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2007 Honda CR-V

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San Francisco:  Honda’s CR-V helped pioneer the car-based “crossover” SUV segment ten years ago, and now it’s time for the third version of this popular model. Honda’s been on a styling renaissance lately, so the new CR-V stands out from its ancestors.

This little “tall wagon” reminded me of the much larger and much more expensive BMW X5. Just look at that side styling, it borrows the recent BMW “flame” convex / concave shape, with a sharp fold running down the side and boldly defined lower body panels that blend into the wheel well bulges. It’s tough, yet refined, and looks like it’s built out of two-inch-thick steel.

The CR-V’s radical, fanciful face is nothing like the previous two CR-Vs or even the competition. The top half of the nose isn’t that unusual, with sharply pulled-back headlamp clusters and a squared-oval grille, but the smile below it is unique. Study the car for a while, and you’ll notice how the black, knobby lower body cladding makes the car look slimmer and lower.

The new model, with its new sedan like roofline and stretched hexagonal tailgate bulge, is about the same size as the old model. The biggest difference, besides an additional 1.4 inches of width, is the reduction in length, achieved by moving the spare tire inside.

Honda gave the CR-V’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine 10 more horsepower, raising it to 166 hp and 161 lb.-ft. of torque. This 3,500 pound vehicle moves easily through the standard five-speed automatic transmission. It feels perky on the road, noticeably smaller than Honda’s larger Pilot. As a Honda, it drives smoothly and effortlessly. If you want a manual transmission this year, though, sorry, it’s gone.

There are three levels, starting with the well-equipped LX, through the better-equipped EX, to the lavishly equipped EX-L. The LX includes four-channel antilock brakes, Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system with traction control, a tire-pressure monitoring system, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD system, air conditioning with air filtration, power windows with power down and up (power up is a real luxury feature), power locks, 17-inch steel wheels, and more.

The EX model adds alloy wheels plus a power moonroof, security system, rear privacy glass, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and a six-disc CD changer with six speakers. The EX-L contributes additional heated leather seats with complementary leather armrests, XM satellite radio and a subwoofer with the optional navigation system.

You can opt for Honda’s Real Time 4-wheel drive or, on the EX-L only, a state-of-the-art voice-activated navigation system. Each costs $1,200. My Royal Blue Pearl test vehicle, an EX-L with two-wheel drive, had the navigation system. If you plan on regular ski vacations or back road jaunts, the extra two wheels of traction could help.

Fuel economy is good for a family hauler. The CR-V earns EPA numbers of 23 City, 30 Highway for the two-wheel drive model or a slightly lower 22/28 for the four-wheel-drive version. I got 20.3 mpg over a week with two-wheel drive.

The 2007 CRV bests the previous emissions level, moving from LEV II LEV to LEV II ULEV (ultra low emission vehicle). The EPA’s Green Vehicle listing gives it a 7 on the Pollution Score and 6 on the Greenhouse Gas score.

Honda’s ACE Body Structure helps prevent injury in frontal collisions by dissipating crash energy and helping vehicles to line up more directly. The CR-V’s six standard airbags and active head restraints protect effectively. CR-Vs have earned top marks in government crash tests for years.

The LX two-wheel-drive model starts at $21,195, including shipping charges. From there, you can ascend through EX and EX-L, and add the navigation system and four-wheel drive to reach $28,595 at the very top. My tester cost $27,395 at the MSRP price.

The CR-V is a dream to drive, capable, well-balanced, quiet, and smooth. There’s really nothing to say against it. Since 1997, Honda has sold 2.5 million CR-Vs, nearly half of them in the U.S. It is also marketed in 160 other countries around the world, and is assembled in seven countries, including the East Liberty, Ohio plant. As it turned out my test car was built in Japan.

The CR-V epitomizes the latest family car trend, with a move away from full-scale, fuel-guzzling SUVs and into more compact, tall-car crossovers. If you’re going to join a trend, the car-based “crossover”’ vehicle, you may as well do it with the leader, and the all new for 2007, Honda CR-V.  By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco


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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name:
Honda’s CR-V pioneer the car-based “crossover”
The 2007 Honda CR-V
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Photo Caption: 
The 2007 Honda CR-V
Photo Credits: 
Honda CR-V Internet Media
Series #:  2007 - 36

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