One of the most popular and reliable car manufacturers in the automotive industry right now is Honda. They are a popular Japanese car maker that has automotive plants all over the globe, including the US. One of Honda’s most famous models is the Civic. However, Honda has also extended into the production of the sport-utility vehicle or SUV. At present, Honda’s premiere SUV is the CR-V. The CR-V was originally built as a compact station wagon, but as the years have gone by, this vehicle has gradually transformed into a crossover and is currently sold to car finders in markets throughout the globe.
Brief History of the CR-V
The Honda CR-V was introduced to the automotive market in 1995. The CR-V was originally intended to be a niche vehicle. That was due in part because Honda was hesitant in marketing this model on a large scale. Honda was uncertain if the CR-V would be capable of taking the place of the Honda Passport as an entry-level SUV in the U.S.
Honda’s worries were put to rest after entering the CR-V in the 1996 Chicago Auto Show. Car buyers and enthusiasts alike had paid close attention to the CR-V, which was thought to be a good indication of potential sales. In addition to this, Honda also began taking note of the successes Toyota’s RAV4 had achieved when it was released to the market.
Due to these factors, the CR-V was released in the US in 1997, alongside other SUVs, such as the Subaru Forrester. Since then, the CR-V has started building its reputation as an in-demand and reliable SUV. As of present, Honda is about to release their fourth generation Honda CR-V, which has many new exciting features that are being offered.
What does “CR-V” means?
With all its success and popularity, there is still a question that remains uncertain about the Honda CR-V. What does “CR-V” mean? All through the years, Honda has yet to come up with a concrete answer as to what CR-V stands for. In fact there are a lot of interpretations as to what it stands for.
Many car experts have researched the meaning of CR-V. One of the possible answers could be “Civic Recreation Vehicle.” This assumption was based on the notion that the CR-V was built on the Civic platform. Many observers believe that this vehicle was originally produced as an extension of the Civic line to satisfy the needs of Honda car finders who are after Honda-made SUVs. On the other hand, several sales literature’s in the UK consider the CR-Vs acronym to stand for “Compact Recreational Vehicle”, while the official fact book of Honda Japan CR-V states that it is an acronym for “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle”.
Despite the uncertainties connected to its name, the Honda CR-V still enjoys significant increases in demand, as well as new vehicle upgrades that improve its capability of being a great SUV.
4 Generations of Honda CR-Vs
As mentioned earlier, the CR-V is one of Honda’s longest running models. To trace its history, here is a brief summary of the Honda CR-V’s existence.
1. 1st Generation (1995-2001)
The first generation of CR-Vs were introduced in 1995 and production continued until 2001. In early production, the CR-V had only one trim and was powered by a 2.0L straight-4 B20B. That engine was capable of producing a maximum power output of 128 horsepower and 133 lb.-ft. of torque. Honda also used a uni-body chassis when they created their 4-wheel double-wishbone suspension. The interior is quite spacious and the rear seats can be folded to accommodate larger cargoes.
The external aspects of the first generation CR-Vs in the US was dominated by plastics, particularly in its rear and front bumpers, as well as the right and left fenders. After a few years, a new trim was offered for the CR-V and thus the EX trim was introduced. Honda had added some features to the EX trim which was not found on the LX trim. Other features included the anti-lock braking system. In this particular period, buyers were given two drive train options, front-wheel drive and the Real Time 4WD.
Honda has received a lot of criticism particularly on the CR-Vs lack of power to carry its 3,200 lbs. of weight. Due to this, Honda has used the 2.0L B20Z engine with a maximum power output of about 146 horsepower at 6200 rpm and up to 143 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm as a replacement. With this engine, the recorded fuel economy ratings were 23 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. Despite the change in engine and increased power, the price of the CR-V remained the same, which encouraged more car buyers to purchase this SUV.
In terms of safety, the 1995-2001 CR-V models have only obtained marginal ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This is because the results of the crash tests conducted by the IIHS revealed that there is a great possibility for the driver and other car occupants to incur left leg injuries. The agency has also noticed that the dummies used, went through the airbags during the collision and this could possibly cause minor concussions. It only earned a good rating in the vehicle’s capability to provide chest protection to its occupants. Due to these not so impressive findings, Honda was encouraged to improve the safety features of future CR-Vs.
2. 2nd Generation (2002-2006)
Based on the negative feedback the first generation CR-V received, Honda introduced the fully refreshed version of the CR-V in 2002. These vehicles were considered as the second generation CR-Vs. These models were based on the platform used by the seventh generation Civic and the former engine was replaced by the K24A1 engine. The new engine produces 160 horsepower and 162 lb.-ft. of torque. Despite the increase in power, this model of the CRV has retained its fuel economy. This was made possible by using the i-VTEC system.
After these improvements, the CR-V was only subjected to minor changes up to 2004. The CR-V has once again received a major face lift in 2005 and the SE trim was added to the two existing trims. The improvements implemented were focused on the vehicle’s wheel size, taillights and headlights, as well as other external changes. There were also revisions made to the CR-V’s interior in 2005. That included the mounting of audio controls on the vehicle’s steering wheel, the stereo was changed, and the rear seat headrests were revised to improve the driver’s view of the rear.
In terms of safety, the second generation CR-Vs sold in the US were equipped with front-seat mounted airbags and side curtain airbags with rollover sensors to protect all of the occupants. Honda had also installed ABS, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Assist, and the Electronic brake force distribution systems.
3. 3rd Generation (2007-2011)
The third generation CR-V was introduced in 2007. This CR-V model is shorter, lower, and wider, compared to the previous models. The reduction in length was achieved by removing the CR-V’s spare tire from the rear and was transferred underneath the rear cargo area. The moving of the spare tire had also reduced the vehicle’s center of gravity.
Honda had also changed the engine used on the third generation CR-Vs. The earlier model engine was removed and the 2.0L 4-cylinder version was used. This engine produces 166 horsepower and 161 lb.-ft. of torque which is stronger compared to the previous maximum power output. Due to this engine revision, the fuel economy ratings of the CR-V have declined to 20 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway.
For CR-Vs sold in the US, Honda had dropped the manual transmission in exchange for the automatic. With this transmission, the CR-V has obtained better shifting and more manageable handling.
Due to these improvements, the Honda CR-V became one of the best-selling SUVs in the US in 2007. In fact, the CR-V has beaten some of its closest competitors, such as the Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and Chevrolet Tahoe. It even reached the point that the CR-V became the number one selling vehicle in the US by beating the Ford Explorer in terms of the number of demands. The Ford Explorer has been the best-selling SUV in the US since 1991 only to be beaten by the CR-V in 2007.
4. 4th Generation (2012)
The fourth generation CR-V will be released in the US during the later part of this year. Honda has even released a photo of the upcoming model to tease car buyers. In its newest model, the CR-V has made significant changes to its exterior design. The cars curves and lines were further improved to give the vehicle an upscale and tougher look. This version is also expected to be more fuel-efficient compared to the previous models.