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.
The CR-V's interior resembles that of the Honda Civic, minus the sedan's futuristic digital speedometer and sci-fi instrument cluster.
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.
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.
Honda has boosted the output of CR-V's 2.4-liter engine by about 20-horsepower at its peak.
The CR-V now trumps most of its competition in power and matches most of them in fuel economy.
Of course, storage space is the main reason that anyone would choose a vehicle like the CR-V over the slightly more efficient Civic.
In addition to cruise and audio controls, the CR-V's steering wheel is home to not one, but two voice command buttons.
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.
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.
If the CR-V has an Achilles' heel, it's its outdated and overpriced cabin technology suite.
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 What's more, the changer is only the second most outdated bit of tech in the CR-V's repertoire--there's also a PC Card slot behind the motorized screen!
With the navigation option comes a USB connection in the glove compartment with iPod compatibility.
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.
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.
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.
Voice commanding the Honda's navigation system was so time consuming that we often simply elected to pull over and use the touchscreen.