2007 Honda CR-V: My Take
When David Thomas and I drove the redesigned Honda CR-V, my overall impression was that it's a richer vehicle than the model it replaces. The interior is, as David says in his review, more along the lines of the Civic, and the decrease in noise does more for one's perception of quality than most people realize. This hasn't always been Honda's strongest suit, because soundproofing generally adds weight, be it a metal coating or thicker windows. Given a choice between higher mileage and a quieter cabin, Honda almost always errs on the side of efficiency.
The materials in the CR-V are good overall but not consistent. I think the metal-look trim is effective, but the inside door handles are the all-too-familiar plastic trying to imitate aluminum — and failing miserably.
Rear visibility is good, and anyone who wants a backup, as it were, can option the rearview camera and navigation system package. It's nice to see this offered on an entry-level SUV, even though it's likely to add well over $1,000 to the price. With 60/40-split sections that adjust fore and aft, the backseat is workable, but legroom isn't overly generous. At least the backrest angle adjusts.
Another standout is the automatic transmission, which upshifts quickly and almost imperceptibly under light acceleration, yet delivers the necessary thrust — without bogging down — when working through the gears under heavy acceleration. I found the brakes a bit grabby, but it might be a matter of acclimating to them, which I wasn't able to do in a short drive. It's something to be mindful of if you take a test drive.
How the styling will affect sales is anyone's guess. Mine is that it can't hurt and might help. The outgoing model was plain, and the new one's underbite, as David calls it, isn't bad from all angles. Heck, the Lexus RX 350 looks like a rat when viewed from the side, but no one seems to complain about that. Taking the broad view, I don't see why anyone would take the Jeep Liberty over the CR-V, but of course I've never understood how a relatively inefficient truck-based SUV could be the bestseller in a class with the lighter Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4. The CR-V is most likely to steal more customers away from the RAV4, as it offers many of the same advantages, such as the promise of reliability, longevity and resale value for people who don't mind paying more up front.