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.
The CR-V feels tightly screwed together and fit and finish are quite good. I especially love the angled, rubber-coated door pulls on the front doors. They are perfectly placed, just the right diameter, and the soft, grippy coating would no doubt make them easy to grab and hold onto even with gloved hands in the middle of winter.
Unfortunately, much of the driving experience is a little disappointing. The ride is too harsh, and the engine struggles to motivate the CR-V. If the CR-V continues to grow dimensionally, Honda should definitely consider offering a version of the Acura RDX's spunky turbocharged four in place of the current normally aspirated four.
Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor