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3/4 Front Glamour 2012 Honda CR-V

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Expert's Rating


MPG 23 City / 31 Highway
  • Refined interior
  • Smooth and quiet ride
  • Excellent resale value
  • No V6 option
  • Back seat folds awkwardly
  • Base model seats feel cheap
, Automotive Editor -
Honda's CR-V has been a hallmark of crossover practicality for years. The fourth generation of one of the best-selling cars in its class was released for 2012 and comes with a host of refinements over the previous model. But the CR-V remains a spacious five-seater with a large cargo area and powered by an efficient four-cylinder, available with either front or all-wheel drive. It's an ideal choice for a small family that must haul bulky items like strollers, or for people who simply want cargo flexibility but don't want to step up to a larger SUV.


All CR-Vs get a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 185 horsepower mated to a five-speed automatic. That pair gets the CR-V 31 MPG on the highway with front-wheel drive and 30 MPG with all-wheel drive. All models are rated to tow 1,500 lbs. The base LX comes with power windows, mirrors and locks with remote entry, air conditioning, USB input for the four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth and Honda's i-MID system which incorporates phone and audio functions and also allows for streaming music from a Pandora app. EX adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof, alarm and privacy glass. EX-L gets leather seats, heated front seats, a 10-way power driver's seat, heated side mirrors and dual-zone automatic climate control. The EX-L is also available with a DVD Rear Entertainment System or a touchscreen navigation system. The CR-V has 37.2 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats up, 70.9 with them folded. Both numbers rank high for the class.

See what other crossovers made our list of the best of the year

The Ford Escape gets a wide array of engine options, including two turbocharged units that are livelier than the CR-V's engine. The Escape's automatic also has six gears instead of Honda's five, and it's available with more sophisticated technology features such as a power liftgate. But the Escape costs more when compared with many CR-V models, and it's not as spacious. The Kia Sportage is fuel efficient, sports a powerful optional turbocharged engine and has a nicer exterior than the CR-V. But the Sportage is cramped in the rear and cargo area and has a stiffer ride. The Mazda CX-5 leads the compact crossover class on fuel economy and offers a manual transmission, unlike the CR-V. But the Mazda is not quick and lacks the spaciousness of the Honda. Finally, the Toyota RAV4 has an available V6 and third-row seat that Honda doesn't offer. But the RAV4's swing-out liftgate is impractical and the design is getting old.

Even against flashier, faster competitors, the CR-V remains a solid pick because it hits all of the compact crossover essentials. It's a roomy, well-equipped vehicle that is just the right size for a wide variety of people. That must be why it ranks so highly in crossover sales year after year.

Which Style To Buy?

2012 Honda CR-V
Starting price

2012 Honda CR-V EX

Recommended for: people who want a little more style in their CR-V

The EX adds more flash to the essentials in the LX. Outside, there are 17-inch alloy wheels and privacy glass. Inside, passengers can enjoy the power sunroof as well as the security of the alarm system.

2012 Honda CR-V
Starting price

2012 Honda CR-V EX-L

Recommended for: shoppers looking for the CR-V with all of the luxury features

The EX-L is the top-of-the-line CR-V, starting with leather seats that are heated in front. There is a standard, 10-way power driver's seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Heated power outside mirrors, automatic headlamps, dual-zone automatic climate control and satellite radio complete the EX-L's standard package. Offered as optional are a DVD Rear Entertainment System or a touchscreen navigation system with FM traffic and steering wheel-mounted map controls and voice commands.

2012 Honda CR-V
Starting price

2012 Honda CR-V LX

Recommended for: people who want a well-priced, spacious crossover

The LX comes equipped with many popular features. It gets the ubiquitous 2.4-liter four-cylinder and five-speed automatic. Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, auto off headlamps, air conditioning, power windows, mirrors and locks with remote entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a backup camera. Honda's i-MID system allows drivers to control Bluetooth and radio functions for the four-speaker system with USB input. Streaming audio is standard, as is iPod connectivity.

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