Over 25 Years of the Honda CR-V

October 14th, 2022 by

A light blue 2011 Honda CR-V is shown from the front at an angle after leaving a dealer that advertised having a used Honda CR-V.

When you think of compact SUVs and crossovers, there may be a number of different models that you consider, but we would like to call your attention to the Honda CR-V. This crossover model has consistently been one of the most popular SUVs in its vehicle class, making a used Honda CR-V just as good of a choice as a new one. Honda recently announced the details for the 2023 model year, and it is more of everything we love about this model. This is a great way to celebrate the 25th year of the Honda CR-V, which was introduced in 1997, and quickly established itself as a good compact SUV choice.

At Gwinnett Place Honda, we are proud to provide you with an exceptional inventory of used Honda CR-V models. With over five generations of models to choose from, you should have no problem finding a used Honda CR-V that has the features you desire at a price you can afford. If you need help deciding which model year will be the best fit for you, we can help you out.

1997: The CR-V Comes to the USA

The first generation of the Honda CR-V is an introduction to quality. Honda introduced the CR-V over 25 years ago with an eye toward providing drivers with a roomy, fuel-efficient compact SUV that had a performance that other models from Honda’s competitors could only dream about. The initial 1997 model came with standard all-wheel drive and only one trim level, the LX. Nevertheless, the first generation CR-V sported a 2.0-liter I-4 gas engine with 126 horsepower and 133 lb-ft of torque. This engine was not only surprisingly peppy for its small size, but also gave solid EPA-estimated fuel economy of 19 MPG in the city, 23 MPG on the highway, and 21 MPG combined.[a]

The first-generation CR-V was also quite roomy. In fact, Honda provided 98 cubic feet of passenger volume and a trunk that could fit up to 67.2 cubic feet of cargo with the rear row of seats folded down. Interestingly, this would prove to be the smallest model of the CR-V across its six generations.

Not wanting to rest on initial success, Honda offered a number of incremental changes to the first-generation CR-V. A higher trim, the EX, was added in 1998 with 15-inch alloy wheels, a standard set of anti-lock brakes, and the option to choose between all-wheel and front-wheel drive. An SE model joined the ranks in 2000, offering a luxurious leather interior, a CD player, and a built-in navigation system. In addition, Honda gave the 2.0-liter I-4 a boost in 1999, increasing output to 147 horsepower.

2002: What’s on Second Generation?

While the second generation CR-V kept most of the first generation’s exterior styling, as the saying goes, looks can be deceiving. The second-generation Honda CR-V came with a bigger engine and a roomier interior. The engine is a 2.4-liter I-4, capable of 160 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, easily outperforming the first generation’s engine. Drivers were also given the choice of a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission. This model also provided more fuel efficiency, giving drivers an EPA-estimated 20 MPG in the city, 26 MPG on the highway, and 23 MPG combined.[a]

The interior was also roomier, with 106 cubic feet of passenger volume inside. This would prove to be the CR-V with the most interior passenger space. In addition, the second generation CR-V’s trunk provides 33.5 cubic feet of space that expands to a very useful 72 cubic feet with the second row of seats folded down.

Honda made only one set of updates in the second generation. This occurred in 2005, with a set of 16-inch wheels replacing the 15-inch wheels that had been the standard up to this point.

2007: Third Time’s a Charm

Some people believe you don’t mess with success. Thankfully, the folks at Honda don’t ascribe to this philosophy. Introduced in 2007, the third-generation Honda CR-V represented a radical departure for this compact SUV. The exterior was given a more aerodynamic shape, with a slightly lowered ground clearance to provide easier access for passengers. As a result, this model became more popular with families with young children, as well as older drivers who needed easier access to the interior space.

Honda continued to use the 2.4-liter I-4 gas engine with a five-speed automatic transmission. However, this engine was given a slight output boost to 166 horsepower and 161 lb-ft of torque. Just like the prior model, the third-generation CR-V provided a solid EPA-estimated fuel economy of 19 MPG in the city, 26 MPG on the highway, and 22 MPG combined.[a] Honda would give this engine a slight boost to 180 horsepower in 2010.

The interior of the third generation of the CR-V was slightly tighter at 103.8 cubic feet but featured upgraded seating fabrics, as well as an improved entertainment system with Bluetooth capabilities. The third-generation CR-V also features a larger trunk that can fit up to 72.9 cubic feet of your belongings when the rear seats are easily folded down.

A blue 2022 Honda CR-V is shown from the front at an angle.

2011: Bring Forth the CR-V

The biggest news about the fourth generation of the Honda CR-V was the introduction of a standard infotainment system with a five-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth connectivity. Now, all CR-V drivers could make hands-free phone calls safely by using their vehicle’s infotainment system. In addition, a backup camera became standard equipment on the CR-V.

Introduced in 2011, the fourth-generation Honda CR-V also gave another output boost to the venerable 2.4-liter I-4 gas engine. Still paired with a five-speed automatic transmission, this engine would now deliver a very sporty 180 horsepower and 161 lb-ft of torque. Even with the boost, the fuel economy of the CR-V didn’t suffer. In fact, the 2011 CR-V gets an EPA-estimated 22 MPG in the city, 30 MPG on the highway, and 25 MPG combined.[a] The introduction of a continuously variable transmission (CVT) in place of the five-speed automatic transmission in 2015 would give the output another boost, improving it to 185 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque.

The fourth-generation CR-V gave passengers a little more room than the prior model, a total of 104.1 cubic feet of passenger volume. The trunk was decreased slightly but still offered CR-V drivers up to 70.9 cubic feet of space for cargo behind the first row of seats.

2017: The Drive for Five Generations of the CR-V

Honda increased the wheelbase of the fifth-generation CR-V, which hit the roads in 2017. In addition, the model was given a dual exhaust to improve performance, with standard LED headlights and taillights improving safety. The fifth-generation Honda CR-V also became a model of options and choices.

Where the four prior models all featured a standard engine across all trims, the CR-V introduced in 2017 came with a choice of engines. The base engine is a 2.4-liter I-4, capable of 184 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. In addition, drivers could opt for an available 1.5-liter Turbo I-4, which uses a turbocharger to provide up to 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque. This engine proved so popular with drivers that the 2.4-liter I-4 was dropped after the 2019 model year, making this turbocharged engine the standard on most models of the fifth-generation CR-V.

The 2020 model year also introduced the CR-V Hybrid. This uses a 2.0-liter I-4 gas engine paired with a set of dual electric motors. As a result, the CR-V Hybrid is standard all-wheel drive and delivers up to 212 horsepower and 232 lb-ft of torque total between the conventional gas engine and electric motors. In addition, drivers can get an EPA-estimated 40 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway in a Honda CR-V Hybrid, making it a great way to save money on gas every time you fill up.[a]

The fifth generation CR-V used the increased wheelbase to provide improved space for passengers and their belongings. This model gives passengers 105.9 cubic feet of space, while there is 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk that can be expanded to 75.8 cubic feet by folding down the rear seats.

Honda also made its suite of Honda Sensing driver assistance technologies standard on all models of the CR-V starting in the fifth generation. As a result, you don’t have to pay a premium to keep yourself and your passengers safe in your CR-V.

A grey 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid is shown from the front while crossing a bridge.

The CR-V Future Is Now

Change is a constant in life, and Honda has shown that it will embrace change with the CR-V by updating and upgrading it to provide improved performance, comfort, and safety for its customers. As a result, a used Honda CR-V represents a vehicle that can provide anything you may be looking for in a compact SUV, no matter the generation you choose to drive. Each generation offers something unique, and we are happy to go through all the options available in each of our used CR-V models so you can find one that works for you.


[a] Based on EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Mileage will depend on model year, trim, and condition of the vehicle. Your mileage will also vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors.
Posted in Used Honda CR-V