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Honda Enters the SUV Segment

The CR-V is one of America's most popular crossover vehicles. Released for the 1997 model year, it caught on as a sport utility vehicle during the SUV craze. It featured one trim level, the LX, and one engine, a 2.0-liter inline-4 with 126 horsepower. One of the features that distinguished the CR-V from the rest of the pack was its stow-away picnic table, which made it the perfect truck for trips and camping. The following year Honda offered a manual transmission, increased the interior size, and bumped up the inline-4 to kick 146 horsepower. 1998 also saw the addition of the EX trim level, which included certain amenities like anti-lock brakes.

From the SUV to the CUV

 Initially, Honda was wary of the CR-V, wondering if the Passport's popularity would hinder its success, but it turned out to be quite the opposite. The CR-V came to the forefront of Honda's compact SUV segment, starting with the second generation, for the 2002 model year. The new design revealed a bulkier, larger body that increased interior space and for more storage room. The LX and EX trims remained, with the EX as the upscale option, offering a moon roof, side airbags, and 4WD. Antilock brakes remained specifically for the EX, and did not become available with the lower trim until 2005. The line was also refurbished with all-new headlights, tail lights, and upgraded the lower trim so it offered many features previously found on the EX.

For the 2007 model year the third generation was released with the same 2.4-liter engine, but with the horsepower increased to 180. A leather trim known as the EX-L was added and front wheel or all-wheel drive was optional across the board. The styling abandoned the boxy-look for a rounded edge, which was refined for the 2012 model year to reveal the current generation. It's most recent facelift occurred in 2014 for the 2015 model year, including an improved suspension, comfortable interior, and smoother drive to help make it one of the most competitive cars in the crossover segment.

Did You Know?

There is some debate about what CR-V stands for, but most suggest it means Comfortable Runabout Vehicle or Compact Recreational Vehicle, both of which are fitting titles.  

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