2009 Honda FR-V Review

FR-V

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2009 Honda FR-V Overview

Flexibility, Recreation, and Versatility were the names of the proverbial game when Honda introduced the FR-V in 2004. This front-engine, front-wheel-drive, five-door family funster - please forgive the alliteration - has the rather rare distinction of being a 3+3 grocery getter, something the Europeans call a Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV). What this means, in practical terms, is that rather than seating seven uncomfortably in a more traditional 2+3+2 design, the extra space is saved for the trunk, which can therefore hold an impressive 15.5 cubic feet with the rear seats in place, and 37 with the rear seats stowed flat.

Power comes in two flavors, a conventional and expected 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder (I4), and something rarely seen here in the States - a 2.2-liter, I4 turbodiesel. The 1.8 is good for 138 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel you and five of your loved ones to 60 mph in 12.4 seconds, or until you reach your destination, whichever comes first. But then, this was never a class known for its record-setting performance. Still, the 2.2 turbodiesel shatters the 1.8, making the same trip in just over 10 seconds. The 1.8 has the option of a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission, which comes standard with the 2.2. Fuel economy with an automatic-equipped 1.8 is estimated at 26.6/42.8 mpg, while the manual will get you 30.1/44.8. The diesel, however, is the star pupil when it comes to economy, showing numbers of 35.3/53.3. Special note should be made of the fact that the FR-V does not come with a low-oil light, a possibly dangerous omission for a car company with such a reputation for reliability and lack of maintenance needs, so much so that some owners may forget the need to check their oil levels.

Owners and reviewers alike have been impressed by the FR-V’s handling, especially its surprisingly responsive steering and an uncharacteristically stiff chassis. Standard safety features include six airbags, four-wheel antilock disc brakes with brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution, Vehicle Stability Assist, as well as front, rear, center, and outer head restraints.

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A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.

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