There is a dizzying array of compact SUVs on the market today, but it wasn’t always that way. The Honda CRV was a trend setter, one of the first compact SUVs designed strictly for on-road driving. Since its debut, the SUV has earned a loyal following and it’s easy to see why. The CRV is well made, dependable and inexpensive to own.
HISTORY OF THE HONDA CRV
First Generation (1997-2000)
The first generation CRV took the world by storm with its “cuteness”. The compact SUV featured a unibody chassis and was powered by a 2.0L engine. Power traveled to either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive was standard with option all-wheel drive available.
Second Generation (2001-2006)
Much of the “cuteness” disappeared with the introduction of the second generation CRV. It was larger and heavier than its predecessor, with more standard and optional equipment. A 2.4L engine became available, as well as a 5-speed automatic later on in the design cycle. Honda’s variable valve timing (VTEC) system improved both fuel mileage and performance.
Third Generation (2007-2011)
Model year 2007 marked the introduction of the third generation CRV. It arrived sporting a new rear lift gate rather than a side-opening door and a wider track width. Engine and transmission options remained basically unchanged, although both were tweaked slightly for improved performance and economy.
Fourth Generation (2012-present)
The current generation CRV was released in 2012. Once again the powertrain options were generally carryovers, but there were many changes made to the Honda SUV elsewhere. The overall dimensions of the SUV have increased to the point that it teeters on the verge of the midsize category. The exterior is more angular and striking, with distinctive rear taillights. Many new features were added for the 2012 model year, including a Pandora Internet radio interface, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, and a rear DVD entertainment system.
For 2013 and 2014 the CRV soldiered along unchanged. However, in 2015, direct injection was added to the engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) became standard fair.
The CRV has remained a top seller for almost 20 years and it’s easy to see why. There may be an abundance of compact SUVs on the road now, but none have the formula down as well as Honda.