Despite the CR-V's all-4-cylinder lineup, acceleration is perky with a light load, adequate when brimming with passengers and cargo. Honda has kept the weight down, with the use of high-strength steel helping to provide rigidity, and the car-based platform and independent suspension give it a much more nimble feel on the road than might otherwise be expected in a tall vehicle; wind and road noise are also commendably muted. Honda's lightweight Real Time 4-wheel drive system brings power to the rear wheels only when the traction is needed.
Inside, the CR-V has seating for five, with a nice upright position in front (aided by tilt/telescopic steering) and impressive headroom and legroom in back, even for adults. As is expected in this type of vehicle, the back seat can be folded forward (in part or completely) to expand cargo space. On the top EX and EX-L models, a dual-deck cargo shelf adds more capacity while keeping enough space below for grocery bags. LX and EX models have a retractable center tray-table, while the upscale EX-L has a center console that extends to the back.
Safety is an area that hasn't been neglected in the CR-V. Electronic stability control--a lifesaving feature designed to prevent the loss of control on slippery roads or during abrupt maneuvers--is standard, and the equipment list also includes side-curtain airbags with a rollover sensor, front side airbags and anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist.
The CR-V isn't offered in a stripped-down base model; even the lowest-priced LX comes with a very long list of often-times-optional conveniences, including cruise control, power accessories, a trip computer, and air conditioning with a filtration system. The top EX-L model upgrades to 17-inch alloy wheels, a chrome grille, and other dress-up on the outside, plus leather heated seats, leather trim, heated mirrors, dual zone climate control, a security system, and a 270-watt sound system with CD changer, six speakers, and XM satellite radio.
One especially noteworthy option is Honda's Satellite-Linked Navigation System, which includes voice recognition and a rearview camera. The system now includes a CompactFlash reader that to play music files such as MP3.