Honda's car-based CR-V returns for the 2000 model year unchanged, and why not? The CR-V is the most popular of the small sport utility vehicles, and Honda dealers sell them nearly as fast they roll them off the delivery trucks.
The CR-V is scheduled to be redesigned for the 2002 model year, and the new model will likely be slightly larger and more powerful.
The CR-V has some of the usual SUV amenities, such as front buckets and a three-place rear bench that folds flat for more cargo room. Among the unusual touches is a plastic cargo cover that folds out to create a picnic table.
Also unusual especially for a Japanese-brand vehicle is that the automatic transmission lever is on the steering column instead of the floor.
The CR-V is one of the growing number of hybrid SUVs that are gaining popularity. Based on the Civic platform, it blends the rugged looks of an SUV with car-like ride and handling. Access to the cargo area is a two-step affair with a flip-up window and a tailgate that swings open to the right (with outside spare tire attached).
Under the Hood
A 146-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder is used on all models, which come with either manual or automatic transmission. The base LX comes with front-wheel or 4WD; the EX only offers 4WD. The Real-Time 4WD system engages automatically to maintain traction. Honda describes the CR-V as an SUV suited for light-duty off-road adventures.