- Simple, attractive interior
- Fuel efficiency
- Smooth, refined powertrain
- Overall safety
- Exterior styling awkward to some
- Back pillar obscures rearward vision
- Transmission sometimes reluctant to downshift
features & specs
The 2009 Honda CR-V is a clear winner for those seeking security and utility at a good price, provided hip styling or street cred isn't near the top of the list.
Completely redesigned for 2007, the Honda CR-V features a rather compact exterior paired with a very roomy interior design that makes the most of available space. Unlike the Pilot, the smaller 2009 Honda CR-V has only two rows of seating.
With its arcs and creases, the exterior styling of the 2009 Honda CR-V is a little fussy—or just plain weird—from some angles, but inside it's more universally attractive, with an instrument panel that's upright, if a bit trucklike, and nicely contrasting materials and brightwork. The backseat area of the 2009 Honda CR-V folds down to a completely flat loading floor and a cargo area that's quite expansive, thanks to the tall body. The hatch opens upward, rather than to the side. The shifter is located at the bottom of the dash, in the center, instead of on the steering column or between the front seats—so it feels more spacious in front.
While competitors offer available V-6 engines, a four-cylinder engine is the only one in the 2009 Honda CR-V, but the 166-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces adequate power and feels quite refined with the smooth-shifting five-speed automatic, although we find it reluctant to downshift for steep grades. Fuel efficiency is admirable; EPA highway estimates for the 2009 Honda CR-V range up to 27 mpg. 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. Handling feels stable but not very sporty; the emphasis is clearly on comfort and quiet.
Shoppers will be thrilled to hear that the 2009 Honda CR-V 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, which made the CR-V one of its 2009 Top Safety Picks. Safety features are a priority for frugal and pragmatic shoppers who might consider the Honda CR-V; it includes electronic stability control, front side airbags, and side curtain airbags as standard. Anti-lock brakes are also included.
The top-of-the-line EX-L adds many desirable features, such as dual-zone climate control, a power driver's seat, and a premium audio system; a navigation system and backup camera are optional.
2009 Honda CR-V
The 2009 Honda CR-V isn't universally loved for its exterior, but those who think what's inside counts more will like it.
The exterior of the 2009 Honda CR-V is somewhat polarizing. Inside, however, reviewers are all smiles.
The exterior styling of the 2009 Honda CR-V, with its mix of arcs and creases, is loved by some and roundly disliked by others. Car and Driver says the new 2009 CR-V's "styling may not please everyone." On the upside, MotherProof reports that "my test vehicle was a fabulous deep red that was fun to look at, and its graceful curved lines and subtle hardware lured me in ... I started to feel good just contemplating it." Cars.com likes that the "subtle creases on the bodyside and around the wheel wells also help the CR-V avoid the slab-sided look of early-generation SUVs." On the negative side, Motor Trend points out, "It's more jelly-bean-shaped, far more emotional in its details. The headlights are flare-back like an extreme facelift; the pursed-mouth grille is now slightly opened, as if it might snap at you." Edmunds calls it "sort of weird-looking," and Cars.com asserts it "has an underbite," though "from every other angle the CR-V's design shines." Kelley Blue Book agrees, commenting that the "side view is dramatically different than past CR-Vs."
The 2009 Honda CR-V's interior wins reviews all around. ConsumerGuide observes that "hard plastics abound in the cabin, but none look cheap." Edmunds' opinion is that "the best attribute of the CR-V is its attractive yet practical cabin design." The instrument panel is upright, if a bit trucklike, and incredibly easy to use. It also draws more favorable comments. Cars.com reports that "Honda has really found its stride with interiors lately," and the "dash is perfectly executed," noting that the CR-V "opts for a more straightforward side-by-side setup with an informative digital display wedged between the speedometer and tachometer." Motor Trend says "the gauges and controls would make sense to somebody raised by wolves and suddenly plopped behind the wheel."
2009 Honda CR-V
The 2009 Honda CR-V gets good fuel economy and handles well, but the driving experience isn't particularly exciting.
Editors at TheCarConnection.com find that the 2009 Honda CR-V handles well, but the four-cylinder engine is a yawn.
The 2009 Honda CR-V coaxes adequate performance from its 166-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, despite the fact that most competitors use larger engines. Overall, the driving experience feels quite refined with the smooth-shifting five-speed automatic.
The enthusiast magazines all mention that the CR-V's four-cylinder engine doesn't have enough power. Motor Trend warns, "On the road, the CR-V isn't powerful—its 166 hp and 9.2-second 0-to-60-mph time (produced by this front-drive version)—will keep you happily abreast of traffic, but will also probably dissuade you from any particularly daring maneuvers." Edmunds is in agreement on this subject: "Engine and transmission can be overwhelmed by hilly stretches of highway," and they warn that "highway passing can be an adventure." Car and Driver sums it up in three words: "forget drag racing."
ConsumerGuide is one of the only outlets to confirm TheCarConnection.com's impressions, noting that "acceleration is adequate around town and in highway passing." MotherProof deems the 2009 Honda CR-V's engine "perky and surprisingly quick."
A five-speed automatic is the only transmission option in the 2009 Honda CR-V. Motor Trend observes, "Our car's five-speed automatic transmission (a rarity in this category that's packed jowl to jowl with four speeds) also has an odd trait: For some reason you can't manually select fourth. But this is probably more a curiosity than a nuisance." Kelley Blue Book reports that "dropping the five-speed manual transmission may be lamented by mileage maximizers, but Honda says that the demand for stick-shift CR-Vs among buyers is low."
An improved all-wheel-drive system is available on the 2009 Honda CR-V, and it works with the stability control system to send power to the wheels where it's needed most. Edmunds says it "only apportions power to the rear wheels when front slippage occurs."
Fuel economy in the 2009 Honda CR-V isn't bad for its class, but the small engine seems like it should be more frugal. Edmunds weighs in: "For 2009, the front-wheel-drive CR-V achieves a 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway rating." MotherProof voices disappointment with its fuel economy: "It has plenty of power while keeping gas consumption down to an estimated 20/26 mpg." However, the test driver reports having "averaged about 16 mpg in two weeks of mostly suburban driving."
Handling in the 2009 Honda CR-V feels stable but not very sporty; the emphasis is clearly comfort and quiet. ConsumerGuide states that the 2009 CR-V is "carlike on all surfaces." MotherProof, whose test driver does not care for the 2009 Honda CR-V's tight suspension, reports that she could "feel every bump" and finds herself "dreading speed bumps and freeway speeds more than usual." ConsumerGuide, however, notes that the "CR-V's suspension comfortably absorbs bumps with minimal float or wallow." Honda's CR-V is more agile than most compact crossovers, according to Edmunds: "it feels light on its feet, with well-weighted steering that provides excellent feedback," they say, and "ride quality is composed and comfortable." Car and Driver likes the "good driving manners," and Cars.com points out it "reacts with an intuitive feel that's rare in non-luxury cars"—though Motor Trend notices "a tendency to periodically 'tramline' on certain surfaces." ConsumerGuide comments that "body lean during fast turns is kept in check."
2009 Honda CR-V
Comfort & Quality
The 2009 Honda CR-V doesn't skimp at all in comfort, offering more interior delights than most of its rivals.
Many sources approve of the 2009 Honda CR-V's interior roominess. ConsumerGuide says, "Space for legs and knees is plentiful even with the front seats far aft, [and] headroom is ample." The Auto Channel reports that "the third-generation structure is a little wider...that translates to welcome extra hip room for everyone." Motor Trend observes, "as with all Hondas, there's plenty of front legroom available." ConsumerGuide also declares, "Kudos to Honda for now offering a power driver seat, even if it's only on the top-line EX-L model."
Though there's no third-row seat, Car and Driver notes, the CR-V has a large, useful cargo area when the reclining second-row seats are folded. Cars.com is not a fan of the folding mechanism: "There are two straps to pull, and neither felt that sturdy." Edmunds points out how "the 60/40-split rear seat has reclining seatbacks and adjusts fore and aft" and "the wide-opening rear doors and lightweight rear liftgate make it simple to load infants and their strollers."
ConsumerGuide reports that the 2009 Honda CR-V offers "generous cargo space even with the rear seat up." Cars.com says the 2009 Honda CR-V "measures 35.7 cubic feet with the second-row seats intact and 72.9 cubic feet with them folded flat; that's up from 33.5 cubic feet and 72 cubic feet, respectively, in the outgoing model." ConsumerGuide also notes that "interior storage is very good."
Inside, most reviewers are pleased with the quality of the 2009 Honda CR-V. Motor Trend calls the CR-V's interior treatment high art: "The interior is also a case study of the level of artistry that can be achieved with lowly hard plastics." Cars.com reports, "A trio of center-mounted A/C knobs felt a bit cheap when turning, but they were the lone setback in an overall splendid dash."
When it came to quietness in the 2009 Honda CR-V, most sources have positive comments. Edmunds contends "the cabin is well-insulated from the road noise that plagued past CR-Vs," while ConsumerGuide notes minor noise: "Engine noise intrudes during acceleration. Tire noise is noticeable on most road surfaces but doesn't annoy. Some wind rush is noticeable around exterior mirrors."
2009 Honda CR-V
The 2009 Honda CR-V leaves no stone unturned when it comes to safety.
Editors at TheCarConnection.com can pull up lists of likes and dislikes about the 2009 Honda CR-V—but when it comes to safety, there's no getting around the fact that the CR-V has all its bases covered.
The 2009 CRV receives the highest rating ("good") from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Honda 2009 CR-V scores top marks (five out of five stars) in front- and side-impact crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and four out of five on rollover resistance tests.
Edmunds reports, "All major safety features are standard on the 2009 Honda CR-V, including antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags." ConsumerGuide also lists "traction control and an antiskid system."
MotherProof notes that in the 2009 Honda CR-V, "the seating position is high—not too high, but just high enough to offer a new perspective on the road ahead." This means that visibility is not much of a problem. Kelley Blue Book explains that "visibility is good in all directions, even to the rear." MotherProof also says "thanks to the rearview camera, I had a pretty good view of the road behind, as well. I liked it—a lot."
2009 Honda CR-V
The 2009 Honda CR-V offers plenty of features to suit most needs, although to get some of the most desirable options, you'll have to step up to an expensive EX-L.
Editors at TheCarConnection.com are impressed by the standard and optional features lists for the 2009 Honda CR-V.
The 2009 Honda CR-V comes in three trim levels: LX, EX, and EX-L. Most features are tied to the trim level chosen. Standard equipment on the LX trim includes cruise control, keyless entry, power locks/windows/mirrors, a tilt-telescope steering wheel, and an AM/FM/CD player with an auxiliary jack, Edmunds reports. The EX adds a sunroof, steering-wheel audio controls, and a six-CD changer. ConsumerGuide points out that the EX-L adds "dual-zone automatic climate controls, leather upholstery, heated front seats, 8-way power driver seat, center console, leather-wrapped steering wheel, [and] heated power mirrors." Other EX-L features include satellite radio and a rearview camera.
The only option, Edmunds adds, is a navigation system that includes a rearview camera and a slot for digital cards for music playback. ConsumerGuide sums it up, noting that the 2009 Honda CR-V offers "lots of standard safety and convenience features."
Vehicle controls in the 2009 Honda CR-V are very user-friendly, according to Kelley Blue Book: "the CR-V's dual-dial dash is an easy read, controls and switchgear are all within arm's reach and simple to operate."
Cars.com notes "the moonroof in the LX model seemed small, even for a compact vehicle." The air-conditioning system catches flak from MotherProof, which reports it "couldn't fully combat a Southern California heat wave, especially considering there are no vents in back to cool off the little ones."