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2012 Honda CR-V

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$10,110 — $18,514 USED
22
Photos
Sport Utility
5 Seats
26-27 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 3 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Sleeker looks
  • Cargo room
  • Gas mileage
  • Backseat folding ease
  • Standard backup camera

The Bad

  • Interior quality could be better
2012 Honda CR-V exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2012 Honda CR-V
  • Redesigned for 2012
  • Improved gas mileage
  • Standard Bluetooth streaming audio
  • Standard Pandora compatibility
  • FWD or AWD

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

From the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, Cars.com's Dave Thomas takes a look at the 2012 Honda CR-V.

By David Thomas

The current Honda CR-V is one of the best-selling vehicles in the country, let alone in the the small crossover segment, and the redesigned 2012 version doesn't stray far from the formula that has made it so popular: It's easy to drive, has lots of room for its size and gets good mileage.

Improvements to the 2012 Honda CR-V's interior, cargo configurability, ride quality and standard-equipment list should keep the compact crossover atop car shoppers' must-test lists.

What's New
The CR-V drives more like a car now and has a new interior, but the exterior design stands out as being much more interesting than the current model. The front has a forward slope to it, with a large grille that actually cuts into the headlights. This is bold stuff, but without being ugly-bold like the Honda Crosstour. It won't offend.

The back end is even more of a departure, taking the vertical taillight theme from the previous generation even further. It reminds me of Volvo's sleek XC60 crossover.

From the side I thought the Honda CR-V was longer than before, but my eyes were playing tricks on me. The CR-V is almost an inch shorter than the model it replaces, while the wheelbase stays the same. The CR-V isn't as tall, though, and that's definitely noticeable as you look over the roof.

Interior
Compared with the rest of the SUV class — and certainly with the outgoing CR-V — the 2012 is modern and sophisticated. While it isn't a significant ste...

The current Honda CR-V is one of the best-selling vehicles in the country, let alone in the the small crossover segment, and the redesigned 2012 version doesn't stray far from the formula that has made it so popular: It's easy to drive, has lots of room for its size and gets good mileage.

Improvements to the 2012 Honda CR-V's interior, cargo configurability, ride quality and standard-equipment list should keep the compact crossover atop car shoppers' must-test lists.

What's New
The CR-V drives more like a car now and has a new interior, but the exterior design stands out as being much more interesting than the current model. The front has a forward slope to it, with a large grille that actually cuts into the headlights. This is bold stuff, but without being ugly-bold like the Honda Crosstour. It won't offend.

The back end is even more of a departure, taking the vertical taillight theme from the previous generation even further. It reminds me of Volvo's sleek XC60 crossover.

From the side I thought the Honda CR-V was longer than before, but my eyes were playing tricks on me. The CR-V is almost an inch shorter than the model it replaces, while the wheelbase stays the same. The CR-V isn't as tall, though, and that's definitely noticeable as you look over the roof.

Interior
Compared with the rest of the SUV class — and certainly with the outgoing CR-V — the 2012 is modern and sophisticated. While it isn't a significant step up from the Chevy Equinox or Hyundai Tucson, it shares head-of-the-class status with those two in terms of quality.

Where it shines above the rest is in the comfort level for all passengers in a small space.

While the Equinox is comfortable, it's a much larger vehicle: 187.8 inches in length versus the Honda CR-V's 178.3 inches. That's a considerable difference. However, despite this difference in exterior size the CR-V has more passenger volume. The Equinox has roughly 100 cubic feet, while the CR-V is rated at 101.5 cubic feet for the EX and higher trims and 104.1 cubic feet for the LX model.

The Tucson is smaller inside and out, and you'll feel it in the cramped interior and firm seats.

Inside the new CR-V, there's 0.4 inches more driver's seat height adjustment and 0.8 inches more travel for the tilt/telescoping steering wheel than there was in the previous version.

The front seats are very comfortable. One of the recently redesigned Civic's positives is its comfort as a daily driver, and the CR-V is similarly cozy. The vehicle I tested was a loaded EX-L with leather seats, which won raves from my co-pilot as well. There's plenty of thigh support, and if the Civic's cloth seats are any indication, the Honda CR-V's should be more than acceptable.

Another major change for the better is a center console that runs from the armrest all the way to the dashboard. The outgoing CR-V wasted the space between the console and dash with an open floor. This new console has a large storage compartment (it could fit a small shopping bag from Starbucks and then some) and two cupholders below the shifter. There are also small storage bins on the side of the console — near where a driver's knee would be — below the cupholders that can hold a spare water bottle or other items you want to stash away.

There's plenty of room for adults in the backseat. Sitting directly behind the driver's seat that was in position for my 5-foot-10 frame, I had a few inches of knee room. I also installed a large, convertible child-safety seat in the backseat. It fit well, with enough space for a child like my 2-year-old to just miss kicking the front seat.

Performance
Under the hood remains the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed automatic as the 2011 Honda CR-V. Through various adjustments to the engine tuning, the 2012 CR-V gains five extra horsepower, putting it at 185 horses and 163 pounds-feet of torque. Yet better aerodynamics increase the mileage substantially, to 23/31 mpg city/highway (up from 21/28 mpg). By comparison, the Hyundai Tucson is rated at 23/31 mpg and Chevy's Equinox at 22/32 mpg.

For the 2012 CR-V, Honda is debuting an all-new all-wheel-drive system. It delivers up to 100 percent of the power to the front or rear wheels to offer better grip at low, takeoff speeds, when it senses slippage due to road conditions.

The new, lightweight electronically controlled system leads to a big mileage gain for AWD CR-Vs, putting it at 22/30 mpg, which tops the class. The comparable Equinox is rated 20/29 mpg, the Tucson gets 21/28 mpg and the Subaru Forester is rated 21/27 mpg with standard AWD.

I tested an AWD model through hilly California roads in various states of smoothness, disrepair and open construction. The new model handles these road conditions smoothly, without the undulations of the previous generation.

The electric power steering is exceptionally light, requiring little effort to turn the car. It's responsive enough on twisty roads, but just barely. It is definitely not tuned for at-the-limits driving.

It's also very quiet inside the cabin, even over concrete freeways. The CR-V launches from a stop smoothly, has plenty of power for passing on highways and is generally very smooth when shifting between gears. It does generate some buzz under moderate acceleration up steep hills. I was able to test it against the current Toyota RAV4 and the previous-generation CR-V, and in this specific driving condition the buzzing was actually worse in the 2012 Honda CR-V than in those two, though it's otherwise quieter in most circumstances.

The RAV4's ample power and responsiveness were surprising when tested back-to-back with the CR-V, but for most crossover drivers I don't think they're distinguishing enough traits to put it ahead of the CR-V.

There's also an Econ button on all CR-Vs that alters feedback and driving characteristics to elicit more fuel-efficient driving behaviors, but doesn't adjust the engine or transmission to actively save fuel. The result is drivers will have to push down on the accelerator pedal more to get the same amount of acceleration. The climate control is also adjusted incrementally, but otherwise the feature doesn't impact many of the car's driving characteristics.

Cargo
Cargo room behind the backseat has increased 1.5 cubic feet to 37.2 cubic feet. Maximum cargo capacity with both rear seats folded, however, is down 2 cubic feet to 70.9. But the numbers don't tell the full story.

The rear seats now fold flat into the floor versus the previous generation's, which folded down and then tumbled forward against the front seats. To fold the seats flat now you simply pull a lever on either side of the cargo area. That automatically springs the seat bottoms and backrests forward and down to create a low, flat floor. You can also lower the seats via controls on the seats themselves if you're at a side door rather than behind the cargo area. This ease of use is such a great improvement it can't be overlooked, and the area is plenty large for this vehicle category.

The RAV4 is rated at 36.4 cubic feet with the second row in place and 73 cubic feet with it down. The Subaru Forester, at 33.5 and 68.3 cubic feet, and the Chevy Equinox, at 31.5 and 63.7 cubic feet, respectively, are both smaller.

Features, Trims & Technology
Pricing for the new CR-V hadn't been announced at the time of publication, but Honda says it will range between $21,000 and $30,000. However, we do have complete trim level information and expect pricing among the trims to be similar to the current generation's pricing.

Trims include the base LX, EX, EX-L, EX-L Navi and EX-L RES. Honda categorizes equipment packages like navigation and rear-entertainment systems (that's the EX-L RES version) as separate trim levels, which cuts down on shoppers having to pick confusing option packages.

The LX is well-equipped with high-tech new standard features, including a 5-inch information screen, a backup camera, Bluetooth, a USB input, Pandora internet-radio capability, cruise control, 16-inch steel wheels and power windows.

There's also standard text messaging functions. The system can read incoming messages aloud and send pre-determined messages out, like "I'm running late," as long as you have a compatible smartphone. Most new BlackBerry phones and a few Android phones are compatible with the system, but the iPhone isn't.

The Honda CR-V EX adds a six-speaker stereo, a moonroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, a one-touch up/down driver's window, power door locks, body-colored door handles and side mirrors, and a security system.

The Honda CR-V EX-L AWD adds leather seating, a 10-way power driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, a seven-speaker stereo with satellite radio, and heated side mirrors.

The EX-L Navi features a navigation system with a 6.5-inch screen, voice recognition and live traffic information.

The EX-L Res doesn't come with the navigation system but adds a 7-inch screen to the ceiling for the backseat. It's a relatively small screen, and the DVD system eats into the center console's generous cargo space. As a parent who is constantly taking an iPad along on road trips, I find built-in systems like this less useful and less flexible than an affordable portable alternative.

Safety
The 2012 Honda CR-V has not yet been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The CR-V comes with standard front seat-mounted side airbags and side curtain airbags for both rows of seats. Antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are also standard, as is required of all 2012 models.

CR-V in the Market
The current CR-V is one of the best-selling vehicles in the country. The 2012 is an improvement in every way, and if the company can keep prices from escalating, it's sure to continue its successful run.

Send David an email  

 

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.6
181 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.3)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Great in mpg

by IgorS. from Bluffton, SC on December 4, 2018

Very reliable vehicle with great engine and low cost in maintenance. Comfortable on the highway and in the city use. Overall great car for everyday use. Read full review

(5.0)

Most comfortable and reliable car I've owned.

by Tom B. from Ocala, Florida on November 8, 2018

This car met all my needs. Easy entry and exit, comfortable driving position and excellent reliability. Much better than any other car that I test drove. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2012 Honda CR-V currently has 3 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2012 Honda CR-V LX

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

Front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/thigh
good
Lower leg/foot
marginal
Overall evaluation
marginal
Retraints and dummy kinematics
marginal
Structure and safety cage
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
good

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.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Honda

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2012 CR-V Stories

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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

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