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2011 Honda CR-V: Special Edition Added, Family Goodness Intact

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Honda's CR-V crossover enters what's likely its final model year before a redesigned 2012 Honda CR-V, with no significant changes—only a new Special Edition (SE) model added to the lineup.

Although The Car Connection has not yet driven the 2011 CR-V, our editors have put various CR-V models through the day-to-day paces over the past several years, and we've used that to provide an updated full review, which includes ratings, likes and dislikes, and highlights from other sources.

All CR-V models remain powered by a 180-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed automatic transmission, with either front-wheel drive or the so-called Real Time 4WD system, which sends torque to the front wheels most of the time or to the rears as needed. The engine received a 14-hp boost last year, which makes it adequate but not quick. Its EPA fuel economy ratings, of up to 21/28 mpg city/highway, are no longer near the top of the class.

The CR-V is quite homely on the outside, and has been to some eyes since its 2007 introduction in present form, but as we say, it's what inside that counts, and there's plenty of goodness inside. The CR-V's interior is spacious and versatile, and for small families makes this vehicle a great minivan substitute.

Following Honda tradition for the last year of a product cycle, a new Special Edition (SE) model joins the lineup. The CR-V still comes in LX, EX, and EX-L models, but the new SE adds a six-disc changer, steering-wheel audio controls, and alloy wheels to the LX, which already includes air conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, and a CD sound system with four speakers.

While EX models get six-speaker sound, a moonroof, larger alloys, and the useful dual-deck cargo shelf, it's the top-of-the-line 2011 Honda CR-V EX-L that gets leather seats (heated in front), center-console storage, and various other upgrades. It's also still a bit frustrating that Bluetooth hands-free is still only the domain of the top EX-L with navigation.

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