Need an extremely roomy and versatile interior, but not third-row seating? If so, then the 2013 Honda CR-V is one of the best picks for those on a budget.
Considering its parking footprint, which is only slightly larger than that of a compact sedan, the 2013 CR-V packs in a lot of space. There's seating for five, but with the comfort and seating position plus the excellent seat-folding arrangement and especially low cargo floor, it feels almost minivan-like.
Front seats are buckets that are on the soft side, yet supportive enough for a long day. You won't quite fit three adults across in back, but the contours and the height are right for two adults to be content in the outboard positions (with enough legroom and headroom).
The CR-V has a better rear seat-folding arrangement than any other compact crossover. Open one of the back doors, and with one arm and a simple pull of a strap, in a very fluid motion the lower cushion tumbles forward into the footwell, the headrest angles forward, and the rear seatback flips forward, all tucking neatly behind the front seat, to a completely flat position.
For those cross-shopping the numbers (which don't always correspond to practical space, by the way), cargo capacity with the rear seatbacks up is an impressive 37.2 cubic feet, while with the back seats down you get 61.4 cubic feet, with a continuous cargo floor (albeit with a slight step at the base of the seatbacks). A side cargo net is included, and EX levels and above get a removable and retractable cargo cover.
But there is one very important number: Honda has dropped the cargo floor—and the liftover height itself—to 23.6 inches. That's just as low as a station wagon, yet you have all the space up to the tall roof in which to cram furniture, bicycles, strollers, and whatever else fits.The CR-V rides well, without much harshness; Honda made an effort to improve that with last year's redesign, with more insulation, better door seals, and a bolstered body structure.
One sore point, potentially, remains: With hard-plastic trim and door materials, plus upholsteries and materials that seem focused more on the diapers-and-spills set than on aesthetic details, the CR-V wears its frugal nature on its sleeves. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's possible that shoppers at the high end of the CR-V's price range might expect something a little more lavish.