????? inches

Height: ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 67.4??????????? inches ? FWD / 65.1 inches AWD.

Curb Weight: ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 3,545??????????? lbs.

Fuel Capacity:??????????? ??????????? ? 15.3??????????? gallons

EPA Mileage Estimates:??????????? ? 22??????????? mpg city / 25??????????? mpg highway

Drag Coefficient:??????????? ??????????? 8 percent improvement over predecessor.

0 – 60 mph:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Not tested