Compact SUV; Built in Japan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $5,500 – $12,500*

2002 Honda CR-V

2002 Honda CR-V

2002 Honda CR-V interior

2004 Honda CR-V

2004 Honda CR-V

  • Build quality
  • Cargo room
  • Maneuverability
  • Passenger room
  • Road noise

Efficient and well-built, the CR-V also appeals for relative comfort, refinement, and spaciousness. Sure, V6 rivals have more brute power; but no small SUV beats this Honda for design intelligence and proven reliability. Strong demand has meant scarce discounting of new models, and high resale value keeps secondhand prices hefty.


More interior room, greater power, new styling, and fresh features highlighted the redesigned CR-V, which arrived for 2002.

Like the 1997-2001 original, Honda’s CR-V was a four-door, five-passenger compact sport-utility vehicle with a side-hinged tailgate and four-cylinder engine.

Wheelbase was unchanged and no exterior dimension grew more than 1.3 inches. Even so, new interior panels expanded cabin width by 3.6 inches, rear leg room increased 2.7 inches, and cargo volume gained 5 cubic feet.

A new 160-horsepower, 2.4-liter engine replaced the previous 146-hp 2.0-liter. Manual and optional automatic transmissions were available.

The LX model came with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The EX was all-wheel-drive only. Honda’s AWD system did not have low-range gearing.

Power windows and locks, cruise control, cassette/CD audio, tilt steering column, and height-adjustable driver’s seat were standard. Antilock braking was limited to the EX, where it was standard. Front side airbags–new to CR-V–were standard on the EX and optional for the LX, as were alloy wheels.

A sunroof was new this year, exclusive to the EX as standard equipment. Leather upholstery was not offered on any model. All models had a 60/40 split folding rear seat. The innovative lift-out rear cargo floor could double as a folding picnic table.

Honda’s CR-V competed against the Ford Escape, Mazda Tribute, and Subaru Forester.

Yearly Updates

2003 CR-V
Again a strong seller after its 2002 redesign, the CR-V got only two detail changes for 2003. Updates were confined to a center console bin enlarged to hold standard CD boxes, and coat hooks added to the rear roof-mounted assist handles.
LX models returned with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, as did the uplevel AWD EX. ABS and a sunroof were standard on the EX, but unavailable for LXs.
2004 CR-V
Except for a new front-passenger power door-lock switch, little changed on the 2004 CR-V.
2005 CR-V
CR-V gains more standard safety features for 2005, including curtain side airbags. Other additions include a leather-upholstered model and a new automatic transmission. Detail styling changes round out the revisions. The automatic for ’05 is a 5-speed unit vs. a 4-speed. Four-wheel disc brakes continue as standard and are joined for ’05 by ABS, which had been standard only on the LX. All models also gain an antiskid system, which was previously unavailable. Front side airbags were an extra-cost feature but are standard for ’05 and joined by head-protecting curtain side airbags for both seating rows. Sixteen-inch wheels replace 15s for ’05. The SE has standard leather upholstery and heated front seats. Both are new CR-V features, as are steering-wheel radio controls and an outside-temperature indicator for EX and SE models.
2006 CR-V
There is no significant change for the CR-V in 2006.


transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Honda’s new 2.4-liter, dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine sent 160 horsepower to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. A CR-V may have front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The automatic for ’05 is a 5-speed unit vs. a 4-speed.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/146
Engine HP 160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 162
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic

Road Test

Acceleration isn’t as peppy as V6 rivals like the Ford Escape, but brisk enough on takeoff and loses little momentum when climbing hills. An AWD model with manual transmission reached 60 mph in 8.6 seconds. Exceptionally smooth, responsive automatic helps deliver drama-free passing.

Turning to fuel economy, automatic-transmission EX models averaged 21 to 22.7 mpg, in a city/highway driving mix. A manual-shift LX AWD averaged 18.6 mpg with gas-eating performance tests. The CR-V uses regular gasoline.

Some body drumming and tire thump over sharp bumps, but a CR-V is stable at speed, with little pitching or rocking on uneven surfaces.

A CR-V drives like a compact car, but has 8.1 inches of ground clearance. Though it’s pleasantly maneuverable, even mildly aggressive cornering produces tire squeal and scrub, plus copious body lean. Steering is nicely weighted in turns, but somewhat inert on-center with 2WD: Stronger on-center feel makes AWDs more relaxed straight-line cruisers.

Full-bore takeoffs, especially with 2WD models, sometimes yields unwanted sideways pulling, and slippery pavement can easily induce wheelspin. On slick surfaces, the AWD system tends to make a jerky clunk as it engages the rear wheels. Stopping ability is adequate but not outstanding in any model, and pedal modulation may be inconsistent.

A CR-V is not as hushed as some V6 rivals, and road/tire noise intrudes on all but unblemished pavement. But there’s little wind rush, and the engine is vocal only above 5500 rpm.

The automatic transmission shifter sprouts from the dashboard to the right of the steering wheel–an unorthodox position, but it gives a clear reach to all controls. Large, legible main gauges have amber illumination. The audio unit is a slight stretch for the driver, but clear and simple. So are the three big, knobs governing most climate functions, though they sit low.

Outstanding interior storage includes a handy flip-up tray between front seats. Two cupholders each sit in a tray and fold-down center armrest, plus a fifth that pulls from the dashboard on automatic-transmission models.

The airy front cabin yields generous head and leg room on well-bolstered seats, and the driver gets a comfortable take-charge stance. Aft visibility is hampered by three rear-seat headrests.

The backseat is too narrow for comfortable three-adult travel, but head room is great. Rear leg room beats many larger vehicles, thanks to a flat floor and a rear seat that slides fore/aft by 6.7 inches. Supportive, chair-high seat cushion are pleasing, and the backrest reclines 45 degrees.

Generous door openings help with no-strain step-in.

Cargo space is impressively wide and tall, even with the rear seat up.

Seat sections flip/fold to extend the floor and create one of the largest cargo bays in this class. The swing-out tailgate has a handy glass liftgate, but it should open to the right rather than the left. The load floor/picnic table is a fun feature, hiding a useful waterproof storage bin.


Model Tested: 2002 Honda CR-V LX 2WD, automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 6
Ride Quality - 5
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 4


Controls/Materials - 8
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 7
Cargo Room - 7


Value - 8

Total: 60


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.2 178.6 70.2 66.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
72.0 15.3 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.9 39.1 41.3 39.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: Both the front and rear brakes make a clicking noise when the car changes direction (forward/reverse) unless revised retaining clips are installed on the pads. (2002-03)
Engine stalling
Description: When coming to a stop, the engine may stall or stumble as fuel sloshes in the tank when 3/4 full requiring reprogramming of the computer. (2002-03)
Description: Worn bushings on the height adjustment allow the driver’s seat to rock back and forth. (2002)
Description: The front seat center table won’t stay up because the handle lock pin shears off. (2002)
Steering problems
Description: The vehicle may drift to the right on straight, level roads due to misalignment of the upper spring seats on the front. (2002-03)

Recall History

2002 CR-V
Description: Certain vehicles may be equipped with faulty automatic seatbelt pretensioners, possibly causing the belt to unlatch in a crash.
2002 CR-V
Description: Particles in the ignition switches on some vehicles may make it possible for drivers to place the vehicle into Park without engaging the brake.
2002 CR-V
Description: The front seat anchorage nut may be faulty in some vehicles, causing the seat to come apart in a crash.
2002 CR-V
Description: The driver’s airbag inflator could produce excessive internal pressure. If an affected airbag deploys, the increased internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture. Metal fragments could pass through the airbag cushion material, possibly causing injury or fatality to vehicle occupants.
2002-03 CR-V
Description: The shift cable linkage on vehicles with automatic transmissions could corrode, preventing drivers from putting the vehicle into Park.
2002-03 CR-V w/automatic transmission
Description: Corrosion may cause the shift cable linkage to malfunction, preventing the vehicle to stay in park position.
2002-04 CR-V
Description: The driver’s airbag may not properly inflate due to incorrect wiring.
2002-2003 CR-V
Description: This recall is related to a series of recalls on these vehicles in which Honda is replacing the inflators within the driver’s side air bag to address a defective condition. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the driver’s air bag, the inflator could produce excessive internal pressure that could cause the inflator to rupture with metal fragments striking and injuring the driver or other occupants.
2002-2003 CR-V
Description: Passenger-side frontal airbag inflator may rupture upon deployment and potentially spray the passenger with metal fragments.
2002-2004 CR-V
Description: Wear on the surface of the electrical terminal can increase electrical resistance, potentially disabling the low-beam headlights.
2002-2006 CR-V
Description: Driver-side power window switch may fail or melt, preventing operation of the windows and potentially causing a fire.
2005 CR-V
Description: Occupant position detection system’s side sensor may fail to shut off passenger’s side-impact airbag if occupant is out-of-position.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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