Pros: Great value, generous interior and cargo space, solid brake system, legendary Honda quality.
Cons: Limited passenger leg/foot room.
MODEL: 2002 CR-V EX 4x4 , 5 speed manual, US model.
I found that the ride in this vehicle is nice and smooth on well paved roads. On poorly paved roads, it can get rather bumpy. I can best describe this car as having a solid 'beefy' feel to it.
Contrary to most complaints I've read here, I find that the noise inside the cabin is very acceptable, pretty much like any other car. I can easily carry a conversation inside, and I can also play the stereo at less than 1/2 volume.
Acceleration is great. 1st and 2nd gear are extremely responsive, and even 3rd gear feels great. Honda has done a fantastic job with this 2.4 L engine. At times, it doesn't feel like a 4 cylinder to me, but rather like a 6 cylinder similar to the Grand Cherokee (this is of course very subjective). I have no trouble passing vehicles on the highway, the CR-V has solid consistent power.
One complaint I do have (and I know other owners share this gripe) is that the gear ratios are such that it makes me want a 6th gear. Expect the 5sp manual to hit 3,000 rpm at ~65 mph on 5th gear. My '99 Civic does ~72 mph at 3000 rpm. I've heard the automatic is slightly loser, but I cannot confirm this.
I expected a little more out of these brakes, given that they are 4 wheel discs brakes (uncommon for a mid-priced SUV). In reality, nothing beats German 4 wheel disc brakes, like the Audi's I've driven (TT comes to mind), so maybe it is an unfair comparison. The CR-V brakes very well though, and ABS is always nice to have (this is my first vehicle with ABS). All in all, I think I expected a little more out of these brakes, but I can't really complain. They are noticeably better than my 99 Honda Civic's, and I do like them.
My car has the Black/Gray interior; very slick, I love it. Bucket seats are very comfortable, and there are headrests on all 5 seats. 5 speed manuals do not have armrests, and I am disappointed at that. Doors have a heavy feel to them, and shut solid.
A/C controls are probably the best I've seen. Knobs are big, and every button is precisely where it should be. The A/C is powerful, but not quite as cold as the Nissan's. The Max A/C setting blows you away.
Double map-lights, a central spot light, and a rear cargo light account for very good interior lighting. There is also a handy sun-glass compartment between the map-light console. A nice feature is the green illuminated ring surrounding the ignition key-hole.
All 4 windows roll down all the way. The driver's window switch has auto-down and auto-up switches. EX model has factory privacy glass (tinted) rear windows and cargo window.
The unusual position of the hand brake gives you extra space between the front seats, but I find it very hard to disengage it with one hand. I find myself using both hands if I engage it too hard. My wife most certainly has problems dealing with it.
The driver space is adequate even for tall adults, but I found that the front passenger space is somewhat limited, specially at foot level. This is due to several bulks on the lower underside of the glove compartment area. Tall adults with shoe size of 10 or greater will most definitely find this to be a problem! It is hard to believe Honda didn't solve this issue, considering how much space to spare there is elsewhere on the inside of the CR-V.
I collapsed the tray between the seats, and noticed that I could walk through towards the rear of the vehicle without difficulties. Considering that I am 6'2'', most people will be able to do this with even less effort. The tray itself looks rather cheap, but in all fairness it locks in place really tight and strong.
Gauges and speedometer are nicely placed, and well illuminated, but look rather simple overall. Honda could have done an extra effort in modernizing the gauges. Also, the lack of Temperature reader (which Canadian model has) was a big disappointment. I would have personally liked a digital compass, similar to the one on the Grand Cherokee's. These are all pretty cheap additions that greatly enhance the driving experience.
The rear row of seats is 60/40 split, and each section can slide forward or backwards approximately 6 or 7 inches. In addition to this, each section can individually recline back 45 degrees with the ability to lock in place anywhere in between. This is a great plus for passengers who wish to sleep on long rides. There is an armrest with cupholders on the rear seat, which can be tucked in or out of the backrest. Lastly, there are baby-seat latches on both sides at the rear (none in the center), and tether anchors at the very rear (top) of the vehicle.
Forward visibility is good, side visibility is acceptable, rear visibility is poor. I had to remove all three rear headrests to somewhat improve rear visibility. Rear view mirrors are large though, which is a great thing. Heated mirrors would have been a nice addition (again, like the Canadian EX-L version).
Gotta say this is probably what most impressed my about the 2002 CR-V. The standard cargo space is respectable, but when you fold the rear seats, the cargo space is enormous. I managed to fit two mountain bikes, as long as I remove the front wheels. And there are lots of pockets and compartments all over the place. This is a big, big plus in comparison to every other SUV I looked at. Folding the rear row of seats is a very simple task, and doesn't require removing headrests (although you might not even have them in there in the first place, for visibility reasons)
Spare tire is externally mounted, and I am happy about that. I really can use the extra space on the inside.
I like the foldable-table, and the waterproof compartment beneath it will be very useful.
The 6 in-dash CD changer is rather short in features. I would have liked a 'Loudness' control for extra Bass at lower volumes. CD's take approximately 10-15 seconds to switch.
Radio has some nice features, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Cassette player is there, but I won't ever use it. In fact, I haven't seen a cassette tape in over a year. Honda should have spent that money in an MP3 decoder chip instead. All in all, I would have passed on the Audio player if it was an option, and used that money to buy my own. There are excellent CD/MP3 players in the market for well under $300. Heck, I've even seen some for under $200.
There are 6 speakers in the EX model, but I honestly feel like there are only 4. Speakers are adequate for the factory stereo.
I like the 'looks' of the 2002 CR-V. But this is very subjective, so I'll leave it at that.
I have read that the CR-V is built of thin sheet metal, which dents very easily. Those of us who take great care of their cars, and feel depressed at every dent, ding and bump, will not be happy about this.
Something worth mentioning is the lack of Roof Rack. I had to spend $200 to get it myself, and installing it was quite a pain since bolts are hard to get in the groove.
Front bumper looks kind of awkward to me. I love the way the Canadian model is painted (EX-L). I found that placing the optional side claddings on the doors gave the vehicle a 'continuous' look from front to rear, so I went ahead and added the them for $595 installed. I wouldn't have added the extra side cladding if the front bumper was factory-painted like the Canadian model. Also, the cladding doesn't look as good on the lighter colored CR-V's.
Rear cargo door opens to a side. I forsee this will be a problem when tightly parked against other cars. However, cargo doors that open upwards cannot contain compartments and pockets. So I am happy with this arrangement.
SECURITY SYSTEM: 7/10
I had the Honda genuine security system installed by the dealer. It can be set to 'auto' mode, so it activates 20 secs after the last door is shut. This is nice, except that it doesn't LOCK the doors for you automatically. That is a major flaw! My Civic's aftermarket alarm is far better than this in almost every aspect. If I had known, I would have probably installed an aftermarket alarm instead... although on second thought I would have to carry 2 alarm remotes around, because the factory remote can open the rear latch - which I find very convenient.
An official government rating for this vehicle is still pending, but it is expected that the CR-V will have the highest rating among all SUVs. The EX model not only has front airbags, but also dual side airbags. There are several reinforced beams throughout the car and also crumple-zones, like you'd expect from any vehicle nowadays. Also, 4-discs brakes and ABS (standard on EX) account for good braking power and control.
I've never been this happy with a vehicle purchase. If I had to give the CR-V an overall score, it wouldn't be an average of the above scores. In reality, my level of satisfaction would be better measured as a 9/10. I absolutely love the 2002 CR-V, and I love driving it. I only feel that Honda could have done an even better job by adding some minor details and features. I would likely rate the Canadian EX-L model a straight 10.