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The Best and Worst Years For a Used Honda CR-V

Honda CRV

Are you aware that the popular Honda CR-V actually uses the same chassis as a Honda Civic? The reason it looks different is because the CR-V is an SUV and not a sedan. That being said, the two vehicles have the same chassis, which means they have the same wheelbase and even many of the same characteristics. The Honda CR-V is arguably one of the most popular vehicles ever produced by the company. It's also been around for several years, with the very first model being introduced all the way back in 1995.

Through the years, a significant number of these models have had very few problems. In fact, most people that purchase them tend to keep them for an extended amount of time because they can run trouble-free for well over 150,000 miles. However, every car maker produces at least a few models that seem to have more than their fair share of problems. For one reason or another, an update here or a change there just doesn't work. The Honda CR-V is certainly no exception. Here, you'll find why people love this vehicle so much, along with the best and worst model years that you can own.

Feeling the Love

When Honda introduced the CR-V in 1995, it didn't arrive in the US market until two years later, in 1997. Almost immediately, it was a vehicle that people fell in love with. There are a number of reasons why it became so popular so quickly. For starters, it was a fairly economical vehicle when it was introduced and by comparison, it still is.

In addition, it's large enough to allow you to take a lot of people with you, haul whatever you need or go on one of the most epic grocery store trips ever, yet it's also nimble enough that you can squeeze it into those tight parking spaces with relative ease. Considering the fact that it's an SUV, it gets decent gas mileage, about 27 miles to the gallon. It also has a respectable amount of performance. It's definitely not lacking in power when it comes to merging into traffic and the like, at least for the most part. It also provides a comfortable ride and Honda has kept the interior updated with modern-day technology.

You Can Choose Between Options

Another thing that makes the vehicle popular is the fact that you can choose the option that works better for you. For instance, Honda produces a front-wheel drive version that's perfectly acceptable for anyone who plans on staying on mostly paved roads. However, it is an SUV. What if you have a sudden itch to take it off-roading? As it happens, Honda has an answer for that too. It comes in the form of a compact crossover SUV that also offers 4-wheel drive. Granted, this package isn't as common as the front-wheel-drive version. It's also more expensive, as you might expect.

That being said, it works well for anyone who genuinely needs a compact SUV to haul kids around to different practices and get groceries during the week, yet wants to go off-roading on the weekend. It's also stylish and for the most part, extremely reliable. As you might have already guessed, the current version of the Honda CR-V is a lot different from the one that was produced all the way back in 1995. In order to get a better idea of what the current vehicle is like, let's take a quick detour and see what the 2022 Honda CR-V is all about.

The 2022 Honda CR-V

As it turns out, J.D. Power and Associates actually rates vehicles with a number from 0 to 100 that indicates their level of reliability. A vehicle that scores anything from 81 to 90 is considered to have very good reliability. J.D. Power and Associates actually lists this particular category as having ”great” reliability. The 2022 Honda CR-V has been granted a score of 84, meaning that you should be able to drive it without worrying about any mechanical issues for quite some time.

Of course, it also comes with many of the bells and whistles that people have become accustomed to having on modern-day automobiles. You can purchase it with either a 5-inch or 7-inch infotainment display. The base model comes with USB ports and Bluetooth technology. You can upgrade to include Apple Carplay, wireless charging, dual-zone climate control, so on and so forth. It also comes with all of the safety features that you would expect to find on a modern-day automobile. You can even purchase it in five different trim levels now. That's a far cry from the two models that were available when the car was first introduced to the United States in 1997 (the 1995-1996 model years were not available in the US).

Now that you know more about the history of the automobile and what the current Honda CR-V is like, it's time to find out which model years you might want to invest in if you're in the market for a used car. Just as importantly, we’ll also look at the model years you'll probably want to avoid.

The Best Model Years for the Honda CR-V

These are some of the best models if you insist on buying this vehicle used.

1998 Honda CR-V

This is a vehicle that represents the first generation of the Honda CR-V, one that many people still love to this very day. It also tends to hold up very well to the test of time. In fact, no one has reported any major problems with the vehicle's engine or transmission. By the same token, both the paint and the interior have a tendency to remain in remarkably good condition. As long as this vehicle is given routine maintenance over the years and not abused, there don't seem to be any major problems with it. As a direct result, there are an overwhelming number of these vehicles that are still on the road today and most of them are going strong.

2001 Honda CR-V

This particular version marked the very first example of the second generation of vehicles produced by Honda. All of them had an updated interior and exterior. It's well-known as one of the most reliable Honda CR-Vs that ever grace the road. As a matter of fact, an overwhelming majority of them have a tendency to go more than 150,000 miles without any significant mechanical problems whatsoever. Just like the example in the above paragraph, change the oil and perform other routine maintenance, and you should be able to drive this car for a very long time without any problems. It's not outside the realm of possibility that it could potentially reach 200,000 miles without having any issues whatsoever.

2009 Honda CR-V

When this particular car came out in 2009, it was one of the cheapest Crossover SUVs available for sale. Typically, that indicates a problem because as you well know, you usually get what you pay for. However, this car was the exception to the rule. As opposed to being chock-full of mechanical issues, it simply did what it was designed to do. It received top marks for styling and fuel efficiency at the time. Today, it continues to receive those same marks for reliability.

2013 Honda CR-V

2013 was a big model year for the Honda CR-V. It was also one of the most reliable models the company ever produced. If you decide to purchase one, you'll get all of the reliability that has already been thoroughly discussed with the other models, in addition to a few important updates. These updates include things like fog lights, a moonroof and a brand new 6-speaker stereo system that practically makes you feel like you’re sitting in the front row of a concert every time you go for a drive.

2016 Honda CR-V

The 2016 Honda CR-V has been well regarded for its reliability, especially where its engine is concerned. That's not something that was shared with a couple of more recent model years, so this is a very important detail. Something else that might interest anyone interested in purchasing a used Honda CR-V is that a few extra features were added to the vehicle for the 2016 model year. For instance, more trim models were available, effectively giving consumers more options. In addition, paddle shifters and daytime LED running lights were offered as standard equipment.

2020 Honda CR-V

There were a lot of changes for the 2020 Honda CR-V. Despite all of those changes, the vehicle remained steadfastly reliable. That is especially true with regard to a brand new hybrid engine and a continuously variable transmission. These types of transmissions aren't always so reliable. In fact, they can sometimes be riddled with issues. That being said, it appears that Honda figured out how to make it work.

This particular model year also saw a redesign of the exterior as well as some added safety features. Automated emergency braking was added, as was adaptive cruise control. To round out the list of new features, this particular model includes a lane-keeping assist function and even helps drivers to detect pedestrians that might be in their path of travel.

2021 Honda CR-V

Honda didn't really make any major changes for this model year. In fact, the vehicle is practically a carbon copy of the 2020 version. The one thing they did do is take a car that was already extremely reliable and make it even more so.

2022 Honda CR-V

It might be a little early to jump the gun and say that the current model year is also one of the most reliable, but there haven't been any complaints so far. Besides, the 2022 version is very similar to the previous model year in terms of the engine and transmission. Major changes are in additional trim models and in some of the technology that is available such as an updated infotainment system.

The Worst Honda CR-V Models

Now that you know which models you should focus on if you're in the market for a used Honda CR-V, here are the ones that you might want to avoid at all costs.

2002 Honda CR-V

There was only one major issue with this vehicle, but it was a big one. It involved the infamous Takata airbags, something that was truly dangerous and potentially life-threatening. As is the case with every other automobile that utilizes these airbags, Honda issued a massive recall and replaced them free of charge.

2007 Honda CR-V

The transmission on this particular model seems to be sketchy, as there were a lot of complaints. The vehicle also had a problem with its automated door locks malfunctioning. Last but not least, the compressor on the air conditioner had a tendency to fail when you least expected it.

2008 Honda CR-V

Again, there were problems with the door locks. The vehicle also received hundreds of complaints for paint chipping, tires that were wearing prematurely and airbags that didn't deploy when they should have.

2011 Honda CR-V

2011 was truly a bad year for the Honda CR-V. These vehicles tended to burn through so much oil that drivers had to carry an extra quart of it around and check the oil level every time they stopped for gas. Otherwise, they ran the risk of damaging the engine. Even more frightening, the vehicle had an uncanny habit of accelerating when the driver would step on the brake pedal. As you can tell, this is probably a model year that you want to avoid at all costs.

2014 Honda CR-V

A lot of the complaints associated with this model year had to do with odd noises that seemed to be coming from the engine. Hundreds of people claimed that it tended to rattle when it was cold and it was difficult to start on cold mornings. Others said that it made some type of grinding noise when it was started up. The biggest issue that plagued this model year was again related to the engine. It never really wanted to go when the driver would hit the accelerator. Instead, it had a tendency to hesitate, something that could be potentially dangerous.

2015 Honda CR-V

There were only two major issues reported with the 2015 model year, but they were issues that simply couldn’t be ignored. The first involved the vehicle’s tendency to stall out while it was being driven down the road. This is a huge safety factor for obvious reasons. In addition, the entire vehicle would vibrate hard enough to knock the fillings out of your teeth.

2017 Honda CR-V

There were a lot of problems with the 2017 model year. Drivers reported that gas was somehow getting into the oil, causing the oil level to be excessive. In addition, many of them reported a strong smell of gas inside the passenger compartment almost every time they drove the vehicle. Furthermore, there was an issue with the battery that would cause even new batteries to go dead after just a few weeks, an issue that seemed to happen over and over. Last but not least, an overwhelming number of these vehicles had heaters that would just stop working unexpectedly.

2018 Honda CR-V

This one shared many of the same problems as the previous model year, especially with relation to the smell of gas in the passenger compartment as well as the presence of gas in the oil. The vehicle also had a tendency to apply its own braking system out of nowhere, posing a tremendous safety hazard and scaring the life out of a number of individuals. If that's not bad enough, the infotainment system on this particular model rarely worked as it was supposed to.

2019 Honda CR-V

Last but not least, you have the 2019 model year. It too had its fair share of problems. The infotainment system didn't work on this model either and the issue with the ever-present dead battery seemed to be coming back to haunt the CR-V again. The aforementioned braking problems were also still a factor. If all of this isn't enough to turn you off of this particular model, it had a sensing harness that was designed with soy-based materials that turned out to be particularly appealing to rodents. That’s right, the mice and the rats loved making a home inside this particular vehicle. Happy driving!

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Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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