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2007-11 Honda CR-V: A little loud and sluggish, but it works

?I?m falling in ?like? with my CR-V.?

It?s an odd admission by one of the many, many owners who made Honda?s compact sport utility America?s bestselling SUV in 2007 and the No. 2 seller in Canada behind the Ford Escape.

It?s peculiar, because while the CR-V has sold well around the world ? there were nine factories cranking out CR-Vs at one time ? this do-it-all ute hasn?t always enchanted every buyer.

Among the common complaints we hear is that the four-cylinder-only CR-V is a sluggish performer and noisy on the highway. Some occupants find the front seats uncomfortable and even ?torturous.?

But at least the CR-V starts when you turn the key.

CONFIGURATION

The third-generation CR-V was aggressively redesigned for 2007, providing a visual departure from its predecessors. It was made 8 cm shorter overall simply by tucking the outboard spare tire under the floor ? which conveniently lowered the centre of gravity. And while the stubby wheelbase was largely unaltered, track width grew for added stability.

Interior dimensions didn?t change much, which is to say the well-finished cabin remained as airy and inviting as ever with its tall seating and great sightlines. It continued to offer seating for five with no third-row jump seats (unlike rival Toyota?s RAV4). The floor was flat, which provided welcome legroom for back seat occupants. Some pilots disliked the trucklet?s firm seating, though.

?Seats are horribly uncomfortable; too hard and cramped feeling,? one driver griped online, likely unaccustomed to shaped and bolstered chairs.

With the spare tire below deck, the CR-V sported a proper top-hinged hatchback, which permitted easy access to the generous cargo hold. Some longtime CR-V fans lamented the loss of the opening rear glass, however. (Geez, it?s always something.)

Power was supplied by Honda?s familiar DOHC 2.4 L four-cylinder found in the Accord and Element, good for 166 hp (10 more than before) and 161 lb.-ft. of torque. The lone transmission was a five-speed automatic; the manual died with the previous generation.

The LX base model offered front-wheel drive for the first time, but the rest featured standard all-wheel drive. The AWD system employed twin hydraulic pumps to engage the rear axle through a wet clutch pack, made to engage faster using new ball cams. There was no low-range gearing to summon.

New luxury options appeared in subsequent years, and the CR-V underwent a wholesale freshening for 2010 with some styling tweaks, revised interior furnishings and added horsepower (to 180 hp). The third generation bowed out after 2011.

ON THE ROAD

If you were allowed to drive blindfolded, Hondas almost always give themselves away with their agile and telepathic responses through the steering wheel and suspension ? and the CR-V is no different.

Rewarding to drive, it offered the nimbleness of a Civic and the sturdiness of a Pilot SUV. The ride quality was firm but rarely jarring, though those accustomed to gliding in a Crown Victoria might beg to differ. But for all its well-sorted talents, many drivers found the CR-V noisy at speed.

?If there is one thing I really dislike, it?s that there is more road noise than I would expect in a modern vehicle,? reader Jason Chung wrote of his ?11 model.

Some drivers were disappointed with the four banger, which, while smooth, felt overwhelmed at times (0-96 km/h in 9.1 seconds, with no cargo). Fuel efficiency can suffer as a result.

?Getting 11.8 L/100 km, as opposed to 7.6-9.8 L/100 km ? not achievable,? grumped one driver online.

WHAT OWNERS SAY

With its sensible size, cheerful interior and capable all-weather drivetrain, the third-gen CR-V checks all the boxes on many buyers? lists. It?s no backwoods trailblazer and, for once, the styling doesn?t pretend to make it so.

Reliability has been exemplary in a segment with plenty of strong performers, although there are a few caveats to be mindful of when buying used.

The most common gripe has to do with fast-wearing tires; factory-issue Bridgestones and Continentals have been replaced in as little as 35,000 km. Look for better wear-rated replacement rubber.

The AWD rear differential is a sensitive piece of machinery, demonstrated by the fact dealers are keen to perform frequent fluid changes. Indeed, some diffs become noisy or fail outright, so look for evidence that regular maintenance was done.

Other reported mechanical snafus included broken a/c compressors, malfunctioning door locks, faulty power window switches, leaky power-steering racks, bad wiper motors and alignment issues.

We would like to know about your ownership experience with these models: Hummer H3, Nissan Cube and Jaguar XK. Email: toljagic@ca.inter.net.

2007-11 Honda CR-V

WHAT?S BEST: Pleasant cabin, nimble handler, no outboard spare in your way

WHAT?S WORST: Four-cylinder weakling, no manual tranny, differential noise

TYPICAL GTA PRICES: 2007 ? $15,000; 2010 ? $21,000

  • 2007-11 Honda CR-V: A little loud and sluggish, but it works
  • 2007-11 Honda CR-V: A little loud and sluggish, but it works

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