Since its introduction to the North American market in 1996, the Honda CR-V has been a consistently strong seller for the Japanese company and, as things turned out, one of the most reliable cars on the road. In 2007, Consumer Reports ranked it as the second-most-dependable compact SUV on the market, and it is sold in countries around the world.
Not hard to understand why. The CR-V was, and is, the epitome of driver-friendliness. Easy to drive, comfortable, dependable, affordable, thrifty and versatile. It's not the kind of vehicle that makes you sit up and bark, but for mainstream buyers, it's exactly what the doctor ordered.
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In 2007, the CR-V underwent some changes. It became more powerful and larger, got a restyling job and was more refined than before. It was offered with 2WD or AWD, and fuel consumption on the AWD was only a titch higher than the FWD version.
Engine output was now up some six hp over 2006, and transmission choice was a five-speed automatic only. Honda called the AWD system on the CR-V "Real Time" 4WD and it was about as unobtrusive as these arrangements get, with a front-drive bias until the wheels need more traction, at which point a power takeoff unit located adjacent to the transmission sends more torque to the back wheels via a driveshaft. This was definitely not a heavy-duty 4WD setup, but it has always done the job.
Aside from its almost ironclad dependability, one of the CR-V's strongest selling points has been its drivability and user-friendliness. From the beginning, this has been one of the most car-like SUVs on the market, and it is no surprise that a sizable proportion of CR-V buyers are female.
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It's also safe to say that most typical CR-V buyers place reliability and value for money over things like engine displacement, towing capacity, or how quickly you can get from zero to 100 km. Then, as now, the CR-V is the compact-ute for people who don't really care about cars. Coincidentally, one of my neighbours bought a CR-V new in 1997 and sold it last year, with almost 400,000 trouble-free kilometres on the odometer. "It was still running like a clock when I sold it," she said.
The CR-V came in two basic trim levels in 2007: LX and EX. Equipment level was reasonably high on the LX, and you got air conditioning, power door locks, power seats, tilt/telescoping steering, remote keyless entry, 60/40-folding rear seats and a full roster of safety features for its $27,700 base price. You could also order things like leather interior, heated front seats and a DVD-based navi system with the top-of-the-line EX-L model. One handy little feature: front-seat armrests.
With the rear sets folded down, the CR-V provided some 2,064 litres of total cargo space. This was less than the same vintage of Toyota RAV4 or Hyundai Santa Fe, but for most people in this market, it was all they needed. Honda has known from the beginning what compact SUV buyers look for and the CR-V has always given it to them.
No safety recalls to report either from Transport Canada or the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA, however, does list 12 technical service bulletins for this vintage of CR-V. These include windshield wipers that won't "park" correctly, front-seat issues and incorrect labelling. There was also that false odometer reading class action suit with some vehicles, but Honda dealt with it.
Tagging the 2007 CR-V as a "Best Bet," Consumer Reports has good things to say about this compact SUV virtually right across the board. It gets the magazine's highest marks for predicted reliability, although road noise is a common complaint from owners. Comments include: "rough ride," "body trim is fragile" and "uncomfortable front seats."
Aside from some minor gripes regarding lacklustre performance, market research firm J.D. Power gives the 2007 CR-V high marks in virtually all categories. As well as garnering this organization's awards for "Most Dependable Compact Multi-Activity Vehicle," "Highest Ranked Multi-Activity Vehicle In Initial Quality" and "Most Appealing Compact Multi-Activity Vehicle," the 2007 CR-V get top marks from J.D. Power for overall dependability.
No great surprise then to learn that the CR-V has held its value well. You'll be lucky to find a base 2WD model for less than $16,000 these days, and a well-appointed EX-L fetches at least $20,000.
2007 Honda CR-V
Original Base Price: $27,700; Black Book Value: $18,525-$22,200; Red Book Value: $16,350-$20,350
Engine: 2.4-litre, DOHC, four-cylinder
Horsepower/Torque: 166 hp/161 lb-ft
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Drive: Front-wheel and all-wheel
Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 10.7 city/7.8 highway; regular gas
Alternatives: Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota RAV4, Jeep Compass, Mazda CX-7, Nissan X-Trail