Honda's face-lift for the 2010 CR-V may be mild, but in my mind, it helps clean up the front fascia of the car. Not only have designers reduced the use of the argent plastic cladding along the lower edge of the front bumper, but they've also stylized the grille by widening the upper openings and removing the chrome bars from the lower section.
This car had LESS power last year?! I didn't initially believe Evan's last sentence, but indeed, last year's CR-V was even slower, to the tune of 14 fewer horsepower (166 hp vs. the 2010 model's 180 hp). This is the first CR-V I've driven, and I was surprised with its lackadaisical attitude toward acceleration and the five-speed automatic's hesitation to downshift, particularly given the fact that Honda offers only a single engine -- this 2.4-liter in-line four -- in this vehicle.
I like the low cowl. It gives the CRV more of a car feeling than some of these crossover cavelike structures surrounding driver and front passenger. The exterior is much cleaner as well. You might think the stylish, sharp downslope at the trailing edge of the DLO would restrict rear visibility, but not that you'd notice.
The CR-V is getting a bit dated when compared to some of the newer compact crossovers out there, but it would likely still get my vote if I were looking for something in the segment. Honda's usual strengths, including the great visibility Jean mentioned as well as super-accurate steering, are present and much appreciated in a category that increasingly favors bulk and shoulder-high doorsills.
From the outside, this long-wheelbase CR-V looks far more proportional than its stubbier counterpart. And for such a compact footprint, it also offers an amazing amount of interior space for people while still leaving an adequate stowage area behind the rear seats. The hinged cargo cover seems like a great alternative to the annoying retractable covers used in most hatches. Unlike the often unwieldy retractable, the CR-V's cover folds in half on top of itself and provides easy access to the load floor. Plus, it can be easily manipulated with one hand, a bonus when you're loading the hatch unassisted. Too bad the CR-V doesn't offer a hands-free, button-operated hatch.
2010 Honda CR-V EX-L 4WD w/ navigation