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2011 Honda CR-V EX-L 4WD

The 2011 Honda CR-V is starting to show its age and is in need of a serious cabin tech overhaul. Fortunately, the performance and handling still have a few years left in them.

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Antuan Goodwin

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1 of 17 Josh Miller/CNET
The Honda CR-V received a visual refresh last year with the launch of the 2010 model that includes an new front end with color-matched trim on the chrome grill. Our 2011 example benefits from this enhancement.
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The CR-V's interior resembles that of the Honda Civic, minus the sedan's futuristic digital speedometer and sci-fi instrument cluster.
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The CR-V's nimble handling and visual proportions make the crossover look and feel smaller than it actually is. It's actually very similar in size to the tubby looking Toyota RAV4.
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A few times during our testing, when the road got windy or a hole opened up in traffic, we found that it was easy to forget that we were behind the wheel of a crossover.
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Honda has boosted the output of CR-V's 2.4-liter engine by about 20-horsepower at its peak.
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The CR-V now trumps most of its competition in power and matches most of them in fuel economy.
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Of course, storage space is the main reason that anyone would choose a vehicle like the CR-V over the slightly more efficient Civic.
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In addition to cruise and audio controls, the CR-V's steering wheel is home to not one, but two voice command buttons.
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A single option six-speed automatic transmission features no manual shift mode or fancy tricks, but we doubt the average CR-V driver will miss that.
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The CR-V uses a traditional two-gauge instrument cluster that, while basic, is a welcome change from the bi-level digital job that graces the Civic's dashboard.
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If the CR-V has an Achilles' heel, it's its outdated and overpriced cabin technology suite.
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Try as we might, we were unable to dig up six physical discs to load into the six CD, cartridge-fed changer. What's more, the changer is only the second most outdated bit of tech in the CR-V's repertoire--there's also a PC Card slot behind the motorized screen!
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With the navigation option comes a USB connection in the glove compartment with iPod compatibility.
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Available audio sources include FM/AM/XM radio, a single slot CD player with MP3 compatibility, the aforementioned six-disc CD changer and PC card slot, as well as USB connectivity. Bluetooth is available for handsfree calling, but not for audio streaming.
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The navigation system is DVD based and, frankly, a bit of an eyesore. While it did get us everywhere we wanted to go, this system does not include traffic.
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The CR-V gets two voice command systems with its navigation option: one for the Bluetooth handsfree calling system and another for the rest of the infotainment system. There are even two separate buttons for them, if that wasn't confusing enough.
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Voice commanding the Honda's navigation system was so time consuming that we often simply elected to pull over and use the touchscreen.

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