Honda has stuck with a single powertrain for the CR-V—a 2.4-liter four-cylinder making 180 horsepower, with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Some other models in its class offer an optional V-6, and depending on whether or not you expect V-6 torque, you might either think that the CR-V comes up just a little bit short on grunt or is just fine. We think the latter; 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.
Despite the tall perch, the 2011 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.