The Honda CR-V is a compact crossover SUV manufactured by the Japanese automaker Honda since 1996. It was loosely derived from the Honda Civic platform to satisfy a public demand for a sport-utility vehicle from Honda. There are discrepancies as to what "CR-V" stands for, with Honda sources in different markets citing different meanings. Though Honda sales literature in Europe and Australia makes references to "Compact Recreational Vehicle", other Honda references cite "Comfortable Runabout Vehicle". It is available in both all wheel drive and front wheel drive, although in many markets such as the United Kingdom only all wheel drive is offered.
Honda produces CR-Vs in the United Kingdom and Japan for worldwide markets, and as of 2007, North American CR-Vs are produced in East Liberty, Ohio (where the Civic and Element are produced). The CR-V is produced for the Chinese market by the Dongfeng Honda Automobile Company, a joint venture with Honda. Elsewhere, the CR-V is Honda's smallest SUV other than the related Element sold in the United States and Canada, and the HR-V sold in Europe. In size, the CR-V slots between the Element and Pilot.
The second generation CR-V was a full redesign, based on the 7th generation Civic platform, and powered by the K24 engine. North American versions of the new engine produced 160 hp (119 kW) and 162 ftÂ·lbf (220 NÂ·m) of torque. Per new 08/04 SAE regulations, the same engine is now rated at 156 hp and 160 ftÂ·lbf. Despite the power increase, the new CR-V retained the fuel economy of the previous model, thanks in part to the engine's i-VTEC system. The newly developed chassis had increased torsional rigidity and bending rigidity, while the new suspension possessed front toe control link MacPherson struts and a rear reactive-link double wishbone; the compact rear suspension increased cargo space to 72 ftÂ³ (2 mÂ³). The second generation CR-V was Car and Driver magazine's Best Small SUV for 2002 and 2003. Second generation CR-Vs in countries outside of North America were again offered in both 'low spec' and 'high spec' variants, with the latter featuring body-coloured bumpers and fittings. It also now did not require the glass hatch to be opened before the swinging door. Changes between model years 2002, 2003, and 2004 were very minor.
In 2005, the CR-V received a mid-model refresh. The 2005 CR-V was now equipped with 16 inch wheels; earlier models had 15 inch wheels. Another visual change includes the taillights, which no longer have amber for the turn signals. They were changed to a red and white color scheme. The rear bumpers reflectors are longer and narrower. The grill has also been changed; it has 2 horizontal bars instead of one. Lastly, the low beams and high beams use dedicated bulbs, as opposed to a shared bulb in the prior setup.
On the inside of the car, the EX trim received upgrades which includes steering wheel mounted redundant audio controls and an outside temperature monitor. The stereo system was also XM Satellite Radio ready. All CR-Vs also had revised rear seat headrests, which have been redesigned to reduce rear view blockage.
Mechanically, the 2005 was also changed. A major change included a drive-by-wire throttle for all CR-Vs. The RT4WD system was improved; it had been tuned to activate faster in low traction situations. Also, the automatic transmission for the CR-V now had one extra gear (total of 5), for improved highway fuel efficiency.
In the United States, in accordance with Honda's Safety for Everyone campaign, every 2005 CR-V and onwards have ABS, front airbags, side airbags for front passengers, and side-curtain airbags with rollover sensors for all outboard occupants. Also, Electronic Brake Distribution and Vehicle Stability Assist have been added and are standard equipment on all trim levels. CR-Vs in other countries such as Australia continue with only dual airbags and ABS as standard equipment. Side airbags are optional, while curtain airbags are unavailable.
Following the tradition of adding a trim level above the EX during the refresh like the first generation CR-V, Honda added the SE trim level for the 2005 CR-V. The CR-V SE has painted bumpers, body side molding, and spare tire cover. For a more luxurious experience, Honda added a leather interior, leather steering wheel, heated side mirrors, and heated front seats. A new color, Pewter Pearl, can only be found on the SE. The SE also includes a hard body coloured cover for the spare tire on the back.