2011 Honda CR-V

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Key Specs
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Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2011 Honda CR‑V. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Seating position
  • Gas mileage
  • Reliability
  • Cargo room
  • Handling

The Bad

  • Road noise
  • Modest passing power
  • Folding design of backseat
  • IIHS roof-strength rating

Notable Features of the 2011 Honda CR-V

  • New SE trim
  • FWD or AWD
  • Four-cylinder engine
  • Seats five

2011 Honda CR-V Road Test

Kelsey Mays

Since the current generation arrived in late 2006, I've driven the Honda CR-V during four model years in four states on six occasions. If reviewing cars were like doing laundry, the CR-V would be my well-worn pair of jeans. Honda still has a few things to iron out — chief among them being the CR-V's jittery ride — but to call foul on the market's best-selling crossover over a few loose threads would be to ignore the whole closet's worth of things the CR-V gets right.

The Honda CR-V may not be the most handsome or capable model in its body-type class, but it delivers precisely the qualities a small crossover ought to.

This time around, I evaluated two EX-L vehicle models: one with front-wheel drive and one with all-wheel drive. The EX-L caps off a lineup that also includes, in ascending order, LX, SE and EX trims. The SE is new for 2011; click here to compare all four trims or here to compare the 2011 and 2010 Honda CR-Vs.

Sufficient Power, Firm Ride
Paired with a standard five-speed automatic transmission, Honda's 2.4-liter four-cylinder pulls the CR-V up to speed with sufficient power. The automatic kicks down to 4th or 3rd gear on the highway aggressively and with little delay — which is necessary given that, characteristic of a Honda four-cylinder, the CR-V has modest low-end torque. With just me on board, our front-drive tester droned loudly in the passing lane, but overall power for such maneuvers was ample.

In contrast, I put f...

Since the current generation arrived in late 2006, I've driven the Honda CR-V during four model years in four states on six occasions. If reviewing cars were like doing laundry, the CR-V would be my well-worn pair of jeans. Honda still has a few things to iron out — chief among them being the CR-V's jittery ride — but to call foul on the market's best-selling crossover over a few loose threads would be to ignore the whole closet's worth of things the CR-V gets right.

The Honda CR-V may not be the most handsome or capable model in its body-type class, but it delivers precisely the qualities a small crossover ought to.

This time around, I evaluated two EX-L vehicle models: one with front-wheel drive and one with all-wheel drive. The EX-L caps off a lineup that also includes, in ascending order, LX, SE and EX trims. The SE is new for 2011; click here to compare all four trims or here to compare the 2011 and 2010 Honda CR-Vs.

Sufficient Power, Firm Ride
Paired with a standard five-speed automatic transmission, Honda's 2.4-liter four-cylinder pulls the CR-V up to speed with sufficient power. The automatic kicks down to 4th or 3rd gear on the highway aggressively and with little delay — which is necessary given that, characteristic of a Honda four-cylinder, the CR-V has modest low-end torque. With just me on board, our front-drive tester droned loudly in the passing lane, but overall power for such maneuvers was ample.

In contrast, I put four adults in an EX-L already burdened by an extra 124 pounds of all-wheel drive. Loaded up, the CR-V doesn't have much oomph to spare: It reaches highway speeds soon enough, but passing requires planning and effort. If you want enough power to pass on a whim — or if you need to tow more than what's allowed by the Honda CR-V's meager 1,500-pound rating — consider the Toyota RAV4 or Ford Escape, both of which can be had with a V-6 engine. (The Chevy Equinox also offers a V-6, but it's pretty underwhelming.) The CR-V comes only with its four-cylinder, which makes 180 horsepower.

EPA combined gas mileage with front-wheel drive is 24 mpg; all-wheel-drive models are rated 23 mpg. That's near the top of the segment. In Cars.com's recent $29,000 SUV Shootout, the Honda CR-V's 28.8 mpg tied for top honors among nine crossovers in a 145-mile highway loop.

If outright power isn't a strength, handling is. The CR-V's reflexes are generally sharp, with good braking linearity, relatively flat cornering and sharp steering. Though it falls short of a Subaru Forester or Kia Sportage when it comes to outright driving fun, the Honda CR-V's maneuvering confidence puts it in the upper half of its class. That said, some drivers may wish for more power steering assist at low speeds, such as in parking lots.

The CR-V handles larger bumps well enough, but small road imperfections will be felt over long stretches of interstate. The CR-V settled in better and bounced less on the highway when loaded with extra passengers, but Honda has work to do on the suspension.

Roomy Cabin
Though the five-seat cabin wasn't particularly well-insulated from tire noise (with Bridgestone Dueler P225/65R17 all-season tires) at highway speeds, it's comfortable overall. The CR-V's upright front seats, tall windows and open lower dash recall a minivan or large SUV. You sit up in there, which is exactly the driving position a proper crossover ought to have. In the name of more carlike interiors, too many competitors strand you down in a sea of wraparound cockpit furniture.

The most important controls operate with precision, and it's nice to see chrome door handles and textured silver trim in places where other Hondas employ duller gray plastics. A couple of areas are less excusable, including sheets of molded plastic as door inserts and a navigation system whose graphics rival the original "Oregon Trail" maps. All told, however, the CR-V's cabin ranks above average. It may be a 5-year-old design, but it's aging well.

Both rows of seats sit high enough off the floor to afford excellent thigh support, though the rear seat's bottom cushion could be a bit longer. Still, legroom is good. Taller adults may want more headroom, which trails off as you lean back. Conversely, you can't find much more versatility than you get in the backseat of a CR-V. The standard 40/20/40-split second row offers reclining and forward/backward adjustments.

Cargo room behind the second row is an impressive 35.7 cubic feet. Tumbling and securing the second-row seats is an onerous process, but it helps create an equally impressive 72.9 cubic feet of maximum space.

Safety, Features & Pricing
In crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the CR-V earned the top score, Good, in front-, rear- and side-impact tests. The Honda CR-V's roof-strength score of Marginal, however, is a concern. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the CR-V an overall score of four stars (out of five) in its revamped 2011 crash tests.

Standard safety features include rollover-sensing curtain airbags, antilock brakes, active front head restraints and an electronic stability system. Click here for a full list, and here to see our evaluation of the crossover's child-seat accommodations.

Small crossovers are generally a dependable group, but the CR-V's excellent reliability stands out even in that crowd. The Honda CR-V LX's $21,695 starting price is relatively affordable, as small crossovers go. Standard features include power windows and locks, an automatic transmission, air conditioning, cruise control and a CD stereo with an auxiliary MP3 jack. All-wheel drive on any trim runs a reasonable $1,250. Move up the ladder, and you can get a power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, USB/iPod compatibility, heated leather upholstery, a navigation system and a moonroof. A loaded EX-L tops out just under $30,000.

CR-V in the Market
Of the nine crossovers in Cars.com's SUV shootout, the Honda CR-V placed sixth. Aesthetic issues played a large part – the vehicle has always looked quirky. In comparison, up-and-coming competitors like the redesigned Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage offer scads of fresh appeal. No doubt they'll eat away at the CR-V's sales lead this year.

Still, Honda has done well with the current generation. This Honda CR-V is a competent choice: comfortable, spacious, efficient and reliable. We're due for another CR-V within the next few years, but if you're shopping a small crossover vehicle today, the existing car is very much worth a look.

Send Kelsey an email  

 


2011 CR-V Video

Cars.com headed out to Pasadena, California to compare nine of the most popular SUVs for 2011. We were joined by MotorWeek and USAToday, using input from a real family: Joey & Chandie Lawrence.

Latest 2011 CR-V Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.3)
Interior Design
(4.3)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Bought a CRV - AGAIN

by CRV Thom from Trenton, MI on July 30, 2018

You just cant beat a CRV for dependability and lasting forever. This is my 2nd one. I still have my first one - a 2001 with 200,000 + miles on it. It runs great but Michigan winters are beginning to ... Read full review

(5.0)

Best all around car I 've ever owned

by MBMTSL from Glen Allen, VA on July 19, 2018

This has been a great car for our family. We purchased it new and it has been very reliable or as they say "Honda" reliable! Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2011 Honda CR-V currently has 7 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2011 Honda CR-V LX

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
marginal

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
acceptable
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Honda

Program Benefits

Carfax vehicle history report

  • Limited Warranty

    7 years / 100,000 miles

    1-year/12,000-mile non-powertrain warranty begins after expiration of original warranty (3 years/36,000 miles) or on date sold as certified (no deductible); 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty begins from the original in-service date (no deductible)
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 80,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 182 point inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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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