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Honda CR-V's makeover offers bit more room

December 24, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
One of the most popular small SUVs ever has just undergone a makeover. The Honda CR-V has come a long way, inside and out.

Though it didn't necessarily seem to need changing, sales of the CR-V slipped a little this year.

The redesign maintains roughly the same dimensions on the outside, while offering a bit more room on the inside. Like the previous CR-V, the cargo hold on this one is impressively spacious.

And if you want to fold the rear seats down to create more room, a really clever mechanism means one pull of a lever- either from the side or the rear- completely folds the seats forward without any secondary moves.

Technology under the hood brings a touch more power from the four-cylinder engine, accompanied by an increase in fuel economy, up a couple of MPGs.

And if you want to do some hyper-miling, push the "eco" button- you lose a bit of throttle response, but the trade-off is extra fuel savings.

One curious bit of Honda not exactly keeping up with the times is that the standard transmission is a five-speed automatic. These days, six speeds are becoming the norm, even on low-priced economy sedans.

And not only is the CR-V sleeker, but so are its competitors. Kia's latest Sportage also wears that streamlined shape, as will Ford's upcoming 2013 Escape.

Similarity in looks highlights the tough competition in the small SUV segment. For many years Honda's Entry was a slam dunk, winning praise and recommendations far and wide, and selling very well.

But with strong competitors nipping at the CR-V's heels Honda is counting on reputation and loyal buyers, along with clever touches, to keep their cute SUV on the top of peoples' shopping lists.


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