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2012 Honda CR-V sports all-new looks inside and out

The 2012 Honda CR-V has a degree of styling and refinement that just didn't exist in the three previous generations. It also rides and handles with confidence born out of recent engineering.

January 04, 2012|By David Undercoffler, Los Angeles Times

Also nifty is an all-new flip-and-fold feature for the rear seats that's standard on all CR-Vs. When cargo trumps rear passengers, owners can pull a lever in the cargo area or a strap by the rear seat cushion. In a quick motion with all the choreography of a Russian ballet but none of the blisters, the rear seat cushion flips up, the headrests flip down, and the seat back folds to the floor. The result is an almost flat cargo area that swallows just under 71 cubic feet of gear, a small decrease from the previous CR-V.

Just watch your head as you load that cargo area; the rear hatch opens only so high, and anyone above 6 feet tall will need to duck a little to stand under it. I have a dent in my head to prove it.

Like the interior, the exterior gets a thorough redesign. It too is a more complete, mature look versus the previous CR-V. Both the front and rear have a broader, confident finish to them, which does well to imply that the CR-V costs more than it actually does.

In fact, the $30,605 sticker price of the loaded CR-V EX-L all-wheel-drive model I tested is $300 less than the same model cost for 2011. In addition to the aforementioned features, it included heated leather seats, moon roof, Pandora Internet radio and automatic climate control.

Safety features on all CR-Vs includes six air bags, traction control, anti-lock brakes and a tire pressure monitoring system. The 2012 CR-V was named a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Most are being built in Honda's plant in East Liberty, Ohio, though consumers may see origins of Japan, Mexico and Canada on a few window stickers.

So if the 2012 CR-V is not truly all-new, it's new in the right places to help it claw back that SUV sales crown. It looks, rides and sips gas like a new vehicle, even if the hidden bits are carry-overs.

If you want to tell people it's all new, you have my blessing. After all, there are other resolutions that are easier to keep. Happy new year, Pinocchio.

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