- Smooth, refined powertrain
- Basic but attractive interior
- Good fuel economy
- Plain—and awkward to some—exterior styling
- Obscured rearward vision
- Hesitant automatic transmission
The 2010 Honda CR-V is a bit homely, but it fits right in for those placing the priority on frugality, safety, and interior space.
The Honda CR-V was last significantly redesigned for 2007; at that time it grew slightly and was given an much more space-efficient interior. While some rivals cram three rows of seating into a vehicle this size, the 2010 CR-V sticks with two, and seating for five.
Depending on how you see it, the exterior of the 2010 Honda CR-V is understatedly attractive, plain, or a little weird. The rounded overall shape with a mix of sheetmetal creases and arcs looks well proportioned from some angled but awkward from others. Inside, the CR-V strikes a better design balance and should appeal to nearly everyone. The upright instrument panel is a bit too upright and butch-SUV in styling, but it uses some pleasant contrasting materials and bright accents.
Despite the tall driving perch, the CR-V drives pretty much like an economical, comfort-oriented sedan; handling feels stable but not very sporty. An improved all-wheel-drive system is available, and it works with the stability control system to send power to the wheels where it's needed most. Honda has stuck with a single powertrain for the CR-V—a 2.4-liter four-cylinder making 166 horsepower, with a five-speed automatic transmission—even though many other models in its class offer an optional V-6. Given shoppers’ preference toward smaller engines over the past year or two, that looks like a smart decision. The engine does just fine in the CR-V, feeling surprisingly smooth and refined, with enough power for all but high-speed passing with a heavy load. Our only complaint is that the transmission is hesitant to downshift, resulting in lost momentum on steep grades. Fuel economy is impressive in the CR-V, with EPA highway estimates ranging up to 27 mpg.
The interior of the 2010 Honda CR-V is very spacious and can accommodate five adults rather comfortably (only four if you have broad-shouldered passengers in the backseat). The shifter is located at the bottom of the dash, in a layout more like that used for some minivans, but that allows more open space. The backseat itself is split into two sections and folds down to a completely flat cargo floor. Altogether, it feels larger and usable than some other vehicles in this class because of the rather low cargo floor (making it easier to load) combined with the tall roof. The hatch opens upward, rather than to the side.
Safety features are a priority in a family-friendly vehicle like the CR-V, and it has all the features that are now expected, including electronic stability control, anti-lock braking, front side airbags, and side curtain airbags as standard. But the Honda CR-V is a safety superstar—quite possibly the safest vehicle in its class—because of its excellent ratings in both major crash-test programs. It gets five-star ratings for frontal and side impact in the federal government's crash tests, as well as straight "good" ratings—the best—from the IIHS. The CR-V has also been an IIHS Top Safety Pick.
As in most Hondas, the top options are only offered on the most expensive, luxurious trims. If you can live with a somewhat basic features list, you’ll find the CR-V a bargain. That said, the base LX and mid-grade EX are quite well-equipped, but the top-of-the-line EX-L adds many of the most desirable features like dual-zone climate control, a power driver's seat, and a premium audio system. The navigation system with backup camera is optional, only on the EX-L. CHECK ON BLUETOOTH