Once a class leader; now redesigned
Honda has chosen to stray away from the swooping lines and new-age interior, and has instead gone with a more basic approach of utility.
For those who like practicality, the 2013 Honda CR-V LX AWD is a perfect fit. Unlike most of its competitors in the compact SUV segment, Honda has chosen to stray away from the swooping lines and new-age interior, and has instead gone with a more basic approach of utility. After all, that is what this segment is supposed to be about; aren’t they called sport utility vehicles? No, this vehicle may not be as quick and nimble as a Mazda CX-5, or be as technologically advanced as the Ford Escape, but what it lacks in pick-up and pizzazz it quickly makes up for in practicality and usability.
The freshly redesigned CR-V has numerous small changes that have really added to that practicality it’s so well known for. Lower seating all around makes it not only easy for everyone to get in and out of (even those with knee problems or serious disabilities) but also adds to the interior head room space, making this vehicle feel much larger than its exterior looks may cause you to perceive, which is great. Further, the rear trunk area has been dropped a couple of inches, allowing for class-leading cargo carrying capabilities.
The exterior styling, although somewhat bland when compared to its competitors, makes the CR-V much easier to manoeuvre, as it has a relatively small footprint (2620 mm by 1820 mm). With the more upright position of its pillars, blind spots are kept to a minimum, further adding to the Honda’s ease of use. Getting into smaller parking garage spots, you feel as though you’re driving a much smaller car, not an SUV. With the lowered height of the CR-V, the back hatch is easily reachable, even for the ‘vertically challenged’. Overall, the interior and exterior are exactly what the Honda brand signifies, easy and reliable.
Moving to the meat and guts of the CR-V; this model is powered by a 2.4L inline 4-cylinder engine, producing 185 hp, and 163 lb-ft of torque. Although this is a substantial amount of power, the Honda feels bogged down by its 5-speed automatic transmission and tall gearing. Although this is great for fuel economy (9.2/6.6 l/100km estimated, 9.9L/100km observed in mainly city driving), the CR-V could benefit from a couple of additional gears in its automatic as many competitors have trended towards. As in many of their vehicles, Honda has fitted the CR-V with their trademark green “Econ” button, which adds to the already frugal numbers of the CR-V when activated.
As mentioned earlier, the interior of this vehicle feels much larger than the exterior would suggest. Honda has done an excellent job in seating position, as four 6 foot plus adults could fit very comfortably in this vehicle for extended road trips. Not only that, but luggage would fit quite easily in the cargo space, with over 1000L of cargo space. All of this comfort though does come with a sacrifice though, as the CR-V is underwhelming when it comes to the delivery of the interior. The dash and door panels are made of hard touch plastics, and the dashboard and cockpit areas look right out of 1999. Keep in mind, the CR-V LX is at the lower end of the trim levels, and so with options such as GPS, sunroof, and leather the interior could very well move into the present; however at this level the centre console has large child-like buttons where the navigation screen should go, and this just does not hold water in today’s highly competitive small SUV market.
As-tested, my 2013 CR-V LX AWD comes in just north of the $28,000 mark, but the final decision needs to come down to the individual buyer. Are you interested in a vehicle that is quick, nimble, and particularly frugal? Maybe the Mazda CX-5 would be better for you, but good luck being comfortable in the back seat. Or maybe you want more technology, and a better looking interior? Then I would suggest a Ford Escape, but those swooping lines compromise the driver’s sightlines as well as cargo space. The Volkswagen Tiguan is nice, but it gets genuinely expensive. After negating the other options, here we are again; Honda has hit utility right on the head. If you have a couple of small kids, want a reliable and affordable crossover, then the Honda CR-V is it. It’s just a shame this thing isn’t priced below the $25,000 mark, or it would hands-down be the most value-packed ute in this segment.
2013 Honda CR-V LX AWD Gallery