The Honda CR-V is something of a mainstay among compact crossovers, having been around in various forms since 1995. It's consistently been a strong seller, for good reason: The CR-V offers ample space, decent standard equipment levels, solid EPA-estimated fuel economy, and car-like driving characteristics in a well-priced package. And the 2012 model is even better. It's been significantly overhauled with sharper looks, more standard equipment in all trim levels, and improvements to the refinement and ride comfort. Power comes from a 185-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but you can option it with all-wheel drive.
The engine is a bit lacking in low-rev power, which is true of many of the CR-V's rivals. But many competitors do offer the option of a more powerful V6, which, sadly, the CR-V does not. The CR-V is available in LX, EX, and EX-L (which can add optional navigation or rear entertainment). The LX covers the basics, with automatic headlights, keyless entry, air conditioning, a rearview camera, Bluetooth® connectivity, and a full-color multi-information display. The EX gains alloy wheels, privacy glass, and more speakers for the audio system. The EX-L gets dual-zone climate control, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and heated front seats as well as satellite radio, leather upholstery, and upgraded audio equipment. All drive nicely enough, with a smooth ride, agile handling, and easy-to-use tech. Combine that with its spacious interior and good fuel economy estimates, and the CR-V is an appealing choice among the tough compact crossover SUV competition.