The CR-V, the compact crossover SUV that sits in the middle of Honda's utility line up, genuinely lives up to its name of a Comfortable Runabout Vehicle. And the reason for it is simply because it is.
Its adequately spacious enough inside for nearly every type of person, with a seating for 5 and even six if you don’t mind a little cramming, its perfect for that classic weekend beach trip, fishing, camping, and the list goes on.
The 1st gen CR-V, is a perfect example of a classic SUV, however, as good as it may look and as much fun as they may be to drive in bumpy roads, the 1st gen CR-V comes with a small engine that produced a mere 126 HP from a 2-liter engine. These SUVs fell under Honda’s torquey umbrella, as right off the line you feel the pull of the engine, but that comes at the price of seeing your gas needle fall as hard as you were feeling that pull. While the 2nd gen had a beefier HP output of 160 with 140 lb-ft of torque but still made the same MPGs as the older gen because of the i-VTEC placement.
Because of the torque on a rainy day you’d have to ease your foot gently into the gas as smooth as possible if not you get a sudden wheel-spin and the car will only jerk around without even moving a foot simply skidding on the wet road. And while both consisted of double wishbone suspension on the four wheels, the small tires and short wheel base meant you were gonna be on 2 wheels if you went to fast around a corner.
But mostly it’s the small engine and power output it had with its thirst for high revs causing low MPGs that are the main drawbacks of these SUV’s, nothing out of the ordinary for older cars if were honest.
With the new generations and the ever increasing amount of technology and safety in the cars became more and more, the styling has gone along with it. From its rugged boxy-looks to the more sophisticated “I-mean-business” structure it has adopted. And with the new mature styles, the old gens start to look a lot... better. Or rather better for what they are.
2004 Honda CR-V grille
For starters, in the exterior looks, the wheel that sticks out in the back door. It’s a look of the signature off road vehicle, which can be associated with a more classic, retro style feel. But since that spare wheel is hanging on the door, there’s an empty space underneath the cargo floor, where if you wanted could also be where the spare is stored. But if the spare is outside on the backdoor, what do you do with that empty space?
Well, for instance, you can put a decently sized toolbox to fix any problems you might encounter, you can put in a first-aid box for any road trip mishaps, or even large amounts of rope for when you want to tie down things on the roof if they don’t fit inside the car. These are just to name a few.
Still on the topic of cargo area, these CR-Vs come with a table underneath the floor mat. Only the 1st and 2nd gen CR-Vs are the ones to have these little tables. Honda should’ve kept them in as they give a very fitting touch to the car that speaks of its utility vehicle model type, basically its perfect for a little outdoors treat, especially in camping or the beach.
The interior in both car was leaned heavily towards the economic side, there were as many storage compartments as there were cup holders. And they have plenty of those. The center mounted little table could be flipped down through a simple lever, opening a space between the front and passenger seat that allowed anyone to easily slip to the back seat or vise-versa.
It’s these small details that make the first two gens the best of the CR-V lineup. Its simplicity for comfort, its utilitarian conveniences that today are taken up by more serious and mature styling. The feel and the rugged looks of a true sport utility vehicle. The 1st and 2nd gen CR-Vs had all the right spunk.