The Good The 2009 Honda CR-V EX-L's voice-command system is fantastically easy to use and allows complete control over the navigation, audio, and climate-control systems. Steering is accurate and handling is very carlike. Its small size and backup camera make this one of the easiest vehicles to park.
The Bad There is no option for Bluetooth hands-free. The sole digital-audio option is the odd PC Card slot behind the motorized touch screen, which means iPod or MP3 players have to plug in through the aux-in. Firm suspension makes for a choppy ride over bumpy roads.
The Bottom Line The 2009 Honda CR-V EX-L's small size and Civic-like handling make it a great choice for city dwellers who occasionally need to haul things--or people. While the cabin tech is impressive, a few more features, such as Bluetooth or iPod connectivity, would make it a home run.
2009 Honda CR-V EX-L 4WD
The external aesthetic of the 2009 Honda CR-V mixes the Honda Civic's space-age design with the face and bulk of a bulldog. Although you may never catch us calling the CR-V attractive, its looks aren't offensive. More importantly, spend some time behind the wheel and you'll see that the CR-V manages to combine the sporty ride and handling of a small sedan and the utility of a small SUV while making few, if any, compromises.
In its EX-L with Nav trim level, the CR-V has an extra trick up its sleeve in the form of a DVD-based GPS navigation system with a fantastic voice-recognition system. Tell the CR-V where you want to go and it'll take you there. Tell it to change to audio source and it happens. Granted, it's not quite that simple--there are a few commands to be learned--but the system is surprisingly easy to use.