2007-2011 Honda CR-V

Review and photos by
Chris Chase, Autos.ca

The Honda CR-V entered its third generation in 2007, a year that brought many changes to one of the most popular small SUVs in its crowded segment.

2008 Honda CR-V

2008 Honda CR-V

While the first two versions were similar in their long-legged, tall-riding appearance, the 2007 got a more substantial look that was less conventional, yet bore a stronger resemblance to the larger Pilot. This was the first CR-V to be built outside of Japan, with some North American-market models built in Ohio. The manual transmission was gone, making the five-speed automatic that was once optional the only transmission offered; as well, a new front-wheel drive model was added to the line-up. Honda designers also opted to move the spare tire from its previous spot on the tailgate to a new home under the cargo floor.

Many questioned Honda’s decision to stick exclusively with four-cylinder power for the CR-V, while most of its competitors had long offered the option of a V6 or a turbocharged four. Honda’s marketing department countered by saying that CR-V buyers felt that four cylinders was enough.

Find a used Honda CR-V on AutoTrader.ca

The 2.4-litre engine made 166 horsepower and 161 lb-ft of torque, and was mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The base LX was the only one that could be had with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive was an option there.

In 2009, Honda added an EX FWD model, making the top-trim EX-L as the only one to come exclusively with AWD.

The 2010 model got updated styling and a power boost that ramped horsepower up to 180, but left the torque figure unchanged.

In its first year, the third-gen CR-V’s fuel consumption figures were 10.2/7.3 L/100 km (city/highway) in FWD trim, and 10.7/7.8 L/100 km with all-wheel drive. Those figures improved to 9.8/7.1 (FWD) and 10.1/7.5 (AWD) with 2010′s updated motor.

Consumer Reports names the CR-V in its list of “good bet” recommended used vehicles, and gives the Honda very positive reliability ratings in most categories, but the CR-V is not without reproach.

The rear differential is a known source of trouble, and failures appear to be linked to a too-long lubricant change interval, and/or the use of an improper lubricant at the factory. The problem apparently only affects (or mostly affectes) CR-Vs built in Japan. Read about it here and here and here. Changing the fluid is a DIY-friendly job; click here for a great how-to. If you want to determine where a particular CR-V was built, click here for a guide to deciphering Honda’s VIN codes.

A number of 2010 CR-V owners posting here complain of vehicles that hesitate when acceleration is called for and generally feel sluggish despite the added horsepower 2010 models benefit from. The cause, as one owner discovered, was an engine control unit (ECU) that was misinterpreting sensor data and consequently retarding ignition timing. The fix was a reflash of the ECU that, according to the creator of the thread linked above, cured the problem 100 per cent.

A different bunch of 2010 owners posting here complain of an annoying power steering noise. There’s not enough evidence to suggest that the CR-V’s power steering is a trouble spot, but one poster, a Honda technician in the Toronto area, said that his dealership had replaced about a dozen 2007-2010 CR-V power steering racks in the spring and summer of 2010.

Here you’ll find discussion surrounding complaints of rust and poor paint quality on third-gen CR-Vs.

While it’s not a reliability concern, there are a few threads at CRVOwnersClub.com about poor windshield wiper performance. Click here and here to see a couple of them.

Used values, according to Canadian Black Book, range from a low of $17,900 for a 2007 LX 2WD model, to $32,575 for a 2010 EX-L Navi (2011 values haven’t been established yet). Splitting the difference, a 2009 LX 4WD is worth $24,050. The Toyota RAV4, the other mainstream Japanese vehicle in this class, prices out quite similarly. Hyundai’s Santa Fe, which was redesigned in 2007, in step with the CR-V, holds its value surprisingly well. A basic 2007 model is a worth a couple thousand bucks less than a similarly-trimmed Honda, but later models are worth almost the same amount as the Honda (and Toyota). The Santa Fe has proven almost as dependable as the Honda, and is arguably a more comfortable vehicle, given the CR-V’s firm ride.

The CR-V is popular for a reason, and there’s a good chance you’ll come away from a test drive impressed with its generally pleasant driving demeanour. And while Consumer Reports loves the CR-V to death, don’t buy one without getting it checked over by a trustworthy mechanic, paying particular attention to the state of the rear differential (in AWD models) and the power steering system.


Black Book Pricing (avg. retail) March, 2011:

Year Model Price today Price new
2010 CR-V LX AWD $27,300 $28,290
2009 CR-V LX AWD $24,050 $29,790
2008 CR-V LX AWD $21,675 $29,790
2007 CR-V LX AWD $19,475 $29,790

Online resources

CRVOwnersClub.com is a site specific to the CR-V, and so an obvious spot to go for information. HondaSUV.com‘s scope is wider, taking in all of Honda’s SUV/crossover models, and a good source for the popular CR-V need-to-knows.


Transport Canada Recall Number: 2011013; Units affected: 1

2010: On certain vehicles, a connector pin inside the engine wiring harness may have damaged by a testing tool during vehicle assembly. This could cause a loss of power to the ignition coils, resulting in intermittent spark firing or engine stalling. Engine stalling would result in lost propulsion which, in conjunction with traffic and road conditions, and the driver’s reactions, could increase the risk of a crash causing property damage and/or personal injury. Correction: Dealers will replace the damaged connector pin within the ignition wiring harness coupler. In addition, the central coupler (bus bar) that the ignition wiring harness attaches to will be replaced, in case it has incurred damage by the connector pin.

Crash test results

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.

For information on recalls, see Transport Canada’s web-site, www.tc.gc.ca, or the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA)web-site, www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.

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