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2011 Honda CR-V: Serving up Versatility, Style, Refinement

By Arv Voss, May 14th, 2011

The 2011 Honda CR-V delivers SUV versatility and functionality with a stylish and refined presence. Visually, the CR-V displays a dynamic forward cabin, a two-tiered grille and a distinctive side profile that expresses the CR-V's emphasis on upscale style and design.

Manufacturer photo: The 2011 Honda CR-V provides an accommodating crossover SUV package with space for up to five passengers and a versatile cargo area for utility
Manufacturer photo: The 2011 Honda CR-V provides an accommodating crossover SUV package with space for up to five passengers and a versatile cargo area for utility

The base model 2011 Honda CR-V LX begins at $21,695. My tester was the EX-L trim with Real Time 4-wheel-drive and the Navigation system with a base sticker of $29,895. Given the four-trim model availability offered in the CR-V lineup, the tester represented a desirable vehicle in its very base price at a reasonable and affordable price.

The 2.4-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder produces more than enough power and acceleration to deliver its mission. The efficient engine delivers 180 horsepower at 6,800 rpm while generating 161 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The motor is positioned sideways up front and drives either the front wheels or all four wheels via Honda's Real Time 4WD system.

Power is metered through a five-speed automatic transmission with an active torque converter. City/highway/combined EPA-estimated fuel-economy ratings are 21/28/24 miles per gallon for 2WD models and 21/27/23 mpg for models equipped with 4WD.

The ride quality is more like a sedan than an SUV, and in terms of its handling prowess, the CR-V features a tight turning circle of 37.8 feet -- even in a 4WD configuration -- which is not usually the case with this segment, plus the steering provides positive feedback with good on-center feel for nimble response. The seating accommodations are really comfortable and supportive and switchgear is logically placed for optimum user friendliness.

Manufacturer photo: The 2011 Honda CR-V provides an accommodating crossover SUV package with space for up to five passengers and a versatile cargo area for utility

The CR-V appears to be compact on the outside, while it is actually quite accommodating on the inside, with the interior providing a maximum passenger volume of 103.8 cu-ft., plus an accommodating cargo volume of 35.7 cu-ft. behind the rear seats.

Maximum possible cargo volume measures 72.9 cu-ft. with approximate floor dimensions of 51 inches long by 39 inches wide (at wheel wells). Storage behind the rear seat is enhanced by a dual-deck cargo shelf that can strategically facilitate items like a folded baby stroller on the lower level and grocery bags on the upper level.

The five-passenger interior's focus is on functionality and style. For enhanced comfort, there are driver's and front passenger's center-folding armrests, and a center console replaces the retractable center tray table on the CR-V EX-L with navigation.

A sliding 60/40 split second-row seat with a 40/20/40 folding seatback provides cargo versatility by sliding forward to increase cargo space; folding forward to accommodate long objects; or folding and tumbling forward to create a large, flat cargo area.

strong>Safety equipment includes: Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure, Vehicle Stability Assist and a pedestrian injury mitigation design at the vehicle's front. Additional standard equipment includes side-curtain airbags with a rollover sensor; front side airbags; active front seat head restraints; plus anti-lock braking with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist.

Manufacturer photo: The 2011 Honda CR-V provides an accommodating crossover SUV package with space for up to five passengers and a versatile cargo area for utility

The bottom-line is the 2011 CR-V is a solid choice for consumers looking for practicality in an attractive package that also happens to deliver reasonable fuel economy. The EX-L trim with Navigation is at the top of a very successful model line, while even the base model LX comes with an impressive inventory of equipment and features as standard issue.

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