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2007 Honda CR-V - New Car Joy Ride

2007 Honda CR-V

Carter Jung
Oct 23, 2006
Photographer: Courtesy of Honda

People have differing opinions when it comes to the Honda CR-V. Some appreciate its simple styling; others, for the utility a compact SUV offers. However, almost all can appreciate the practicality of the vehicle-good gas mileage tied with Honda reliability and safety. Honda knows this. So when it came time to refresh the mighty mite, Honda took the original CR-V recipe and enhanced it. We're not talking New Coke to the Classic Coca-Cola, more like a berry-enhanced Cherry Coke leap. Grenadine and Cola products aside, the new and improved CR-V has much to offer its future owners.

Styling is the first thing you'll notice on the new Honda CR-V, which it now has plenty of. The previous two didn't have enough pieces of flair with their minimalist design-unless you liked the awkward clunky older brother of the EK Civic sedan look. Now, however, the dramatic styling change improvements are evident in the fluid silhouette and clean, sleek lines of the crossover SUV. And despite losing 3.7 inches in length (mostly due to the spare tire being relocated) and a negligible 0.1-inch in height, the widened stance (1.4-inch wider) and sharp headlights give the CR-V a larger, more urban feel.

Besides the design, safety is another key concern that Honda addressed on the new CR-V. Touting a "Safety for Everyone" initiative, all models come replete with six airbags including side curtains from the base trim level (LX) all the way up to the top package (EX-L). Other standard safety features include ABS, Vehicle Stability Assist, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, and proprietary Advanced Compatibility Engineering which dissipates forces from frontal collisions throughout the chassis.

One of the notable improvements is the introduction of a new trim line, the EX-L. Taking the well equipped standard amenities from the Honda EX, the EX-L adds a leather interior, giving the CR-V a luxurious feel. Remove the Honda badges and you'd swear you were riding in an Acura. Also new is the availability of a navigation unit which allows the playback of MP3s and WMAs on both CDs and Compact Flash memory cards. Other interior upgrades include wider opening rear doors for ease of entry/exit and a dual-deck cargo shelf in the trunk allowing for split level storage.

The K24 powerplant of the CR-V has also been improved from its previous iteration. Putting out the same 2.4L displacement, the motor now makes ten more horses with-get this-slightly improved fuel economy, while meeting federal LEV II ULEV regulations in emissions. A larger stock wheel and tire package along with an available Real Time 4WD takes advantage of the power, however Honda dropped a manual transmission option for the new CR-V.

The true test, however, came with a drive, or rather a trek, up to the Whistler ski resort in BC, Canada. Surprisingly, the K24-equipped CR-V zipped up the mountain with enough power to overtake slower traffic when the single lane would briefly expand to two. Handling was also unexpectedly first-rate for a vehicle with the letters "S," "U," and "V" attached to it, as it maneuvered around sharp corners like a sporty sedan. While an NSX might've made for a more action packed run, the CR-V's interior was plush, roomy and comfortable during the long drive and the voice command prompts on the nav unit was a handy feature during the five hour adventure.

When it comes down to it, price and utility usually go out the window in precedence to style. However, now that the new CR-V adds a healthy dash of style to the package, the car has a practical yet alluring appeal-like a cute girl with a great personality. On the drive up to Whistler, its looks even managed to unholster a camera phone or two from neighboring drivers. Drop in a set of cams, a supercharger, suspension, 19-inch wheels, and you've got yourself a new and improved Cherry Coke of a daily.

THE RIDE ’07 {{{Honda CR-V}}}
THE STICKER Estimated $20,000-
26,000 MSRP (add $2,000 for navigation)
16-valve 4-cylinder
THE POWER 166 hp @ 5,800 rpm,
161 lb-ft @ 4,{{{200}}} rpm
SCALE TIPPING 3,389 lbs (LX);
3433 lbs (EX-L) (curb weight)
LAYOUT Front engine,
available Real Time 4-wheel drive
GEARBOX 5-speed automatic transmission
MacPherson strut, 20m
By Carter Jung
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