2012 Honda CR-V EX-L Review

MPG-o-Matic 2012 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD Review Summary:
The Honda CR-V is the new ubiqui-wagon. Chunkiness is out and smooth lines are in. An 18 percent improvement in coefficient of drag enables higher fuel-efficiency and a quieter ride, when compared to the previous model, with attention to detail underneath the CR-V delivering better aerodynamics. More miles per gallon (MPG), a sleeker face, Honda’s legendary reliability, and a well-designed interior ensure that the CR-V will continue to be one of the safest bets among small SUVs and Crossovers.

The 2012 Honda CR-V is powered by a 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower (HP) and 163 foot pounds of torque. The inline four is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with Grade Logic Control. The CR-V is available in either front-wheel- (FWD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD).

The official fuel economy estimates for the 2012 Honda CR-V are 21 city / 31 highway miles per gallon for FWD and 22 / 30 for AWD.

We travelled more than four hundred and fifty miles in our Urban Titanium Metallic CR-V EX-L AWD review unit, and dispensed the official mileage estimates, with an average of 33.9 MPG on the Interstate highway and 27.3 MPG combined with temperatures ranging from the low seventies through the low nineties.

Interstate Mileage Testing:

  • Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 34.7 MPG
  • Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows down: 34.4 MPG
  • Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C on, windows up: 32.8 MPG

Interstate highway testing temperatures were in the mid-seventies through mid-eighties. Our EX-L test vehicle was equipped with the standard 17 x 6.5-inch alloy wheels, clad with low rolling resistance 225/65R17 Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS all season touring tires, and was delivered with approximately 5000 miles on the odometer. (The CR-V LX is fitted with 215 / 70 R16 styled steel wheels.)

Highway driving range is very good. All 2012 CR-Vs are fitted with a 15.3 gallon fuel tank and are designed to run on regular unleaded gasoline.

The AWD model’s four-wheel-disc ABS brake system uses 11.7-inch vented rotors on the front and 12-inch solid rotors at the rear. The CR-V EX-L with Navi weighs in at 3545 pounds. Towing capacity is capped at 1500 lbs.

While the CR-V isn’t the fastest small crossover, there’s sufficient punch and the exhaust note is rather pleasant.

A monochrome display at the center of the speedometer provides a digital average and instant MPG data in a thermometer-style format, above the trip meter and temperature display. Parenthesis-like mood lamp eco-slivers surround the speedo. And of course, there’s an Econ-mode, for folks that like to push buttons.

2012 Honda CR-V EX-L Navi Trip Computer - Historic Gas Mileage Info - MPGs

Gas mileage information is as shown on the center-dash information screen, as well as on the audio head-unit LCD display. The Trip Computer provides current drive information, along with historical data for the last three trip segments.

Ride and handling are predictable, with an emphasis on utility, rather than sport.

The leather-wrapped steering wheel’s integrated controls provide easy access to cruise, audio, multi-information display, and phone functions. Hands-free Bluetooth standard, including streaming audio.

We found the EX-L model’s leather upholstered front buckets to be rather comfortable, with ten-way power adjustment, two-way adjustable lumbar support and two-level seat heaters.

There are two 12-volt outlets, with one just below the shifter and the second inside the center console, surrounded by the audio and USB input jacks.

The EX-L model is fitted with a seven-speaker 328-watt audio system with subwoofer, iPod support and XM satellite radio. The Multi-Angle rear-view camera display includes guidelines and makes backup chores a snap.

The second row seats are comfortable with 38.6 inches of headroom and 38.3 inches of legroom. Passenger comfort is ensured with a fold down center armrest and rear-seat ventilation ducts. Mom can keep track on what’s going on with the “conversation mirror.”

The CR-V’s tailgate allows for easy cargo loading and provides plenty of volume, with 37.2 cubic feet of storage with the 60/40 split rear seats up, and 70.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. Honda’s interior designers are masters in the origami art of seat folding.

All-in-all, the 2012 CR-V is perhaps the most obvious choice among small SUVs and Crossovers, with significantly improved aerodynamics delivering a higher level of fuel efficiency. A spacious, well designed and flexible interior makes the CR-V easy to live with, day in, day out. This is the new ubiqui-wagon.

2012 Honda CR-V EX-L side view at sunset

Parts Content Information
US/Canadian Parts Content: 65%
Major Source of Foreign Parts Content: Japan 20%
Final Assembly Point: Sayama, Saitama Japan
Country of Origin:
Engine – Japan
Transmission – Japan

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2012 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD

Daniel Gray

2 thoughts on “2012 Honda CR-V EX-L Review”

  1. Just got rid of my 2012 Honda CRV. I was disappointed with the gas mileage . They advertised 30mpg for the AWD and 31 for the two wheel drive. I never got more than 25mpg. The ride was rough, it was underpowered, and not enough room when going on trips. There should be a law that enforces the mpg statements. By the way, I understand mpg figures are established using 100% gasoline. “Where do you get 100% gasoline these days? Very few stations sell it, and then if so you pay a premium price for it.” The feds need to get back to the real world. Got myself a Chrysler T & C and realistically, it gets just a few miles less than the CRV did. Much more power, room a ride.
    Don’t be misled by the MPG claims on the sticker. I was, but never again.

  2. @Laurin
    No disrespect, but you may need to adjust your driving habits. I am currently leasing a 2013 CR-V LX and am easily getting 35+ mpg highway driving with cruise set at 60. In city driving, it’s considerably lower, avg around 22-23.

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