2012 Honda CR-V Review [Video]

New CR-V proves Honda's still got it, for now

2012 Honda CR-V Review [Video]

The past few years haven’t been kind to Honda. A series of underwhelming products, a bizarre new styling direction and increased competition have seen the brand go from Japan’s most beloved automaker to a frequent target of criticism from both critics and consumers alike.


1. An updated 2.4L 4-cyl makes 185-hp and 163 lb-ft, an increase of 5-hp and 2 lb-ft.

2. Front-drive models get a 22/30-mpg rating (up 2/3 mpg) versus 22/31-mpg for AWD (up 1/3 mpg).

3. Rear cargo room is rated at 37.2 cu-ft with 70.9 cu-ft total.

The latest indignity came in the summer of 2011, when the Civic, Honda’s bread and butter product, was panned by a variety of media outlets for being inferior to offerings from Korea and America, an idea that would have been laughable just two years ago.

Luckily for Honda fans, their latest product launch looks like it will put them back on the path to success, even if the car in question is one that won’t get hearts racing. The 2012 CR-V is the 4th generation of America’s best-selling crossover, and Honda has wisely chosen to make incremental improvements to the CR-V rather than radically alter the successful formula.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.


The overall look of the CR-V is basically the same, with a revised front end designed to reflect Honda’s new corporate face, as seen on vehicles like the Crosstour. The rear has a sharply raked profile that resembles the Volvo XC60, while the taillights remain largely unchanged. Casual observers would have a difficult time distinguishing the previous model from the new one.

2012 Honda CR-V

Interior changes are evident, with familiar Honda parts bin bits used for the window switches, while a lovely, thick rimmed steering wheel takes precedence amid a very subdued gauge cluster. Our EX-L tester was equipped with a light grey leather interior and a navigation system, which dominated the center stack. The navigation interface does look a little dated, but the system itself is intuitive and easy to use.


2012 Honda CR-V Navigation

The navigation system also has a trick, three mode back-up camera with a standard view, wide angle view and a sort of periscope view that displays a downward 90 degree angle that makes it easier to view protruding objects like poles and barriers. Ample storage compartments are located throughout the cabin, including one designed to hold a large purse – clearly, the CR-V is skewed towards those with two X chromosomes.

Little touches that make life easier seem to be the CR-V’s specialty. Beyond the backup camera and the storage compartments, the CR-V boasts the segment’s lowest loading floor. This may seem like an obscure statistic, but it makes loading everything from luggage to grocery bags to furniture so much easier, since one doesn’t have to propel them upwards, but can merely drop them in from a more natural height. Should any more space be required, an ingenious single lever need only be pulled to fold the back seats entirely. We found ourselves thoroughly impressed with this bit of engineering, to the point where it almost sells the car itself.


On the road, the CR-V is one of the better crossovers to drive. It won’t ever get confused for being remotely sporty, but it avoids feeling like a mushy mess at all times. The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine makes 185-horsepower, and is able to move the CR-V along at a perfectly acceptable pace. We managed to test out the brakes during a relatively high speed panic stop situation and they performed remarkably well. The 5-speed automatic transmission is transparent in its operation, and overall we’re impressed with the smooth, quiet nature of the driving experience.

2012 Honda CR-V Engine

Honda claims that the all-wheel drive system has been revised to provide the rear wheels with a bit of torque during launches on wet surfaces, to minimize wheel spin, and we felt some of it in action even during dry surfaces. Honda claims 22-mpg in town and 30-mpg highway for AWD models and a 1 mpg improvement for front drive versions. Also of note is the ECON mode button, similar to the CR-Z, which supposedly improves fuel economy by smoothing out jerky throttle inputs.


Lately, Honda has been accused of losing its way. Cars like the Insight, CR-Z and Crosstour have failed to gain acceptance in the marketplace, while the 2012 Civic has to face vastly improved competitors when as little as 5 years ago, it ruled the compact segment.

2012 Honda CR-V Interior

Honda may have gotten things right with the new CR-V, delivering a practical, attractive and affordable crossover that will meet consumer needs well. But vehicles like the 2013 Ford Escape are just around the corner, chock full of next generation technologies that the CR-V won’t have, like ultra-efficient turbocharged engines, innovative telematics systems and, for the Escape specifically, a tailgate activated by a motion sensor.

2012 Honda CR-V

The first CR-V was a game changer in 1997, but Honda is in danger of ceding that role to its Korean and American rivals, a sign of the changing tides in the auto industry. Things may be in flux on a macro level, but the CR-V is as competent as ever and still our pick for the small crossover segment – for now.

Related Reading
2011 Toyota RAV4 Review
2010 Hyundai Tucson Review
2010 Chevy Equinox Review
2011 Kia Sportage Review
2010 GMC Terrain Review
2011 Volkswagen Tiguan Review

  • ameyer533

    Overall I think the CR-V suits my needs. I am a high school
    student and also an umpire and it has enough space for me to carry my books and
    umpire gear along with other passengers. I do not feel like a big SUV that is
    overly obnoxious to everybody when I drive down the street but I also do not
    feel like a tiny bug (my former car). I think it is the perfect size for
    someone who has similar needs as mine.


    Another good feature that I found is the sound system. It is
    not a premier speaker system but it holds up pretty good when I have my friends
    in the car. I have not blown a speaker or heard any decrease in sound quality.
    The one problem with the system is the aux jack is in the center counsel and
    gets hit a lot which contorts my jack.


    The only negative I have with my CR-V is that the rear
    window is too small. The tapered look to the car may have something to do with
    this but at the same time I think Honda could have fit a larger window in. When
    I look in my rear view mirror, I see a lot of the trunk interior when I wish I could
    be seeing the car coming into my blind spot. I have had a couple close calls.


    All in all I think the CR-V is a highly plausible car for
    all age groups as well as being on the cheap side. I bought mine used and I
    believe I got more out of it than what I paid.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6VMJ2Z3NH5STDLKZORAOBHIPYU haywoodjablomy8

    Look at the revised front on the Euro CR-V, plus it gets a 1.6 diesel and a 2.2 diesel.


  • grumpy

    I love my 2005 CR-V – which I just bought – much better than anything from 2007 to the present. WHY are all the car manufacturers taking their cute sporty small SUVs and turning them into farty-looking small minivans minus the sliding door? I especially hate the changes to the CR-V in 2012 – it’s really not even a nice looking vehicle any more. So sad, I dread the day my cute 2005 version dies, although I plan to push it to at least 250k miles!

  • Baipidi Jim

    I too likes my 1999 cr-v i bought this year, but i still look forward to buy cr-v 2012 any one selling it please inform me, e mails Bjim@debswana.bw or baipidijim@gmail.com

  • donmontalvo

    The listed mileage is incorrect. Front Wheel Drive (FWD) is 22/31 and All Wheel Drive (AWD) is 22/30. I have a FWD and my highway mileage is 30-32, even with cross bars installed, very impressive.

  • pismopal

    I rented the Escape with 1.6 for 10 days and loved the handling..really fun to drive, ride not great but acceptable… MPG not bad not great. It’s bells and whistles I did not trust..same with blown engines but the Escape was fun, as I said. I wanted the Mazda CX-5 and after reading about it I went for the test drive with my wife already an enthusiast..what a disappointment. Engine too noisy on moderate accel and the ride, especially in back, was a frown. The interior felt small, forget numbers, and the rear cargo area with seats in place, was noticeably smaller. We left and went by Honda and drove the CRV. The CRV has an appeal, some of the appeal eludes my describing but it was just a hugely better experience to drive ( minus the Mazda and Ford steering) and ride in. We bought an EX-L and are happy with it. I have had Mazdas and Hondas and I have to say that reliability for both were good, leaning toward Mazda for reliability in my own experience but even the best brands can have problems, a little TLC and luck helps.

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked