Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the 2012 Honda CR-V.
The current CR-V, which debuted in showrooms in 2007, looks a lot like any other CR-V, except it developed a severe underbite and lost its rear-mounted spare tire. The current double grille looks like a Shih Tzu I once owned: exceptionally ugly but somehow kind of endearing with its lower jaw protruding out well beyond the upper.
Eventually though, the look gets irritating, and like the Shih Tzu, you just kind of hope you’ll wake up one morning and it will be gone.
Honda must’ve been sick of the look, too, because the next version will come with the face of an Accord Crosstour slathered across the front. Better? Yeah, mostly. The change results in a much stronger looking CR-V, one that can now compete with the still superior-looking Kia Sportage.
In addition to the new design (don’t get too attached to those monster wheels, smoked headlights and dark windows), the new mini-SUV could offer new, more efficient, engine choices. More likely, the existing 2.4-liter four-banger will get tweaked and maybe attached to a new 6-speed automatic transmission to replace the current 5-speed auto. We don’t know the official details yet, but expect a marginal increase in the already respectable numbers of 21 mpg city/27 highway in AWD form.
Personally, my favorite CR-V was the 2005-2006 version. It looked distinctly Honda and was more like driving around in a duffel bag than an SUV. Which I mean in the most flattering way possible. The current and next-gen models are, for my tastes, too refined, too bland and too much like any other small SUV on the market.
The updated CR-V will certainly be a sales hit and provide its owners with many years of trouble-free existence, but if I was in the market for one, I’d dial up DealFinder and score myself a deal on a sweet used ’06 model.
What’s your pick for a small SUV: 2012 CR-V, a used 2006 CR-V, a Kia Sportage or something else?