With the start of the new year comes the decision we’ve been putting off for some time…the decision to purchase a new automobile. If our family grew by just one, we would have no choice but to invest in a minivan. But given the fact that we’re the typical two child American family, there are a number of vehicle options that would meet our needs for comfort, performance, style, and economy.
Even during those early teen years as I drove my parents’ Saturn, I knew that my first vehicle would be an SUV. I worked and saved and worked some more to purchase my very first automobile before I had even reached my 21st birthday. At just over 250,000 miles (yes, that is not an error), my husband and I are still driving that SUV today.
If you were to ask me what is most important when it comes to purchasing an automobile, I would say reliability, longevity, safety, and economy are at the forefront of my purchase decisions. Honda, the sixth largest automobile manufacturer, has proven that it’s fleet of vehicles meet and even surpass my expectations for those critical factors. In fact, there is an entire website dedicated to telling the stories of Honda owners who’s vehicles have surpassed the 100,000 mile mark.
There are times when I wish every potential automobile purchaser had the opportunity to engage in an extensive test drive, much like I have done during my automobile press trips, to truly help guide the process of purchasing a vehicle. After my two-day dive into Honda’s newly-designed CR-V, I can honestly say it’s a vehicle we are seriously considering in the new year.
The 2012 Honda CR-V is a Compact Crossover SUV, but don’t let the distinction sway you to believe it’s small. A family of five could easily and comfortably fit into the vehicle. And while the term SUV typically implies bulky, cumbersome, or difficult to maneuver, the CR-V is none of these. On the contrary, it’s sleek, stylish, compact, and powerful.
Every few years, automobile manufacturers completely redesign a vehicle, which is the case with the fourth generation CR-V. So what are those new and important distinctions that set the 2012 Honda CR-V apart?
From the site:
- More efficient engine design with improved horsepower and torque
- Available Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System
- Standard features include an Easy Fold-Down 60/40 Split Rear Seat, Eco Assist, Expanded View Driver’s Mirror and Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS)
- Intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID), Pandora internet radio interface, SMS text messaging function, and available DVD Rear Entertainment System and FM Traffic
Before I delve into my review of the vehicle, I should mention that the CR-V already has a proven track record among it’s owners. I actually have a neighbor who purchased one not too long ago and absolutely loves it. Reputation is very important and I was quite pleased to learn that the previous generation CR-V was given the distinctions of Top Recommended Vehicle and Best Retained Value SUV under $25,000 by Edmunds.com. Additionally, J.D. Power and Associates named the CR-V top compact crossover SUV in dependability. Even if one has absolutely zero knowledge of the vehicle, knowing that the CR-V has demonstrated reliability and proven value would compel me to look deeper.
The 2012 Honda CR-V is all about enhancing the comfort of the passenger through it’s interior, designed to resemble a car as opposed to an SUV, the ride, which was also improved to feel smoother and quieter (much like riding in a car), and innovative features.
So how does the 2012 Honda CR-V measure up when it comes to those factors I consider critical with regards to purchasing a vehicle?
As a mom to two small children, safety is the single most important factor that will guide my purchase decisions. I want to know that measures are in place to keep my family safe in the event of an accident. Standard safety features include Vehicle Stability Assist, an Anti-lock Braking System with Brake Assist, front and side airbags, a front seat design to reduce the severity of neck injury in a rear collision, driver and front passenger seatbelt reminders, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children Restraint System), a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, and an Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure which makes the vehicle effective at absorbing and dispersing the energy of a frontal crash. Unless the vehicle is in an accident, these are features that can’t necessarily be demonstrated so the crash test results are important. To date, reports are not available, however, it has been predicted that the 2012 CR-V will receive an Overall Vehicle Score of 5 Stars in the NHTSA New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) tests, and be designated a Top Safety Pick by achieving good ratings in all tests by the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Power and Performance:
Not having any prior knowledge of the Honda CR-V, I was a bit surprised to learn that an SUV, even a compact one, would only offer a 4 cylinder engine (most also offer a 6). One of the improvements made to the 2012, 4th generation of CR-Vs was a more efficient engine design with improved horsepower and torque. Despite the fact that it’s a 4 cylinder engine, Honda states that it is the most powerful and efficient CR-V engine to date. While I’m not an expert, I can tell you that after an extensive half-day drive on city streets and freeways, I would not have known that the vehicle has a 4 cylinder engine. Acceleration and pick-up were sufficient and I never felt like the vehicle lagged.
Fuel Efficiency and Economy:
I remember when gas prices soared above $2 per gallon and the outrage that ensued. These days, I’m happy when it’s under $4 per gallon. Gas easily tops the list of expenses, and while I may not have even prioritized or paid much attention to how many miles per gallon a vehicle averages, this has become a critical factor that directly influences my decision to purchase a vehicle. If you take a glance at the fuel economy ratings of the best affordable compact SUVs, you’ll find that the 2012 CR-V is actually rated quite well. The FWD CR-V averages 23/31/26 mpg city/highway/combined and the AWD averages 22/30/25 mpg city/highway/combined, both of which have been improved from the 2011 CR-V. Want to boost those numbers? Eco Assist is a feature that helps save fuel with just a touch of a button. The vehicle automatically configures the engine and energy-consuming systems to operate more efficiently. The built-in feedback system also tells you how efficiently you’re driving. Lastly, that sleek design that sets the 2012 model apart from previous generations is actually as functional as it is stylish. The vehicle is aerodynamically designed to enhance fuel efficiency, which is really quite brilliant.
The 2012 CR-V is priced competitively, starting at just $22,295, which is pretty much the going rate for a compact SUV. Even if you opt for the top-of-the line model, you’ll still come in at just under $30,000. Despite the $7,000 ish price difference between the lowest and top model, the new CR-V includes so many standard features, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on much if you opt for the lowest price 2WD LX. Which brings me to my next point…
Technology, Innovation, and Luxury:
There was a time when power windows and door locks were considered luxury features. Today’s 2012 Honda CR-V comes loaded with standard features like a Bluetooth HandsFreeLink phone interface, a full-color intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID), a multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines, an SMS text messaging function (which can read received texts from compatible cell phones aloud over the audio system), and a Pandora Internet Radio interface which works with the vehicle’s audio controls and i-MID. It obviously gets better as you move up through the models. I would upgrade to the higher model just for the navigation alone because it’s such a convenience to have information like traffic and turn-by-turn directions available.Do you have kids? You may want to consider the DVD Rear Entertainment System.
Visually, the vehicle is impressive. I really like the sleek, sporty exterior and roomy interior. It’s as comfortable to drive as it is to ride. With a powerful, fuel-efficient engine, an impressive track record for safety, and a wealth of technology that offers comfort and luxury, the 2012 Honda CR-V is an affordable family vehicle that doesn’t disappoint.
No compensation was received for this post. Travel expenses related to the trip were provided by Honda.