The 2009 Honda CR-V’s defining feature is a highly flexible floor plan. Split rear seats fold easily and tumble forward. Doing so increases cargo capacity from a generous minimum of 35.7 cubic feet to a maximum of 72.9 cubic feet. Lift-over height in back is low. Second-row seats also recline slightly and the headrests have been designed for a visibility-enhancing low profile when not in use. Rear-seat travel is adjustable fore and aft, front seats have enough travel to accommodate taller folks and all trim levels benefit from fold-down, inside armrests. Rear-seat legroom has been reduced by about an inch compared to the previous generation, but six-footers can still fit front and rear simultaneously, though it’s a tad tighter in back now. The CR-V’s dual-dial dash is an easy read, controls and switchgear are all within arm’s reach and simple to operate and inside storage areas abound.
The first two generations of the CR-V made their marks by combining exceptional utility with enviable reliability. They were high function, but low fashion. This time around, Honda aims to lay claim to that portion of the new buyers flocking to this segment who are style-conscious. Toward that end, the 2009 Honda CR-V’s still-practical package is wrapped in a decidedly fashion-forward design. The side view is dramatically different than most boxy SUVs, with an elliptically-shaped greenhouse. Up front are slash-cut headlamps and a laid-back windshield, while around back is a large rear hatch with no hatch-mounted spare tire to complicate entrance. Ground clearance is a generous 7.3 inches.
Under the Hood
The 2009 Honda CR-V has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 166 horsepower and delivers its 161 pound-feet of torque across a wider power band than previously. The four-cylinder engine is linked exclusively to a five-speed automatic transmission. The loss of an available five-speed manual transmission – formerly standard equipment on previous generation CR-Vs – may be lamented by mileage maximizers, but Honda says that the demand for stick-shift CR-Vs among buyers was just too low.
2.4-liter in-line 4
166 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
161 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 (2WD), 20/26 (4WD)