Honda CR-V
By: Mike Floyd

We Like: Everything from the B-pillar back, lots of storage, trick folding second-row seats.

We Don't Like: Uninspired driving experience, five-speed automatic. Frumpy-looking exterior.

If we gave an award for coolest feature in this year's SUVOTY field, the Honda CR-V's magically folding, 60/40 second-row seats would have nabbed it. Simply pull a lever and voila!, the spring-loaded system flips the rear seat cushion up against the front seat and the seatback folds down flat. "David Copperfield can't do stuff like that in his shiniest shirt," commented Mike Febbo.

Alas, that was all that wowed us about the CR-V, but there is a lot to like about Honda's five-passenger crossover. Our notes mentioned several positive tidbits, mainly the copious amount of storage space and headroom. Interior packaging is the most impressive part of the CR-V's package. Lack of keyless start and a dated-look nav system were among the demerits, and plus-sized editors felt a bit snug in the cockpit.

The CR-V's ride and handling were acceptable considering its mission and market position, although no one was blown away from behind the wheel. Honda is pushing the CR-V's updated all-wheel-drive system, and although we didn't get a chance to extensively test it, it's impressive on paper. And the CR-V is among the safest vehicles in its class, a key factor in purchase decisions.

However, several editors lamented that Honda's once vaunted commitment to engineering seems to have faded, with the powertrain a case in point. Yes, it gets along with a five-speed automatic transmission, and we're guessing most CR-V buyers don't mind or care that it's unexciting. We do. The 2.4-liter four with 185 hp does the job, but it can be coarse under hard acceleration, and we wonder how it would perform loaded with people and gear given its meager 163 lb-ft of torque. "Nothing about this car, from the engine drone to the lack of transmission control, ever goads the driver to have any fun," opined Markus.

And while exterior style is highly subjective, most editors felt the CR-V took a step backward, with an overall appearance best described as disjointed. If the rest of the CR-V were as magical as its rear seats, it might have scored better. But not even David Copperfield could turn it into our SUV of the Year.

2013 Honda CR-V EX-L
BASE PRICE $23,325
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.4L/185-hp/163-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION 5-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3451 lb (58/42%)
WHEELBASE 103.1 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 178.3 x 71.6 x 65.1 in
0-60 MPH 9.1 sec
QUARTER MILE 16.9 sec @ 83.0 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 126 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.8 sec @ 0.58 g (avg)
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 153/112 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS 0.78 lb/mile