Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
2004 Honda CR-V OVERVIEW
The Honda CR-V is roomy, convenient and easy to drive. You can put lots of stuff in it and the back seats are quite comfortable. It rides smoothly, without the jouncy harshness of many SUVs. The CR-V is surprisingly maneuverable in tight quarters and handles well on winding roads. It's also stable in stiff crosswinds at freeway speeds. In short, the CR-V has grown up. Literally. This recently redesigned SUV is bigger, roomier and more powerful than the first-generation CR-V, and it has reclaimed its spot among the best small sport-utilities offered by any manufacturer. Like Toyota's RAV4, the CR-V was one of the first so-called cute-utes: Not quite a sport-utility, but more than a car, offering an upright seating position, all-wheel drive and decent cargo space. Since it was built on a car platform (the Honda Civic), CR-V's highway-friendly ride and handling made it drive more like a car. This combination attracted buyers who needed a minivan, but wanted something smaller and more maneuverable, and something that didn't look like a minivan. Since the CR-V was introduced in 1997, the field has grown crowded with competitors such as the Ford Escape, Mazda Tribute and Hyundai Santa Fe. Jeep offers its slightly larger Liberty, which offers off-road capability. A thorough re-do for 2002 put the CR-V squarely back in the game. It still isn't much good off-road, but it's better than competent on the highways and byways where most SUVs are driven most of the time. This Honda beats most of its immediate competitors in both qualitative and quantitative measures, and trails the competition in only a few. Changes for 2004 are limited to a new of power-lock switch on the front passenger door, and new color matching inside. If you're looking for a reasonably priced, all-purpose vehicle with a sense of adventure and fine foul-weather capability, the CR-V is hard to beat.