First Generation (1995-2001)
While Honda has been manufacturing the CR-V since 1995, it wasn’t until its introduction at the 1996 Chicago Auto Show that it became available for sale in the North American market in 1997. CR-V stands for “comfortable runabout vehicle,” and it is Honda’s mid-range utility vehicle, bigger than the HR-V and smaller than the Pilot.
Initially, there was only one trim level for the CR-V, the LX trim package, which came with a 2.0-liter straight-four B20B engine that produced 126 horsepower and a four-wheel double wishbone suspension. The vehicle came with a fold-out picnic table and back seats that could fold down. In the North American market, the bumpers, fender wells and grille, were covered in black plastic.
Changes were made halfway through the first generation. The engine changed to a 2.0-liter B20Z engine that produced 147 horsepower. In 2000 the North American market received a special edition model, the CR-V SE. The SE featured new exterior body colors with bumpers, side moldings and a hard spare tire cover that matched the body color instead of being covered in black plastic. The SE also had leather seats, a CD/cassette audio deck, rear privacy glass, a Navtech navigation system, and a chrome grille accent.
From 1995 until 2001 the Honda CR-V had a higher sales rate than any other vehicle in its class.
Second Generation (2002-2006)
The second generation of the Honda CR-V was redesigned based on the seventh generation of the Honda Civic. With a new K24A1 engine and the i-VTEC system, the CR-V climbed to 160 horsepower and kept the fuel economy of the previous generation. Honda engineers listened to the critiques of the previous generation and redesigned this generation to have an additional eight cubic feet of interior space.
Two trim levels were available for this generation—the LX, and EX which came with a sunroof and standard side-impact airbags. Both manual and automatic transmissions were available for this model, and the rear seats could recline.
In addition, changes to the rear suspension increased cargo space to 72 cubic feet. The new rear-hatch design no longer required the glass hatch to be opened prior to the swinging door. With all of these changes, the second generation CR-V was Car and Driver magazine’s “Best Small SUV” for 2002 and 2003.
Third Generation (2007-2011)
The rear of the vehicle underwent a change during the third generation. The spare tire was completely removed from the back of the vehicle, and the rear door was changed to a rear liftgate as opposed to a side-opening rear door. Manual transmissions were no longer an option along with the fold-out picnic table.
With this generation CR-V three trim levels are available, the LX, EX, and EX-L. The buyer could choose between a front-wheel or all-wheel drivetrain. All three trim levels came with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 166 horsepower and a five-speed automatic transmission.
The 2010 CR-V received changes that included a redesigned front fascia and rear bumper. The EX and EX-L models now sported five split-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels. New upholstery fabrics were used in the cabin and the front passenger armrests were enlarged. The information display backlighting in the gauges changed from black to blue.
Fourth Generation (2012-2016)
The fourth generation Honda CR-V debuted at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. The power for this model CR-V is the 2.4-liter i-VTEC inline-four engine that puts out 185 horsepower. For the first time, a backup camera was available for all trim levels as well as a five-inch multifunction center screen and Bluetooth connectivity. Optional features included dual-zone automatic climate control and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
The 2015 CR-V included additional improvements. The fuel economy was improved with the direct-injected ”Earth Dreams” engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT). The body of the vehicle was modified to improve its crash performance, and the suspension shock absorbers, springs, anti-roll bars and lower control arms were revised to improve ride performance. These changes resulted in the Honda CR-V being named Motor Trend magazine’s “2015 SUV of the Year.”
Fifth Generation (2017-Present)
The fifth generation of the Honda CR-V increased the number of available trim levels to four – LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring. The LX model gets its power from a 2.4-liter 1-4 engine with 184 horsepower and two-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT) while the EX, EX-L and Touring models use a 1.5-liter 1-4 engine with 190 horsepower and two-speed CVT. All four trim levels can be paired with either front-wheel drive or an all-wheel drivetrain.
The cabin of the fifth generation CR-V included new features. An optional third row of seats allows for seven passengers in the vehicle. A new seven-inch thin-film-transistor (TFT) liquid-crystal display improves the contrast and image qualities of the gauges, and an updated seven-inch touch screen display allows passengers to use the Android Auto/Apple CarPlay systems.
New safety features introduced with this generation CR-V include blind spot information with rear cross-traffic monitor and auto high beam headlights. The Honda Sensing package, which is standard for all trim levels beginning in 2020, includes adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, and lane-keep assist.
On the exterior of the vehicle, new features include a power lift-gate and an active grille shutter system to reduce aerodynamic drag. All trim levels EX and up have LED daytime running lights, 18-inch alloy wheels and an electronic parking brake with a new auto-hold feature.
The base trim level, LX, is powered with the Earth Dreams 2.4-liter i-4 engine with 184 horsepower. Premium trim levels are powered with the 1.5-liter turbocharged i-4 engine with 190 horsepower. All trim levels come with a continuously variable transmission.
The 2019 Honda CR-V was named “Top Safety Pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and “Compact SUV Best Buy” by Kelley Blue Book. If your award-winning CR-V is in need of a windshield replacement, sidelite replacement, or backlite replacement, use Glass.com to help you locate a local and reputable auto glass repair technician to get your glass replaced and quickly get your Honda back on the road.