2009 Honda CR-V 5-Door 4-Wheel Drive EX-L Navi (733)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2009 Honda CR-V 5-Door 4-Wheel Drive EX-L Navi.  If you have driven one in years past as I did in 2001 it will amaze you how much it has grown and matured since that 2002 year model. The ’02 model was boxy and cheap looking by today’s standards.

The real time 4-wheel drive on this ‘09 is convenient but unnecessary and costly. But if you are an off road kinda person you may have to have it. Statistics say that only 5% of 4-wheel drive vehicles ever get off road. And I suspect it is not because you have to but because you want to.

General Info:

Parts – US/Canadian 50%, Japan 30%.

Assembly – Sayama, Saitama, Japan

Class:  – SUV

Cars: – Accord, Accord Hybrid, Civic, Civic Hybrid, CR-V, Element, Fit, Odyssey, Pilot, Ridgeline, S2000.

Observation/Comment:

Sometime we are so bent on getting to our destination quickly we drive like it’s an emergency. But when you consider the difference in time to travel 50 miles by driving 60 mph instead of 80 mph is only 10 minutes it makes a lot of sense to save gas and risk less. I came to the conclusion I would leave 10 minutes earlier, relax and turn on the radio or NOT and either way enjoy the ride. Try it, you’ll like it too. Audio books are a good use of time, instead of texting at 60-80 mph. Young kids can do that. Apparently they don’t have as much to live for.

In addition to texting while driving I’ve noticed a lot of folks ignoring the law requiring hands free cell phones while at the wheel. Well perhaps it’s a bad law. I’ve noticed a major distraction when the phone rings and the hands free device doesn’t work properly. I’m wondering if it isn’t more dangerous than holding the phone to your ear. What do you think?

Handling & Performance:

Adequately powered and big improvement over the marginal power of the 2002 model I tested with 146 hp. The stance is wider in this model and stability never entered my mind as did some earlier models. Stopping distances are respectable with 4-wheel disc brakes, and you go from 0-60 mph in 9.3 seconds.

Styling:

It is a lovely looking car and not unlike any mid and even high end SUV look in today’s world.

Fit and Finish:

Very good. Honda good.

Cost:

You’ll pay for the maturity factor from the ’02 model that was priced from $18-22,000.

Features and Conveniences:

Ok, so you like the tire warning light system. Me too, but it can be misleading and the problem is you don’t know if it is real and it can be very disconcerting. And of course it always comes on when you are in a hurry. Why, because we’re always in a hurry. We have become so accustomed to everything working well that we don’t leave until we absolutely have to. So, I’m no different and this one morning I left the house just in time to get to Press day at the LA Auto Show – and bang, the tire pressure warning light comes on at 5 AM. Why now? But then, why ‘not’ now?

The thing is the warning system is not always accurate and I have found that on cold nights it can give false alarms. That was the case on this morning and when the tires warmed up the light went out and stayed out for the remainder of the week that I was testing it. But on one occasion, several months ago the light came on while driving and I stopped at a service station and indeed there was a nail and slow leak. Moral of the story is the tire pressure monitoring system is more of a convenience than a nuisance.

Consumer Recommendation:

Resource – www.safercar.gov

If you are in the market for a SUV this CR-V is definitely in the hunt, even if it is among an awfully respected and large family of competitors. This is really a tough crowd and you will want to test drive several.

Recognized Competition:

Honda CR-V $21-29,000, Mitsubishi Outlander $20-25,000, Ford Escape $20-27,000, Ford Escape Hybrid $29-33,000, Volkswagen Tiguan $23-31,000, Kia Rondo $17-21,000, Toyota RAV4 $22-28,000, Toyota Venza $26-29,000, Pontiac Torrent $25-31,000, Saturn Vue $23-31,000, Saturn Vue Hybrid $27,930, Chevrolet Equinox $24-31,000, Nissan Rogue $20-23,000, Hyundai Tucson $18-26,000, Mazda CX-7 $24-28,000, Dodge Caliber $16-25,000, Jeep Compass $18-24,000, Jeep Wrangler 20-32,000, Subaru Forester $20-28,000, Subaru Outback $20-32,000, Suzuki SX4 Crossover $15-18,000.

Good News:

Stylish, nimble, powerful and decent fuel economy for a 3,500 pound vehicle.

Bad News:

Pricey and no V6 option.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 166 hp 4 cylinder engine, 5-speed automatic transmission, 4-wheel drive, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with electronic brake distribution system, drive by wire throttle, variable assist rack and pinion power steering, EPA & CARB Certified, 100K mile tune-ups, front, side and side curtain air bags, stability control, tire pressure monitoring system, remote keyless entry, security and immobilizer system, child LATCH system, Honda Navigation w/voice recognition & rear view camera, audio w/6 disc, 7 speakers, MP-3 audio input jack, XM satellite radio, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, climate control, 8-way driver power seat, heated front seats, 60/40 split fold flat seat, power windows & door locks, cruise control, 17” alloy wheels, intermittent wipers with rear wiper / washer, power door mirrors.

Gas Stats:

$1.79/ Gal avg. December 3, ‘08

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

20 City and 26 Highway MPG

www.safercar.gov  or    888-327-4236

Pricing:

MSRP $28,795.

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