Monday, August 13, 2012

Used Car Review - Honda CR-V (2002-2006)

Some say Filipinos would do anything (yes, just anything) to get something. Practically this applies to cars, especially the ones sold in the Philippines. Myk Belmonte explores this popular SUV that jumped a class that is known among Filipino motorists. The story about this is hidden in this article.

2002-2006 Honda CR-V

Filipinos are social and family oriented, we love to bond and spend time with our friends and families. Vehicles that have more than five seats (six is a tight fit) are best sellers locally - with 60% of all vehicles sold last year belong to the commercial vehicles classification. With a sedan, you could fit five warm bodies with minimal space for their cargo placed in the trunk. AUVs are a staple among Philippine roads and some manufacturers slap front benches that can accommodate three in a pinch among pick-up trucks and SUVs.

With chassis code RD4, the second generation CR-V - released in year 2002 - had more weight and gained a considerable number of inches. The success of this SUV prompted Honda to release a smaller SUV with the Element as its name and even Chinese car manufacturer Shuanghuan to draw inspiration for their version (unlicensed) called the Labiao SR-V, with legal action from Honda against copying the exterior's design. It bid farewell to the multi-step rear tailgate that required the opening of the glass latch first.

The second gen CR-V became available in Honda dealers the same year with the worldwide release. The distinct feature among CR-Vs sold internationally is the optional third row seats. This was done by placing it on the supposed cargo area and making the rear suspension more sturdy. It was a strategy for Honda to avoid the additional taxes imposed on vehicles that can carry less than 10 people. During its selling time, this SUV became Honda's best seller (with more than 9,000 units sold in 2003 itself) and was billed as the sophisticated AUV. Sales ceased in 2007 to give way to the RE1 CR-V introduced during that year.

Value and Costs
Question: what does the Toyota Revo with a diesel engine and the Isuzu Crosswind of the same period do have in common? Resale values are not far behind each others. Between P400,000-P470,000 for a decent unit, the second gen CR-V competes with the above mentioned vehicles and its "true" competitors of the same time. With many units to choose from (it sold extremely well), choosing a unit is a piece of cake.

If I were to compare it with the Revo, Crosswind, or Adventure; maintenance costs would be unfairly high but if you compare it with the CR-V's peers (with name plates of Escape, RAV4, X-Trail, or similar) it costs the same. While there are no threatening issues surrounding the gen 2 CR-V, have a keen eye on the rear suspension - especially if its still intact - which has been stiffened to accommodate the added weight of the third row seat and a recall issued by Honda Cars Philippines in March 2012 which involved 2002-2004 CR-V's lighting switch assembly . Another good news is that parts are easy to obtain.

Exterior and Interior
For those who are blessed with eagle eyes, you'll notice that the CR-V's styling is derived from the previous generation with some cues from the ES chassis Civic sold during the same time. You may say that it looked more elegant than sporty if you compare it to the older model. Blacked-out bumpers come standard in 8-seater models, but watch out for scratches.

The wonder of the this iteration of the CR-V is in the interior. Space is decent enough for front seat occupants, with the parking brake and automatic transmission shifter are mounted in the dashboard. But if we talk about ergonomics, the SUV (or AUV) is a mixed bag. The 4x2 8 seater's - or 10 "cheater" in local parlance - second row seat has four seatbelts (yes, four crammed in one bench!) as standard. If you want to experience the lumpiang ubod feeling, get this SUV and have four people (who have taken a bath if possible) wear their seatbelts. The third row placed for more seating capacity is nothing to praise, with comfort and room non-existent. The interior has easy to use controls, but dull to look at.

You can have your CR-V back in 2002-2004 with just one sole engine option, a K20A 1,998cc gasoline with 150hp at 6,500rpm and 194Nm at 4,000rpm. In mid-2004, a K24A1 2,354cc is offered as an option with figures of 160hp at 5,500rpm and 222Nm at 4,500rpm on tap. Do take note that the K20A is front wheel drive while the K24A1 engine has all-wheel drive as standard. The 2.0 engine can achieve low end torque peaks which is relaxing for long drives, but the 2.4 power plant's extra displacement, power, and torque didn't do justice.

Driving Impressions
Engineers from Honda decided to ditch its sporty driving characteristics and put refinement in the dictionary. Your passengers would feel the plush but firm ride due to the stiff suspension set-up to accommodate the extra payload. Attacking corners is less inspiring than the previous one but it is agile with the loss of some feedback. If you want comfort from the daily grind or cruising, this is one good choice.

Some say that Filipinos do have that diskarte in life, and even manufacturers and distributors in the Philippines would even do anything just to offer their products in an affordable manner. The Honda CR-V is one of these vehicles that injected the diskarte. Imagine this, they've placed four safety belts in the middle plus slap in that third row (even if its at the expense of passenger room) to avoid taxes imposed on non-AUVs.

The Good:

  • More legroom in the front row
  • Tailgate not tedious to use
  • Can seat 10 in a pinch
The Bad:

  • Expect a firm ride
  • Good luck fitting 4 passengers with their seat belts on in the middle
  • Somewhat poor built quality
The Pick: 2WD models since they're aplenty to choose.

Engines: 1,998cc K20A and 2,354cc K24A1 I4 gasoline
Power: 150hp @ 6,500rpm (2.0), 160hp @ 5,500rpm (2.4)
Torque: 194Nm @ 4,000rpm (2.0), 222Nm @ 4,500rpm (2.4)
Fuel Consumption: 5-7km/L 9 (city), 9-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic (2WD), 5-speed automatic (AWD)
Suspension: Front McPherson strut, rear independent double wishbone

Price (New): P950,000-P1,250,000 (range from 2002-2006)
Price (Now): P400,000-P470,000
Rivals: Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail, Mitsubishi Outlander, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Subaru Forester, Mazda Tribute, Hyundai Tucson
On Sale: 2002-2006

Honda Cars Quezon Avenue - 712-6850
Honda Cars Manila - 562-4548
Honda Cars Pasig - 988-1288

Photos by Myk Belmonte
CR-V unit courtesy of Guadix Auto Exchange


  1. This is a very good website! i do hope you keep on updating this. i hope you have a FB page so i can follow you on new articles.
    one thing i would like to see is an actual scanned brochure for each cars in local PH.

    1. Hi bro! We do have a Facebook page in which we post the latest articles. Go to the upper right portion of this page and click on like.

  2. I bought one for the low end torque..
    Driven to mt.Samat peak blessed.