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Established 2004

Honda CR-V, 2007: The Weekly Driver

There wasn’t much to complain about with the previous Honda CR-V. It provided a keen balance of versatility, comfort and utility vehicle refinement. But with the 2007 redesign, the manufacturer has done what Honda always seems to do. It took something good and made it better.

For starters, the new CR-V has a restyled exterior. Its previous boxy appearance has been streamlined with elements of BMW and Audi. The new CR-V is also three inches shorter than its predecessor, but the wheelbase and interior dimensions are nearly the same as previous models.

Honda further upgraded the vehicle by removing the exterior tire from the the tailgate, thus eliminating some slight rear window vision issues. Gone also is the swing out rear cargo door. It’s been replaced by a liftgate that operates without opening the glass window.

My weekly driver was the EX-L model, the top-of-the-line offering that features a navigation system. Also available are LX and EX models. All three models include a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 166-horsepower engine (increased from 156 in ’06 and previous years) with a five-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

With its improved interior and exterior, it’s hard to finding something not to like. As an SUV, there’s plenty of cargo room. The rear seat folds flat into the floor with a 40/20/40 configuration, and the new liftgate is substantially more convenient.

There’s also plenty of head and foot room for the driver and passengers, and the driver seat is also positioned with an “in-command-feel.”

During my week with the vehicle, I drove in high-speed interstate traffic and often had to maneuver into a tight, underground hotel parking lot. The diverse driving scenarios showcased the CR-V’s versatility.  It’s not designed for drag-racing, but the CR-V accelerated adequately at all speeds and transmission shifts were smooth.

Likewise, while maneuvering into the hotel’s small garage, the CRV’s turning radius and overall steering and handling was adept. The CR-V is classified as a compact SUV, but it performed and handled more like a car.

As the most expensive of the CR-V models, the EX-L has an impressive list of standard equipment: leather trimmed seats, steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, CD audio system with XM radio, an MP3 auxiliary jack and seven speakers and power windows and door locks, among other standard fare.

There are important, smaller touches, too: visor vanity mirrors, 12-volt power outlets, sunglass holder with mirror and plenty of cupholders, side storage compartments and center console containers.

For me, the downside to the new CR-V are two minor exclusions from previous models. There’s no longer a manual transmission option. And with the exterior spare tire now relocated, something had to go — the expandable picnic table.

The 2007 CR-V is matched against the Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson and Toyota RAV4. All of these SUVs have a lot to offer, too. But Honda’s compact SUV, as a four-cylinder vehicle, holds its own as an industry leader against competition with six-cylinder engines.

The Weekly Driver: 2007 Honda CR-V

Safety Features — Driver and front passenger dual-stage front, side and side-curtain airbags with rollover deployment.

Fuel Mileage (estimates) — 22 mpg (city), 28 mpg (highway).

Warranty — Bumper to bumper, 3/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles.

Base Price — $28,000.00

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