2013 Honda CR-V review

2013 Honda CR-V
Photo courtesy of Honda Canada

So what does Honda’s compact crossover vehicle, the CR-V, actually mean? Some say it’s Compact Recreational Vehicle. Still others swear by Comfortable Runabout Vehicle. While the true name may be a hotly contested item, what isn’t is that it is a very popular choice for practical-minded people who want a reliable, fuel-efficient and spacious vehicle that also ranks high on safety — this remains the case following 2012’s redesign.

Aesthetics

2013 for the CR-V is a carryover year and is by and large the same vehicle. Pro: this is a good thing for Honda seeing as it’s one of the best selling crossovers in Canada. Con: many would call the practical people-carrier boring. Sure, the Crystal Black Pearl Touring model we drove wasn’t that much of a head-turner (this could partly be attributed to how many you can spot on the road at any given time), but its strength is knowing exactly what its designed to do, and carrying that out with precision. Comfort in this segment is important, and the CR-V has that in spades with nice leather seating that positions the driver for a good view of the road. The front seats have also been designed to mitigate neck damage during a rear-end collision. Sandwiched between the seats is the centre console with the biggest storage space I have ever seen, that easily swallowed up my cellphone, keys, wallet. I could have probably fit a netbook in there with room to spare, and there is a sliding door to hide the valuables out of sight. Onto the topic of fuel-saving, the dashboard displays all sorts of pertinent information and includes Honda’s ECO Assist that helps the lead-foot-inclined to optimize efficiency using coloured indicator lights. The CR-V is a time-saver, too — instead of fumbling with headrests and different latches to lay the rear seats down when you need the extra cargo space, simply tug on a strap and watch the magic unfold.

2013 Honda CR-V cargo space
Photo courtesy of Honda Canada

Performance 

Powered by a 2.4 litre four-cylinder with 185 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque, the CR-V will get you where you need to go with no muss and no fuss. What was the adage — good children go unnoticed? Perhaps not the best analogy, but you get the idea. The Touring gets all wheel drive (also standard on the EX-L and optional on LX and EX) to help out in slippery situations at the cost of a little more gas burned. In the city, 9.2 L/100 km and 6.6 highway compared to 9.0 and 6.4 for the front wheel drive models, respectively. If playing the keep-the-ECO Assist-in-the-green game isn’t enough to satisfy the environmentally friendliest of drivers, there is also an ECO button you can press that alters engine and transmission characteristics to maximum fuel economy. All trim levels get motion-adaptive electric power steering that detect slippage during cornering or braking and assists the driver to steer in the correct direction.

There’s a good chance customers shopping for a crossover are also looking at staples like the Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4 that are priced similarly. None would be a poor choice, but if interior layout and safety are among the top things you’re looking for, a tip of the hat goes to the CR-V — whatever it stands for.

2013 Honda CR-V interior
Photo courtesy of Honda Canada

Notable features (as tested)

Price: MSRP $35,215

Engine: 2.4-litre four cylinder, 185 hp @ 7000 rpm/163 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

Drivetrain: five-speed automatic transmission, front engine all wheel drive

Fuel economy: 9.2 L/100 km (city) 6.6 (highway)

Curb weight: 1,608 kilograms

Safety and security: Electronic brake distribution system with brake assist, dual-stage, multi-threshold front airbags, front side airbags with passenger-side occupant detection system, engine immobilizer

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