The 2013 Honda CR-V: Gas mileage for giddy up

If you’re in the incredibly intense global automobile market and want to sell a ton of cars in a short period of time, one trick is to figure out exactly what families look for in a vehicle and slap it all into one, discernible product, sit back and admire the view. That’s exactly how the 2013 Honda CR-V came about.

Truthfully, the success of the CR-V was born way back in 1995 when Honda decided to make a a newly christened Crossover-segment car based on the success of the everlasting Honda Civic design. The success escalated from that point forward and Honda have been reluctant to make regular sweeping changes through the years, preferring to concentrate on what works for them, a family-sized practical vehicle that’s safe and is cheap to run.

The 2013 Honda CR-V comes in one engine flavor only and that’s the In-Line 2.4L 4cyl engine with a 5 speed automatic transmission (sorry, folks – no paddle shifters today). With only 185HP and no engine upgrades available, don’t be looking to burn rubber in the CR-V as it waits a whole 9.5 seconds before passing the 60mph marker. It doesn’t have the 4×4 DNA of a Subaru or a Jeep, but it handles well in the snow and ice with the AWD option. Fuel economy is where the 2013 Honda CR-V really bites the shorts of the competition with a 23/31 City/Hwy combination, averaging out at 26 mpg. We’re now looking at how Honda built the CR-V into the best selling SUV in the US. Mama doesn’t need to burn tires at the red light every morning but she does need to put food on the table.

Another trick Honda have used over the years is to focus heavily on safety with their family sedans and SUV’s. All of their products sit high up on the IISA and NHTSA ratings for collision damage safety which is a massive selling tool, especially in the case of the CR-V. The CR-V has its fair share of detractors as usual. The bland interior, the lack of powertrain upgrades (I’m told that the 5-speed transmission needs updating to a 6-speed) and the ordinary exterior styling is a concern for some potential owners, and apparently, Honda dealers have also become somewhat arrogant about dealing on financing and trade-ins for CR-V buyers. Quirky to say the least.

Despite what we have discussed here today, changes are on the way. Honda plans to introduce the Urban SUV Concept vehicle later this year in Japan, and to North America in 2014 which looks like a replacement for the trustworthy CR-V. It is shorter, incredibly equipped technologically, and is styled almost like a Coupe. Interior room has been re-configured allowing for more cargo and passenger combinations. The buzz for the Urban Concept has already started.

The fact remains that for just over a MSRP of $22,000, a husband can take comfort in the fact that his wife and kids can get to wherever they need to safely, comfortably, and relatively inexpensively without trouble. Only time will tell if the Urban Concept maintains Honda’s grip on the SUV market, but if it were left up to the 2013 Honda CR-V, the game would be over.

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