The Honda CR-V is a compact crossover SUV manufactured by the Japanese automaker Honda since 1996. It was loosely derived from the Honda Civic platform to satisfy a pu...More »
The Honda CR-V is a compact crossover SUV manufactured by the Japanese automaker Honda since 1996. It was loosely derived from the Honda Civic platform to satisfy a public demand for a sport-utility vehicle from Honda. There are discrepancies as to what "CR-V" stands for, with Honda sources in different markets citing different meanings. Though Honda sales literature in Europe and Australia makes references to "Compact Recreational Vehicle", other Honda references cite "Comfortable Runabout Vehicle". It is available in both all wheel drive and front wheel drive, although in many markets such as the United Kingdom only all wheel drive is offered.
Honda produces CR-Vs in the United Kingdom and Japan for worldwide markets, and as of 2007, North American CR-Vs are produced in East Liberty, Ohio (where the Civic and Element are produced). The CR-V is produced for the Chinese market by the Dongfeng Honda Automobile Company, a joint venture with Honda. Elsewhere, the CR-V is Honda's smallest SUV other than the related Element sold in the United States and Canada, and the HR-V sold in Europe. In size, the CR-V slots between the Element and Pilot.
The original CR-V design lasted from 1996 to 1998. Upon introduction, the model had only one trim level, which would later be known as the LX model trim; it was powered by the 2.0 L B20B producing 126 hp (94 kW) and 133 ft·lbf (180 N·m) of torque. Outer dimensions for this engine would be identical to the Integra's 1.8 L engine, but internally the engine was bored out to add the extra displacement needed to produce torque for the mini-ute. The engine utilized a one-piece cylinder sleeve construction unique from any other B-series engine due to overlapping combustion chambers. The chassis was a unibody design with a 4-wheel double wishbone suspension. Inside, the rear seats were able to fold down, and a picnic table was stowed in the rear floor area. A common external trait that was visible with this generation was plastic cladding covering the front bumper, rear bumper, and fender wells. In most countries, CR-Vs had a chrome grille; however, in the US, the grille was made out of the same black plastic as the bumpers. A major difference between the LX and EX trims was that the EX had anti-lock brakes while the LX trim did not.
First generation, version 2
Although the body style remained the same as the first generation, an update for the CR-V from 1999 to 2001 was in response to criticism of the original engine lacking enough power for a vehicle of the CR-V's weight (3,200 lb or 1,450 kg). The engine was changed to the 2.0 L B20Z engine producing 146 hp (108 kW) and 133 ft·lbf (180 N·m) of torque. Fuel economy and price were not affected by the increase in power, which was the result of a higher compression ratio (9.6:1 compared to the B20B's 8.8:1), a new intake manifold, and slightly higher lift on the intake valves. Models equipped with an automatic transmission now had an overdrive cancel button that allowed the driver to lock the transmission in the first three gears to provide power for passing and climbing grades. The interior was also improved, as some consumers felt that the support provided by the seats was inadequate for longer trips. The cloth on the seats was also redesigned with a much more attractive pattern.
The 1999 European, Australian, and Asian model CR-Vs featured more drastic changes. Exterior alterations included a new front bumper, smoothed off rear bumper, and a smaller plastic radio antenna on the rear of the roof. "Nighthawk Black" was added to the list of paint choices, while the unpopular "Passion Orange" disappeared. A new deeper blue pearl and red pearl replaced their old metallic and enamel equivalents. European models received an enlarged Honda emblem on the front grille, and a new metallic yellow paint in certain countries.
In 2000 a Special Edition model was introduced in North America. The SE featured body-colored bumpers and side moldings, a body-colored hard spare tire cover, leather upholstery, CD/cassette audio deck, rear privacy glass and chrome grille accent. Up to 2001, the CR-V sold more than other vehicles in its class. The North American models also received new exterior colours including Naples Gold Metallic and Taffeta White. Electron Blue was introduced in 2000 to replace Submarine Blue Pearl, while Satin Silver Metallic replaced Sebring Silver Metallic in 2001. However, that year, sales of the Ford Escape and its clone, the Mazda Tribute, surpassed the CR-V's.
In Australia, the CR-V became the country's best-selling SUV in 2000, outselling the Toyota Land Cruiser for the very first time.
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