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2005 Cute Ute Buyer's Guide

2005 Honda CRC Review

by Martha Hindes

2005 Honda CRV
2005 Honda CRV

What do you get when you change a lot of little things a little? You get a lot of change. While the update of Honda's CR-V compact sport utility isn't radical by any means, it packs a lot of freshness into one of the original "cute utes" that has set the bar for a host of others that followed.

For '05, the CR-V remains true to the car-based roots that first attracted buyers who wanted sport utility fun and function without a need to conquer brute terrain. Keep the CR-V on pavement (or light gravel) where it was intended to go, and it repays with comfort, style and, above all, a solid foundation of safety features. This year's update starts with a more aerodynamic front, new grill and headlamps, monochrome bumpers plus three new colors and larger tires among exterior changes. Inside are retractable grab rails, new lighter ivory color, outside temp display and wheel-mounted audio on the upmarket EX, plus leather trim and heated leather seats and door mirrors on a new Special Edition trim level.

Many main changes are invisible, however, including an improved four-wheel drive system and standard five-speed automatic across the four-model lineup. Safety gets a boost with more safety features as standard equipment. Honda adds side impact air bags and a new anti-skid system. All CR-V versions run on the same 2.4-liter four banger. This five-seater, with ample leg and storage room, starts just below $20K, leaving room in the budget, perhaps, for a little extra change.