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Average User Score
4.7 ⁄ 5 stars
Based on 17 reviews
2006 Honda CR-V Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 17 reviews
Honda’s CR-V provides SUV-like convenience with car-like handling in a compact size. With few changes for the 2006 edition, the CR-V’s arch rival continues to be the Toyota RAV-4.
Honda has simplified things with one base engine for three trim lines: base LX, mid-level EX, and luxury level SE. The rugged DOHC 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine incorporates Honda’s i-VTEC valve control system to produce 156 hp and 160 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic is standard, except with the EX trim level, in which a five-speed manual is an option.
A manual AWD EX crossed the 0-60 jump in 8.6 seconds. Test drivers praise the harmony between the engine and automatic transmission. The torque band in the 2.4-liter four peaks at about 3,600 rpm, but maintains a fairly level power plateau, which the 5-speed automatic uses to great advantage, giving the CR-V a sporty driving sense.
The EPA estimates the CR-V will get 22/27 mpg. Reviewers testing an automatic AWD averaged 19.7-19.8 mpg and 18.8 mpg with a manual CR-V that underwent heavy performance testing.
Reviewers all enjoy driving the CR-V, primarily because of its car-like handling and higher-than-a-car seating. The CR-V rides on the Honda Civic’s double-wishbone, four-wheel independent suspension and has front and rear stabilizers. Honda tuned the CR-V for a firm but comfortable ride, making it an ideal daily driver. It remains car-like in the twisties, but does lean due to its height more than a Civic sedan, yet a lot less than a full-size SUV. Further, the CR-V by all reviewers' accounts is a pavement-only vehicle; no off-roading here. Steering is good in the turns, though a bit lifeless on center. Four-wheel ABS disc brakes provide stable, uneventful stops.
The CR-V comes with a choice of either front-wheel drive (2WD) – only at the LX trim level - or four-wheel drive (4WD), which is standard in the EX and SE trims and optional at the LX level. Honda calls its 4WD “Real Time AWD.” The Honda system normally powers only the front wheels. When traction up front slips, power immediately transfers to the rear and four wheels drive until front-wheel traction stabilizes. One reviewer reports that an AWD SE coped easily with 5 inches of fresh snow.
The basic box shape of the CR-V cabin allows for a lot of space and light. Overall, reviewers feel Honda has made good use of that space, with an almost perfect ergonomic layout up front, spacious rear seating, and generous cargo capacity. Some reviewers, however, found the gear shift sprouting from the dashboard to the right of the steering wheel a bit disconcerting, while others saw it as providing a clear reach to controls. Reviewers found comfortable and spacious front and rear seating with great rear headroom. In addition, the 60/40 split rear seats recline for more comfortable seating and fold forward, opening rear cargo space from a generous 33.5 cubic feet to an expansive 72 cubic feet – enough for two bicycles. No less than 21 storage nooks are spread throughout the cabin, and the spare-tire bin cover also doubles as a folding picnic table.
The basic LX trim comes in either 2WD or 4WD with a five-speed automatic, AM/FM/CD/cassette stereo, adjustable steering column, power accessories, cruise control, air conditioning, front and rear power outlets, 16-inch wheels, and keyless entry.
The EX offers only 4WD, but a choice between a five-speed automatic or manual transmission. The EX adds steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a premium stereo/CD, aluminum wheels, rear privacy glass, an outside temperature gauge, and a power moonroof.
The premium-level SE arrives with 4WD and the five-speed automatic, and upgrades the interior with leather and heated seats. Outside, the SE adds body-color door mirrors, side molding, bumpers, door handles, and a spare wheel cover.
The CR-V’s generous list of standard all-trim-level safety features should be emulated by other automakers: four-wheel ABS disc brakes, front and side airbags for front passengers, with head curtain airbags for front and rear occupants, and Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control.
The CR-V earned a perfect score for its frontal and side impact protection from the NHTSA and was awarded the highest possible rating from the IIHS in its 40-mph frontal-offset crash test and in its side-impact testing. It should be understood, however, that these tests rate the vehicles relative to their class (in the CR-V’s case this would be compact SUVs), and not across all categories.
Unless you're looking for more power - the RAV-4, for example, packs a V6 option - the Honda CR-V as a compact SUV seems to have it all: performance, ride, space, comfort, and reliability.
by Albert A. Dalia
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