The 2009 Honda CR-V EX-L's small size and Civic-like handling make it a great choice for city dwellers that occasionally need to haul things, as well as people. While the cabin tech is impressive, a few more features, such as Bluetooth or iPod connectivity, would make it a home run.
Viewed from the front, the CR-V combines the Honda Civic's space-age looks with the face of a bulldog. While we're not 100 percent convinced whether that's a bad thing, but we are sure that, overall, the CR-V is an impressive little vehicle.
The CR-V retains many of the proportions of its smaller sibling, the Civic. Passengers were surprised to learn that nose-to-tail, the CR-V is only about 0.6 inch longer than the Civic. Wheel base and track are also very similar.
Power isn't the CR-V's strong point with 166 horsepower on tap. Compounding the problem is the fact that most of the power is located high up in the powerband, requiring revving the heck out of the engine to get decent acceleration.
Our CR-V featured a downright attractive instrument cluster that featured a handy LCD screen tucked between two analog gauges. The LCD screens show instantaneous and average fuel economy along with other information about the vehicle.
The CR-V EX-L's premium audio system features XM radio, CD playback with MP3 support, a six-disc CD changer, AM/FM radio, an unorthodox method of flash memory card support, and an aux-input hidden in the center console.
Honda's navigation system's graphics are getting a bit long in the tooth, but are still attractive looking and easy to read. The entire in-dash experience can be voice commanded, from the navigation to the audio system to the climate control.
As a general rule, any button label that you see onscreen can be spoken and recognized by the voice command system. For example, speaking "Intersection" at this prompt would take you to a screen where two street names can be entered.
City names, street names, and points of interest can be spoken in plain English and recognized by the system. Alternate methods of entry include spelling the name aloud or typing with the onscreen keyboard.
Here's Honda's odd system of flash memory card integration: a PC card slot. The idea is that owners will purchase a PC card adapter for their flash memory of choice and be able to add up to 8GB of removable storage to the system. Wouldn't a USB port be much simpler?
Another odd choice of an audio source is the six disc, cartridge loaded CD changer tucked into the center console. Before you get any ideas of loading up six CDs worth of MP3s, think again. The changer only supports standard audio CDs.