The CR-V seems as if was born to park, squeezing into laughably tight, strip-mall spots; shoring up perfectly square to curbs; and swiftly maneuvering through one of Los Angeles' massive 10-story, subterranean parking garages. You'd almost swear this was Honda's top priority when conceptualizing the fourth generation of its small ute.

The well-boosted steering rack requires minimal effort to go lock-to-lock when stopped or just barely rolling. Couple that with the wide sightlines out of all the windows, and the CR-V can be tucked into just about any spot you'll come across with nary a worry about trading paint with the car next to you. Also, the low windowsills and the rearview camera display on the center stack help make parallel parking a cinch and decrease the chance of dragging the rims on the curb. And though some of the CR-V's competitors such as the Ford Escape or Kia Sportage can be had in much more attractive sheetmetal, those cars' slick lines come at the cost of higher window sills that sacrifice clean sightlines out of the sides and rear of the car.

Once you've parked and spent a few hours at a Big Box store, returning to the CR-V for load-up shows how well-honed it is as a tool for everyday errands and tasks. The easy-to-open and close liftgate gives way to the large cargo area that quickly expands when the seats are dropped via the one-touch seat levelers. Honda avoided the slowness and cumbersome actuation that frequently hinder power liftgates and power folding seats and instead focused on non-powered ways to quickly access and transform the CR-V's cargo area. Doing so likely saved development costs and parts costs and will no doubt spare owners the repair hassle of glitchy electronic actuators. This is the more simple, more thought-out way of going about it, and keeping Honda true to the simplicity of its brand.

Yet, I do wish Honda would have used a higher-quality carpet in floor of the rear cargo hold, as the material has worn poorly, clumping up in areas and looking disheveled and cheap. The square footage of this area is large and flat, and as a result the wear and tear is noticeable.

Also, as an aside, and because I see my neighbor's CR-V in his driveway every morning, it's time for Honda to do us all a favor and stop offering steel-stamped wheels on the base CR-V. Though this Basque Red EX-L has perfectly handsome 17-inch alloys, the base 16-inch steel wheels are ghastly, and cheapen the overall refined design aesthetic of this SUV.


Our Car
Service life 14 mo/26,978 mi
Average fuel economy 26.5 mpg
CO2 emissions 0.73 lb/mi
City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Economy 23/31/26 mpg
Energy consumption 127 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $220.66 (3-oil change, tire rotation, inspection)
Normal-wear cost $0