Used Vehicle Review: Honda CR V, 2007 2011 used car reviews reviews honda
2008 Honda CR-V EX-L Navi. Click image to enlarge

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CR-V Reviews

Review and photos by Chris Chase

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2008 Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V entered its third generation in 2007, a year that brought many changes to one of the most popular small SUVs in its crowded segment.

While the first two versions were similar in their long-legged, tall-riding appearance, the 2007 CR-V got a more substantial look that was less conventional, yet bore a stronger resemblance to the larger Pilot. This was the first CR-V to be built outside of Japan, with some North American-market models built in Ohio. The manual transmission was gone, making the five-speed automatic that was once optional the only transmission offered; as well, a new front-wheel drive model was added to the line-up. Honda designers also opted to move the spare tire from its previous spot on the tailgate to a new home under the cargo floor.

Many questioned Honda’s decision to stick exclusively with four-cylinder power for the CR-V, while most of its competitors had long offered the option of a V6 or a turbocharged four. Honda’s marketing department countered by saying that CR-V buyers felt that four cylinders was enough.

The 2.4-litre engine made 166 horsepower and 161 lb-ft of torque, and was mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The base LX was the only one that could be had with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive was an option there.

Used Vehicle Review: Honda CR V, 2007 2011 used car reviews reviews honda
2008 Honda CR-V EX-L Navi. Click image to enlarge

In 2009, Honda added an EX FWD model, making the top-trim EX-L as the only one to come exclusively with AWD.

The 2010 model got updated styling and a power boost that ramped horsepower up to 180, but left the torque figure unchanged.

In its first year, the third-gen CR-V’s fuel consumption figures were 10.2/7.3 L/100 km (city/highway) in FWD trim, and 10.7/7.8 L/100 km with all-wheel drive. Those figures improved to 9.8/7.1 (FWD) and 10.1/7.5 (AWD) with 2010′s updated motor.

Consumer Reports names the CR-V in its list of “good bet” recommended used vehicles, and gives the Honda very positive reliability ratings in most categories, but the CR-V is not without reproach.

The rear differential is a known source of trouble, and failures appear to be linked to a too-long lubricant change interval, and/or the use of an improper lubricant at the factory. The problem apparently only affects (or mostly affects) CR-Vs built in Japan. Read about it here and here and here. Changing the fluid is a DIY-friendly job; click here for a great how-to. If you want to determine where a particular CR-V was built, click here for a guide to deciphering Honda’s VIN codes.

Older CR-Vs are known for an air conditioning flaw owners call “black death.” The A/C compressor fails slowly and in the process, according to this New York Times article, pumps debris through the innards of the air conditioning system in the form of a black sludge. The third-generation CR-V supposedly uses a different compressor design, but there are indications that it too is susceptible to “black death.” Another thing to be aware of is that in 2007-and-newer CR-Vs, an air conditioning compressor relay is a common trouble spot. Thankfully, this is a simple, and relatively inexpensive, repair that most owners can make on their own.