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2013 Honda CR-V Road Test Review by Martha Hindes - RTM's 2013 CUV Buyer's Guide

2013 Honda CR-V Road Test Review

by Martha Hindes

CUV Buyer's Guide - RTM's Top 10 Picks for 2013

Acura RDX

Honda CR-V


Hyundai Santa Fe

Ford Escape

For someone trying to beat traffic running across a street, hope the vehicle you're dodging is a 2013 Honda CR-V crossover. This recently revised crossover utility vehicle (CUV) was designed to prevent injury to pedestrians wanting to play bumper tag in mid-street with a few thousand pounds of moving sheet metal and parts.

Honda has been astute about keeping a clean safety record for the cars and trucks it builds, as evidenced in its longstanding record of high star safety ratings. The new, 2013 model year is no different. This CR-V (its name originally derived from Comfortable Runabout Vehicle)  was redesigned a year ago, and includes a safety system Honda calls “pedestrian injury mitigation,” to reduce injury to those on foot if hit by a car. (We expect the system has had lots of real world validation in Honda's Japan homeland and other countries worldwide where people tend to go on foot more than Americans do.)

The CR-V for Americans is purposely built in the U.S. for contemporary buyers whose lifestyles can vary from city dwellers to the beach crowd to those who love the countryside or wide open spaces. In true CUV fashion, according to Honda, it is meant to morph from comfortable daily driving, shopping trips and package carrier duties to light purpose off-roading if the occasion calls for it.

While safety and quality have been Honda hallmarks for decades, styling has gotten a boost with the latest CR-V. This newest version loses a little height to make it appear longer and sleeker than before, even with roof rails added.  It doesn't lose its ability to carry 5 passengers plus lots of shopping finds or golf clubs in the rear, especially with second row, split seating laid flat.  But it looses the look of girth by being a bit lower to the ground and more aerodynamic, and is easier to get into and out of. Honda has accentuated the sculpting in the vehicle's side to add more definition and made the front bolder and more interesting with grille and headlight changes, bold 16-inch wheels are standard, although downsized slightly from the previous model. Seventeen inch wheels are available.

Inside, the revised CR-V has a new “intelligent” multi-function display and "eco assist” to help the driver enhance fuel efficiency. The upgraded EX-L trim has 10-way adjustable power steering and heated leather-trimmed front seats. Base four- or six-speaker, 160-Watt audio is upgraded to 328-Watt and seven speakers in the EX-L. All are Bluetooth and Pandora compatible, have text message function, and speed sensitive volume, plus multi-angle rear view camera for safety.

Under the hood of all of these gasoline-powered CR-Vs is Honda's i-VTEC 2.4-liter inline four engine that generates 185 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque. All trims (LX, EX and EX-L) have a five-speed automatic. While not a drag strip contender, it handles weaving in and out of traffic with deft control and takes its place comfortably in the passing lane.

Honda offers well-equipped packages including front or all-wheel drive versions, plus models with DVD rear seat entertainment and voice recognition navigation systems. Pricing ranges from the base, front-drive LX at $22,795 that earns mileage numbers of 23/31/26 to the top line EX-L all-wheel-drive with navi for about $30K. That is rated at 22/30/25.

Our consensus? A tried and true trooper gets a welcome and handsome uplift we think staunch Honda fans will appreciate.

For more info on Honda vehicles, click here.