For 1999, Honda boosted horsepower on the free-revving 2.0-liter DOHC four from 126 to 146 ponies. That might not sound like a lot of improvement, but it was enough to drop the EX's 0-60-mph time from 9.4 to 8.6, and it significantly improved the CR-V's demeanor in hill-and-dale motoring. Best of all, the bump in power didn't cost any fuel economy, as the CR-V still delivered an impressive 22 city/25 highway mpg.
The CR-V combines familiar Honda components into a fresh design that's a welcome alternative to the drab station wagons and minivans clogging up America's driveways. Its MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear make for an exceptionally smooth, responsive ride. Equipped with available Real Time all-wheel drive, the CR-V easily topped the competition in Car and Driver's off-road test*.
The standard amenities list is long and features air conditioning with a microfiltration system, power windows/locks/mirrors, a CD/cassette audio deck, cruise control, adjustable steering column, and an on-board picnic table. With a starting price under $20,000, the CR-V easily beats Mom's Country Squire and its clones in terms of cost-to-benefit ratio.
The second generation of the CR-V was a major redesign that introduced the all-new K24A1 engine (referred to as the K20A4 in Southeast Asia). This engine has more power than its predecessor, and it also bats out more torque at lower RPM levels. It's no slouch on the road, either, as the CR-V boasts impressive acceleration and maneuverability. As for safety, all models come equipped with anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution, traction control, and Vehicle Stability Assist. In addition, front seat-mounted side airbags and side-curtain airbags are optional.