I spent a week in Honda’s CR-V, which has been one of my most recommended buys for small families. Let me show you why.
The CR-V starts at $25,990 but my review sample came in the Touring trim level, which is essentially loaded. It rings in at CDN $36,780 including the $1,640 freight and destination.
Under The Hood
The CR-V brings what seems like an antiquated drivetrain to the game. It’s a 2.4-Litre, inline-4. Naturally aspirated. Nothing really special going on. It puts out 185 HP @ 7000 RPM and 163 lb.ft of torque @ 4400 RPM. It lumps this together with a 5-speed automatic transmission – no sport mode, no manual shifting – it’s really starting to sound old-school here.
Chuckle all you want though – the CR-V puts up some great fuel economy numbers, rating at 9.2 L/100 km (25.8 mpg) in the city, 6.6 L/100 km (35.6 mpg) on the highway and 8.1 L/100 km (29 mpg) over the combined cycle. I saw a decent 10.1 L/100 km (23 mpg) in almost purely city driving, with no attempt at being economical. The tank holds 58 Litres of regular fuel – no premium required here.
The CR-V was an all-new offering for the 2012 model year, and has carried over for 2013. Honda has done a great job at letting the CR-V grow up. The styling is bigger, yet the vehicle isn’t. It has the same wheelbase and basic dimensions, and it is essentially an evolutionary model with a very similar silhouette, yet it comes across more mature and bigger than it was, and certainly has some interesting changes.
Up front you’ll find Honda’s new corporate face, which is handsome, if a bit boring, and there are subtle but effective changes at the back as well. The biggest change is the kinked angle of the rear pillar – it’s a nice style element and it actually helps with rearward visibility.
The Touring has nice 17″ rims, as well as fog lights and roof rails. All in all, the CR-V looks like it’s trying to stretch toward a higher-than-entry-level class, and although it won’t turn many heads, it’s a nice-looking ride.
The CR-V has a nice interior, and it certainly feels more refined than previous generations. With that said, it’s still not fancy or upscale-feeling, and you’re surrounded by hard plastics everywhere, except for a little padding on the door panels. I credit Honda for trying to sculpt some nice shapes and for adding some textures and color contrasts but the materials need to start catching up with the competition. This trim also has some eye-catching grey faux-wood grain across the dash. Of course it looks fake, but it’s a handsome addition.
I liked the small diameter and the thick rim of the steering wheel. It has controls for media, hands-free, phone and cruise control and is manually adjustable for height and reach.
The CR-V’s seats look great and are very comfortable. They’re upholstered in real leather with nice contrasting stitching. I’d appreciate more bolstering but most buyers won’t care. The driver’s seat is fully powered, and the passenger’s seat is manually adjustable. Both are heated, and have built-in flip-down armrests, which I liked very much!
In terms of space, I found good head room for my 5’10” frame, even with the sunroof. The CR-V’s sunroof has power tilt and slide functions.
The layout of the CR-V dash has some new twists. In front of you, you’ll find a bin of gauges with a visual stack of circles in the middle – a big speedo with a round driver information screen in the center.
The CR-V’s driver information screen, while useful, is a bit too small and a bit too busy in its circular form. It always shows instant fuel economy and outside temperature, and lets you access 2 trip meters, oil life, average mileage, odometer and fuel range. There are two “bracket” light bars surrounding the speedometer – they change from white to green when you’re driving economically.
The center stack gives you an additional information screen in the upper dash area and a bigger touch-screen below that.
That upper screen, which is showing up in other Honda products, can display average fuel consumption and fuel range, a compass and a clock, media – what’s playing, wallpaper (any picture you want to upload – seriously though, who does that?!) or it can just be turned off.
The touchscreen below it is bigger, and serves a lot of functions – it controls media, navigation, the phone and is the monitor for the back-up camera. Sadly, as in other applications, the user interface and the fonts were designed by people who hate design. It’s not pretty to look at with those crunchy graphics and text, and the user experience isn’t particularly wonderful. You get used to it though. A neat touch – the back-up camera offers you three different view angles, and I liked that.
The media system feeds off of AM, FM, satellite, auxiliary, CD, USB and Bluetooth streaming sources, and all of them worked well. The auxiliary and USB plugs are in the console bin, along with a 12V plug. The system plays through 7 speakers, including a subwoofer – it sounds alright for a factory system.
Underneath the touchscreen is a dual-zone automatic climate control system, and a pod sticking out of the stack which houses the shift lever. The center console is home to the seat heater buttons, a 12V outlet and some cupholders.
Of course you get power windows, door locks and mirrors – all on the driver’s door.
The CR-V’s doors open very wide, making for easy ingress – that includes loading or unloading kids. The seats are very comfortable and recline. The leg room and foot room are exceptionally good – almost shocking. Headroom was pretty good as well.
You’ve got 3 seats, with 3 headrests and 3 seat belts back there. I’d consider it a great space for 2 adults. Though the middle seating position is narrow and hard, it would be manageable for a third adult if you’re looking at short distances – this is aided by a nearly flat floor. Irritatingly, the middle seatbelt comes down out of the ceiling, mini-van style. Thankfully, when it’s not in use, it can be stored up there to keep it out of the way.
We transported our three kids, including a full child seat and a butt-booster and they were very comfortable back there. Width-wise, it’s surprisingly roomy. There are 2 sets of LATCH anchors for kids’ seats.
Convenience-wise, you get two seatback map pockets, small but usable door bins, a ceiling-mounted reading light and the middle seatback folds down to become an armrest with two integrated cupholders. That’s it. No plugs, no vents, nothing else.
There are a bunch of little storage options – small door bins, a neat little tray in the door panel underneath the grab handle, a small (basically useless) bin under the left side of the dash, two long shallow bins on either side of the center console in the footwells, and a small-ish glovebox.
Here’s the kicker. Moving the shift lever up to the center stack allows for a very roomy console, and Honda hasn’t wasted the opportunity. They decided to make the whole thing (short of a couple of cupholders) into a single massive storage compartment with a retractable, scrolling lid. It’s about 16″ long and about 8″ wide, and very deep. To call it useful and flexible is an understatement, considering it’s big enough to smuggle a couple of baby pandas in there. Not that you’d ever do that.
Speaking of huge, the CR-V’s cargo space also feels cavernous. It is much bigger than the outside of the vehicle leads you to believe. You have a very substantial 1054 litres back there, which ramps up to an almost ridiculous 2007 litres with the back seats folded. Nice. A side note – the rear seats don’t fold flat. It’s close, but they do angle up a bit.
The lift-over height and load floor are both quite low – Honda boasts the lowest in the industry – making the space easily accessible and highly usable, even for the vertically-challenged. They throw in a little mesh pocket on the side, as well as a removable, retractable soft tonneau cover. Another innovative touch – Honda has placed a small lever on either side of the trunk – give either of them a quick yank, and the corresponding rear seat (they split 60/40) will quickly fold forward, using a brilliant combination of physics, and mechanics. No electronics that can die on you, and it’s faster than those systems anyway. This set-up should be a lesson to ALL manufacturers. I absolutely loved it, and so did everyone I showed it to. It’s useful. It’s simple. It’s fast. Bravo.
Driving the CR-V makes for an overall good experience. I wouldn’t call it fun though. Now don’t get me wrong – offering a mostly bland drive can’t really be considered a strike against it. You’ll see that it does most things really well.
The low-end grunt of this engine is quite satisfying, and although it’s not a quick vehicle, it will jump off the line and it’s great for everyday driving. The engine revs smoothly. Yes, it gets a bit noisy under load and starts sounding a bit honky at higher RPMs but realistically, you’re not buying a CR-V for the sporty engine note and it remains smooth at all times.
The transmission, although missing a gear by today’s standards, is also smooth and very intelligent. I actually never found myself missing the extra gears, and I thought it did a great job.
The CR-V does quite well in terms of road noise, which is a major improvement over the last generation. Wind noise, while reasonable, does pick up quite a bit a highway speeds. Low-speed turns and parking are a breeze, thanks to the electronic steering. Unfortunately that same steering system is a bit of a turd on the road, where you’re left with little feedback and considerable on-center numbness. Too bad, since Honda knows how to do steering right.
The suspension was pleasant. I found the ride was firm and a bit jiggly – especially over things like expansion joints and potholes – but not too harsh. I also felt there was quite a bit of body roll into corners – throw it into a curve and you’ll always be reminded that you’re in a tall vehicle. With that said, the handling is fine and feels very competent around corners and in normal driving.
Honda’s all-wheel drive system is quiet and transparent, but now kicks in sooner than in the past – you no longer have to lose traction with the front wheels to engage the all-wheel drive. Its job is, of course, to maximize traction on crappy surfaces and it does a good job. I drove a 2012 CR-V during Edmonton’s biggest snowfall last winter, and it pulled through everything admirably.
Visibility out of the CR-V is good, and the brakes are powerful enough and effective when called upon.
A final note on the drive – the CR-V offers Honda’s ECON mode. It’s a dash-mounted button, and it’s meant to help you save fuel. Of course, in doing that, it dulls any driving fun there was to begin with, and the softened throttle response and whatever else happens behind the scenes aren’t worth the fractionally better fuel economy in my opinion.
The CR-V’s overhead sunglass holder has a 2nd position, allowing you to leave it partially open, and revealing a convex “conversation” mirror – we have the same thing in our Odyssey van, and it allows you to see EVERYone in the vehicle, which means you can finally see who really hit who in the back seat.
Speaking of mirrors, I like the “expanded view” mirror that Honda added to the driver’s side view mirror – it makes the left inch or so a convex mirror, allowing you to see significantly more than you could in a standard mirror. An old-school blind-spot monitoring system, if you will.
Aside from the grim-looking graphics and fonts, the less-than-perfect user interface and its susceptibility to sun glare, I have one more issue with that big touchscreen. EVERY SINGLE TIME you start the vehicle, you have to tap the “OK” button on the screen. Otherwise, it turns off. I can’t quite put into words how hemorrhoidal that became over the course of a week. Honda, please trust us to remember the conditions we agreed to once. We’ll be good, we promise.
For such a well though-out and roomy rear seat, it would have been nice to add at least a 12V plug, or better yet, a 110V house-hold plug.
As I mentioned at the beginning, the CR-V is a good vehicle. If you haven’t checked one out, you’ll be surprised at the utility and storage space. The rear seat space is impressive by any standards. The overall package is a smart one.
I give the Honda CR-V a very solid 7.5 out of 10.
WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) was pretty high. She found the CR-V very easy to drive, and appreciated the ease of loading things into the cargo space. Also, the fact that she could shop for an entire day and not run out of room put a smile on her face. Of course, that ended up turning my smile upside-down.
I wouldn’t hesitate to add the CR-V to my own shopping list – Honda’s reliability, resale value, and smart packaging make it impossible to ignore this contender. And if this loaded-up Touring trim is more than you wanted to spend, you’ll find almost everything I talked about here in the lower-level cheaper trims. Many buyers, including smaller families, will find much to appreciate here, and there are plenty of reasons why you’re seeing so many CR-Vs on the road today.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Wheaton Honda.
Blog provided with permission from Tom Sedens, a local automotive blogger in Edmonton, Alberta, and member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). For more vehicle reviews, visit wildsau.ca.
We’ve had a recall in the news for a vehicle stability assist (VSA) system that may not function as intended. Honda Canada has not yet released an official statement with details regarding recall dates on their website, there have been statements made to the media.
We’ve had a recall in the news for a brake shift interlock and potential rollaway issue. Honda Canada has not yet released an official statement with details regarding recall dates on their website, there have been statements made to the media. Updated to include the official statement from Honda Canada – see below!
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Sometimes, although in my case it’s all luck, I love timing. Why am I mentioning timing in a car review? Because each month, I receive month-end reporting from all the car manufacturers, and in March 2013, the Honda Civic surged to the top of the list. Best-selling car in Canada. Excellent time to review it then, I’d say.
The 2013 Civic sedan starts at a paltry $15,440, but that’s not the one I had here. I had the top-of-the-heap Touring model, eclipsed only by the high-zoot Si model. As a matter of fact, the Touring is so top-of-the-heap, there are no options available for it. So consider this a fully-loaded Civic sedan, unless you need the sportiness that comes with the Si.
Pricing: 2013 Honda Civic Touring
Base price (of specific trim): $24,840
Options: none available
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $26,395
Under the Hood
You won’t find anything new here. Honda’s tried and true 1.8-litre inline-4 sits side-saddle. It still puts out 140 horsepower at 6500 RPM. As you’d expect, it’s a bit torque-poor, cranking out only 128 lb.ft of torque at 4300 RPM.
The power makes its way through a 5-speed automatic (which is a gear behind almost all the competition – except for the awesome 4-speed automatic Corolla S) and drives the front wheels. Though it seems low on numbers, the engine only needs to motivate 2855 pounds of car. That’s very light.
The little gaffer sips regular fuel, and Honda says it will use 7.1 L/100 km (33 mpg) in the city and 5.0 L/100 km (47 mpg) on the highway. I drove mostly in the city, with no effort to save fuel, and had a couple of sprints down the highway – and averaged a very reasonable 8.2 L/100 km (29 mpg). The tank holds 50 litres.
Honda released a restyled Civic less than a couple of years ago, which was met with almost universal derision. I reviewed it, and actually didn’t hate it. But hey, Honda heard the masses and massaged both the interior and exterior quickly, re-releasing the model in record time. Its outside lines have matured and are more pleasing to my eye, even though they are small changes.
I quite like the cleaner side profile of this little sedan including the handsome kind in the rear side window, and really enjoyed the new rear end styling too.
There’s some classy chrome trim under the grille, inside the lower air dam intake and on the rear fascia tying together the tail lights as well. The Touring model gets nicely integrated fog lights.
Finally, the 17″ rims look really good and the 215/45-sized tires look meaty on this small car.
The interior of the Civic has some strange design language going on.
The materials look decent, but are almost all hard plastics. You’ll find a small swath of soft-touch plastic across the front of the dash in front of your passenger and on top of the door panels – that’s about it. The soft-touch plastic panels also have fake stitching on them.
Of course the amenities are powered – door locks, mirrors and windows. You get a good old fashioned key to start the Civic – no push-button here. The fob has remote locking/unlocking and a trunk opener.
I found the headroom up front to be enough for my 5’10″ frame, but not much beyond that – taller passengers will feel the squeeze. Otherwise, the cabin feels spacious enough for a small car.
I really liked the seats – they are upholstered in a nice leather with contrasting stitching. They’re heated, the driver’s side is power adjustable (the passenger side is not) and quite comfortable with decent amounts of bolstering.
I absolutely loved the small-diameter steering wheel – it is manually adjustable and felt near perfect in my hands. It has buttons for cruise control, the media system, phone functions and the driver information screen.
The way Honda has laid out the dash is a bit of a mish-mash, but in terms of getting the information, it works. Let me explain. Ahead of you, behind the steering wheel sits a large tach. Above that is an upper “eyebrow” kind of area that houses two display parts. On the left is a large digital speedometer flanked by eco driving bars – they glow green when you’re driving economically, and move to blue if you’re being bad. There is also an instant fuel economy read-out and your fuel gauge. On the right is a “what’s going on” screen. It always shows a clock, your odometer and the outside temperature on the bottom, and lets you choose between displays of average fuel consumption/fuel range, digital and analog clock and date, and what’s playing on audio system.
What could pass as the center stack starts with Honda’s old-school head unit at the top. It’s a touch screen but it feels way behind the curve in a number of areas. The text and the graphics look terrible – everything is blocky and crunchy and looks several generations behind most of the competition. The user interface isn’t exactly slick either. The screen handles your media, the phone, navigation and the back-up camera. That camera, by the way, is nice and clear and offers multiple view options.
The audio system sources are AM, FM, CD, satellite radio, USB, auxiliary and Bluetooth streaming – for a basic system, it sounds quite good.
Below that sits an automatic climate control system – it’s very simple and nicely laid out – a reminder that Honda does ergonomics very well.
The center console houses a really dated-feeling gear selector – it has partitions for D, D3, 2 and 1. I remember our Oldsmobile had that too – in 1991. There are two cupholders and a traditional parking brake lever. You’ll find a small powered tilt/slide sunroof above you.
The rear seats are also very comfortable – there are three of them, each with a headrest and seatbelt. As usual, the middle position is very cramped.
The leg room was acceptable, especially in such a small car, but the headroom was tight.
There’s not a lot in terms of convenience. The middle seat folds down to become an armrest with two cupholders, you get one seatback map pocket and some small door bins. That’s it.
If you’re transporting kids, you get two sets of LATCH connectors for their seats. Our three kids felt quite cramped width-wise, and the little dude couldn’t help but kick the seatback in front of him.
There’s nothing new happening in terms of storage solutions. The glove box is quite small. There’s a strangely-sized cubby hole in the center stack with a lid that flips up. I did like the shallow but highly useful open tray at the front of the center console – it’s rubberized and has the auxiliary plug and a 12V plug in it – perfect for dropping a smart phone into.
You’ll find a small, carpeted bin under the armrest lid – along with the USB and another 12V plug. And finally, there’s an open slot on the left underside of the dash, though I can’t imagine what you’d use that for.
The trunk is small at 353 litres. I found the load floor to be quite low. The rear seats fold down 60/40 to open into a reasonably-sized pass-through – it’s not the full width of the trunk, but it could be useful.
This car is not fast – the engine power builds slowly and eventually, you’ll feel it. The catch is that above a certain RPM count, it gets loud and quite buzzy, which will discourage you to rev this engine up. Truth be told, it’s still not fast at those high RPMs. Yes, the Civic is fine for everyday driving. There’s enough jam to get into traffic, and point A to point B commuting is fine.
There’s an econ driving mode – I’d say it makes the car really sluggish, but frankly it’s a bit of a dog without even bothering with the econ mode.
The ride is firm but certainly acceptable around town, and we found that it smooths out very nicely on the highway. With that said, the rear suspension leaves a lot to be desired. It often felt as though the rear wheels moved in concert rather than independently, and that really showed up over bumps and around corners. Hit a dip or expansion joint in a curve, and the rear end hops over just like a truck with a live axle does. It’s unnerving. We also felt that the rear suspension got crashy over bigger hits. Take on a pothole, and you’ll hear it – loud and clear. It’s more sound than feeling that you’ll experience coming through into the cabin, but the hits get so noisy, you can barely tell the difference.
The Civic seems capable in terms of handling, but that rear suspension makes it feel weird. There’s some body lean around corners, but it’s perfectly adequate for this class.
The transmission is fine – nothing special, but it works smoothly and unobtrusively. There are no manual shifting options. The brakes always felt good and effective to me.
This sedan is perhaps one of the loudest vehicles I’ve been in – in terms of road noise. I noticed it within the first few metres I drove it. Yes, it had winter tires on, and that can make a difference, but believe me, this was definitely not all winter tires. At highway speeds, I could barely hear my wife talking – wait, maybe that’s not that bad after all. Hey! That could actually be a selling feature!!!
I liked the visibility out of the Civic – you get a decent view of everything around you.
I really disliked the strange convergence of 4 panels on the dash – it’s an intersection of different materials, textures, height levels and angles and it looks a mess! Others noticed it too.
Irritatingly, you have to unlatch the rear seats from inside the trunk, then go inside to flip them down from inside. Oh, and speaking of the trunk – you can’t open it from the outside. Only with your key fob. There’s no release button on the trunk lid itself. AND that trunk lid has no handle on the inside. Which means, in places like Edmonton where cars get grimy and gross, when you close your trunk, you’ll likely be getting your paw prints on your trunk and you’ll be getting your paws very dirty. It always bothers me that the manufacturers forgo a 25 cent piece of plastic like an inside trunk handle.
The Civic has the worst coverage that I’ve ever seen from the windshield wipers on a vehicle. They sweep up and out toward the side edges of the windshield, and they leave a huge widow’s peak at the top center of the windshield. It extends quite a ways below the rear view mirror. I imagine I looked like The Count from Sesame Street driving around.
I was a bit surprised to find significant variance in the panel gaps around the hood.
I liked the Civic overall, but I wanted to like it more. Some of the shortcomings left a lasting impression on me, and would likely impact my decision if I was shopping in this class.
WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) was about average. She said it was a nice car, but a bit different looking. She felt it did everything it needed to, but nothing about it excited her. She did comment on the road noise too, but in her opinion it was the tires.
I felt the new exterior styling of the Civic was successful. Yes, there are still a couple of strange angles, but overall, I don’t think it will offend anyone. And I actually really like the side and rear profiles. The interior turned out alright too.
I wouldn’t mind a slightly peppier-feeling car off the line. Nobody here cares about top speed, but I wouldn’t mind if they allowed the gearing to facilitate snappier acceleration. The handling and ride are OK, but I have to say that the rear suspension is definitely a weak point. And the road noise is very noticeable.
I’m relatively certain a Civic buyer can count on high reliability and strong resale value. And the Civic itself starts at a very low price. Even the Touring model, loaded as it is here, is a relative bargain for what you get, and the fuel economy is tough to beat. Even though I was completely sold on the new Accord I reviewed recently, I’m not nearly as sure about the new Civic. It’s certainly a good car, but it’s likely better suited to another type of buyer.
Blog provided with permission from Tom Sedens, a local automotive blogger in Edmonton, Alberta, and member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). For more vehicle reviews, visit wildsau.ca.
As you may have seen in the news today, Honda Canada will be recalling approximately 107,000 vehicles due to an airbag problem on the passenger side of the vehicle. While Honda Canada has not yet released an official statement with details regarding recall dates on their website, there have been statements made to the media. Edit: Honda Canada Press release is included below!
Honda Canada will recall approximately 3200 Honda Pilot vehicles from the 2005 model year in Canada to address potential malfunctions of the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system of these vehicles. Honda has received several complaints about such malfunctions in these vehicles. No crashes or injuries have been reported related to this issue.
If an electrical capacitor on the VSA control unit was damaged during manufacture, the VSA system could malfunction and apply a small amount of brake force for a fraction of a second, without any input by the driver. Further, if the driver applies the brakes during a VSA system malfunction, the amount of brake force applied could exceed the driver’s intended input. In either instance, unexpected brake activation could increase the risk of a crash. To remedy this potential defect, Honda dealers will install a new electrical sub-harness, free of charge.
Honda is announcing this recall to encourage owners of all affected vehicles to take their vehicles to an authorized dealer as soon as they receive notification of this recall from Honda. Mailed notifications to customers are expected to be sent in April 2013. In addition to contacting customers by mail, owners of these vehicles will be able to determine if their vehicles require inspection by going on-line to http://www.honda.ca/recalls or by calling (888) 9HONDA9 for Honda owners.
Here at Wheaton Honda, we are encouraging our customers to contact us at their earliest convenience so that we can ensure that their vehicle is operating as safely as possible!
Source: Honda Canada News
This video is slowly making its way across YouTube and Honda enthusiast forums, but with the road conditions in this video being quite similar to the roads here in Edmonton and area, this was a particularly interesting (albeit, unsurprising for us) watch. In the video, the man is driving his 2007 Honda Fit Sport, outfitted with a dashboard camera, down a slick highway in Alabama that by his account had been in the midst of road construction (I think we’re all too familiar with this scenario) and had actually been the site of multiple accidents that particular week. While it looks like he may have been driving a little faster than he should have with the conditions, as he takes the turn, he manages to roll his Honda Fit 7 times but still walk away unscathed:
This is a “real world” testament of how well built and engineered Honda vehicles are. As one commenter notes, the Fit not only has traction control, but the engine is mounted over the front wheels, which is an important feature in a front wheel drive vehicle as it adds weight onto the drive train, thus increasing traction further.
Also, the driver has readily shared in the comments that he will be buying another Fit.