The CR-V is a small, four-door crossover SUV from Japanese automaker Honda. It was first sold in Japan in 1996 and came to the North American market in 2007. The CR-V was redesigned in 2002, and again for the 2007 model year. Despite Honda's reputation for quality vehicles and the CR-V's generally good safety and reliability ratings, there are several common problems with the vehicle that owners and potential buyers should be aware of.
One of the most common problems with the Honda CR-V involves the climate control for both the heater and air conditioning system. Air conditioning problems generally begin with a faulty condenser which, when it fails, can allow metal or other debris to enter the rest of the air conditioning system. This results in a costly repair since many components may need to be replaced. Leaky heater cores have also been reported by some owners, along with minor problems with the heater's electrical sensors.
Another common source of problems with the CR-V involves the transmission. The CR-V has been sold with several different transmissions, including manual and automatic models. Electrical faults sometimes produce an error message that makes it seem as though there is a problem with the automatic transmission when in fact no such problem exists. Automatic transmissions in the CR-V are also sometimes prone to leaking transmission fluid. Excessive noise during shifts has also been reported with both the automatic and manual transmissions in the CR-V.
The CR-V has been the subject of several recalls by Honda due to mechanical defects. In 2003 Honda recalled nearly a quarter million vehicles due to a problem with the shift cable on the automatic transmission. New cables were installed to prevent vehicles from accidentally shifting and rolling while parked. Another 2003 recall was enacted to repair a problem with the ignition lock on around 75,000 CR-Vs. In 1999 over 100,000 vehicles were recalled because of problems with a wiring harness in the dash.
Another group of CR-V recalls dealt specifically with safety equipment. A 2006 action involving more than one million vehicles forced Honda to send updated information that corrected an erroneous emergency phone number in owners manuals. Rather than recall the affected vehicles, Honda sent postcards to owners with the correct information listed. In 2004 around 7,000 vehicles were recalled because of a problem with the passenger seat airbag sensors. That same year more than 130,000 Honda vehicles, including many CR-Vs, were recalled for an unrelated airbag issue.
Some other problems with the Honda CR-V are the general shortcomings observed by drivers and automotive critics. Many have bemoaned the CR-V's mediocre power and handling, which are adequate for most driving, but do not measure up to the performance level of some SUVs during bad weather, off-road, or in emergency situations. Some drivers have also cited the CR-V's lack of interior legroom and uncomfortable seats. Storage has also been an issue, with some owners finding the roof-mounted luggage rack difficult to use, or expensive to install.