CR-V steps up with more of almost everything
Trust Honda to buck the current trend for compact SUVs. The new third-generation CR-V doesn’t have a third-row seat, nor can you have it with a V6 engine. But its carryover 2.4-litre 4-cylinder motor is a sweetheart, and puts out a little more power than in previous applications.
With heavy emphasis on car-like agility, the 2007 CR-V is lower, smaller inside and out and has less ground clearance and off-road ability than the outgoing model.
It has been a decade since the CR-V first hit these shores and both first- and second-generation models were square designs with a big spare tire hanging off the side-opening rear door.
The third generation is a more stylish vehicle with plenty of curves and an arching window line that sets it apart. The rear door is now hinged at the top and the spare tire moved below the cargo floor. The entire vehicle sits 20 mm lower and the track is wider. A combination of a lower centre of gravity and wider wheel track plays right into the hands of the suspension engineers who sought more car-like driving dynamics.
The drivetrain is carried over from the outgoing models with some tweaks to the engine, transmission and all-wheel-drive system.
The engine gets 10 additional ponies that cope with 44 kilos more weight, so there is little change in overall performance. Torque is up a single pound-foot and peaks 600 rpm higher in the rev scale, so the new ratios in the 5-speed transmission are the main contributors on the performance front — in a class where most competitors have the option of a V6.
The AWD system is now capable of transferring more power to the rear wheels when slip is detected, but otherwise the CR-V operates as a front-driver. No manual gearbox is available and front-wheel-drive comes in the base LX model only.
Bigger doors and a lower floor make entry and exit easier. The front seats are a new design with more lateral support. The driver’s seat is height adjustable and the steering column adjusts for both reach and rake, allowing all sizes to find a suitable fit. A colour-screen navigation system is available and the audio system now plays MP3s and comes with an auxiliary input jack for a personal player.
The second-row seat bottom is split 60/40 and the back splits 40/20/40. With a child seat in the centre position the seat can be pulled into close proximity to the front seats, and with the centre armrest lowered, long items like skis can be carried with both outboard seats occupied. The cargo area has a dual-layer cover that conceals items in the lower portion or can be removed and placed flat on the bottom for increased height.
The CR-V comes in front-wheel-drive LX ($27,700) form, as well as EX ($32,600) and EX-L ($37,700 with Navi) trim. The latter pair are all-wheel-drive only.
2007 Honda CR-V