2008 Honda CR-V

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$5,522–$13,602 Inventory Prices
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2008 Honda CR‑V. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • High-quality interior
  • Quiet ride
  • Smooth transmission
  • Value for the money

The Bad

  • Base model seat fabric
  • V-6 engine not offered
  • Folding design of backseat
2008 Honda CR-V exterior side view

Notable Features of the 2008 Honda CR-V

  • Standard stability system
  • Optional navigation system with backup camera
  • Improved handling
  • FWD or AWD

2008 Honda CR-V Road Test

David Thomas
Editor's note: This review was written in September 2006 about the 2007 Honda CR-V. Little of substance has changed with this year's model. To see what details are different this year, check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

One of the country's best-selling compact SUVs has been redesigned for 2007. Since its introduction in 1996, the Honda CR-V has always been a nondescript player in the segment, quietly providing a reliable and utilitarian ride but never setting the world afire in the engine or design department. The 2007 will definitely turn heads, and while it grew on me during a recent day with a few test vehicles, it's not an instant stunner.

This new CR-V hopes to spur the soul with a stylish design that is indeed bold, but no one should overlook the quiet and refined engine and transmission, nor the slick interior. Has Honda finally busted out of the "just above-average" mold it made for itself in past generations?

Exterior
There's no escaping it: The new Honda CR-V has an underbite. I don't know where designers are getting the idea that this is a good look, but the new Jeep Compass has a similar bumper treatment. It's truly "unfortunate," as a colleague of mine said when he first saw it, because from every other angle the CR-V's design shines.

Before I get too negative about the front end, it does look better on the road and from a dead-on perspective. It's when you stray to the left or right that it show...

Editor's note: This review was written in September 2006 about the 2007 Honda CR-V. Little of substance has changed with this year's model. To see what details are different this year, check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

One of the country's best-selling compact SUVs has been redesigned for 2007. Since its introduction in 1996, the Honda CR-V has always been a nondescript player in the segment, quietly providing a reliable and utilitarian ride but never setting the world afire in the engine or design department. The 2007 will definitely turn heads, and while it grew on me during a recent day with a few test vehicles, it's not an instant stunner.

This new CR-V hopes to spur the soul with a stylish design that is indeed bold, but no one should overlook the quiet and refined engine and transmission, nor the slick interior. Has Honda finally busted out of the "just above-average" mold it made for itself in past generations?

Exterior
There's no escaping it: The new Honda CR-V has an underbite. I don't know where designers are getting the idea that this is a good look, but the new Jeep Compass has a similar bumper treatment. It's truly "unfortunate," as a colleague of mine said when he first saw it, because from every other angle the CR-V's design shines.

Before I get too negative about the front end, it does look better on the road and from a dead-on perspective. It's when you stray to the left or right that it shows off some of the oddity going on. I think most CR-V buyers will get past it, especially since the last two designs spoke to absolutely no one.

Around back, the CR-V has finally lost the rear-mounted spare tire and side-swinging cargo door, replaced by a true hatchback that lifts easily. Vertical brake lights also deliver a classy feel. I've now seen a number of exterior colors in the flesh and think darker hues like Royal Blue Metallic are more attractive than lighter ones like Glacier Blue Metallic. There's also an odd Green Tea color that — similar to the front end — will generate strong opinions.

Interior
Honda has really found its stride with interiors lately. The CR-V shares its look in part with the new Civic compact car lineup and Ridgeline pickup truck.

The dash is perfectly executed. Did I just say that? Where the Civic went a bit funky with a two-tiered layout for the gauge cluster, the CR-V opts for a more straightforward side-by-side setup with an informative digital display wedged between the speedometer and tachometer.

The steering wheel was a bit on the small side for me, but considering Honda expects 60 percent of CR-V buyers to be women, that won't be a real negative. Radio controls and the center-mounted shifter are surrounded by small cubbies, including a hidden upper glove box with a metal door. There's also a standard glove box below. 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.

The moonroof in the LX model seemed small, even for a compact vehicle. Rooftop glass is only getting bigger these days, and the CR-V's small sliver doesn't deliver as a must-have option.

Leather-equipped LX models should be the preferred choice, as I found the standard cloth fabric in both the EX and LX trims a bit too soft to the touch to be durable. I also didn't think the straps used to flip the rear seats down would last over the long haul. They felt strong for the most part, but other automakers use sturdy buttons for such operations instead. There's also no way to flip the seats down from the rear cargo area.

Going & Stopping
The CR-V sports Honda's new 166-horsepower DOHC four-cylinder engine mated to a standard five-speed automatic transmission. It's a capable unit that won't stir the souls of sports enthusiasts, but it isn't meant to. Shoppers instead will consider the mileage: 23/30 mpg city/highway in front-wheel-drive models and 22/28 for four-wheel-drive. That's an average of one additional mpg for the 2007 models.

The standard five-speed offered smooth shifts between gears, and engine noise only intruded when I tried to hammer the accelerator. I quickly learned that wasn't the right way to go about driving this compact SUV, and for the rest of the ride I barely heard a whisper from the engine.

Braking was precise and will instill a lot of confidence in people going for a test drive.

Ride & Handling
Again I find myself praising the CR-V, this time for the absolute quiet the cabin provides, totally blocking out road and wind noise. The funky exterior must be aerodynamic as well.

The CR-V shines in handling. Steering was sprung tight on the four-wheel-drive EX-L I tested. It felt like a super-size rubber band was snapping the wheel back in my hands. Move the steering wheel slightly and the CR-V reacts with an intuitive feel that's rare in non-luxury cars.

Cargo & Towing
The first thing designers and journalists care about when discussing utility vehicles like this one is cargo size. Sometimes I think they get so caught up in the size they forget about the utility. The 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.

Folding the seats themselves isn't hard, but it's not the best setup either. There are two straps to pull, and neither felt that sturdy. One flips the rear seat bottom forward, against the back of the front seats, and the second strap, next to the integrated headrests, flips the second row down, creating a flat load floor — another must when designing utility vehicles.

There's a folding shelf that fits into two molded slots in the rear, meaning you could store groceries underneath and dry cleaning on top. The shelf didn't seem all that useful, and according to a warning sticker can only support 20 pounds. I'd prefer a standard cargo cover to simply hide what I'm hauling.

The CR-V can tow 1,500 pounds, but I don't expect many buyers will haul more than a load of groceries.

Safety
Honda offers side curtain airbags with rollover sensors, front side-impact airbags, active front head restraints, an electronic stability system, antilock brakes and a tire pressure monitoring system, all standard. The 2007 CR-V was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the organization's best rating. It earned top scores in frontal and side crash tests.

CR-V in the Market
The aging Jeep Liberty is still the best-selling compact SUV on the market; the outgoing CR-V was third. With this new CR-V on the market, only the Toyota RAV4 manages to be a true competitor, and it adds an optional V-6 engine. Still, the CR-V brings its own distinct exterior and enough interior refinement and driving pleasure to compete with any compact SUV.

Send David an email 



2008 CR-V Video

Cars.com staff chooses the Top 10 Urban Cars.

Latest 2008 CR-V Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.3)
Performance
(4.3)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.3)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Latest Reviews

(4.0)

GREAT first car

by Sarah R. from Warwick, RI on June 22, 2018

Bought this car as a first car and it has been the best thing I?ve ever done. I never feel unsafe in my Honda and I know that I will be safe if I ever get into an accident. Read full review

(4.0)

The jury is still out

by na from Fort Lauderdale, FL on June 22, 2018

It has a few bumps and shakes, it's not new. I do not drive much and in just 2 weeks I am still feeling my way around. Check back in a year. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2008 Honda CR-V currently has 7 recalls

NHTSA Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2008 Honda CR-V LX

NHTSA rates vehicles using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Overall Rollover Rating
4 Star
Driver's
5 Star
Passenger's
5 Star
Front Seat
5 Star
Rear Seat
5 Star
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The CR-V received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker