Car vs SUV and why I bought a 2012 Honda CR-V

Writing by on Saturday, 21 of July , 2012 at 9:50 am

Having driven couple of stick shift cars for 14 years, I decided to get a new Compact Crossover – a 2012 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD w/ Nav. Having read so many discussions and the negative propaganda on SUVs I felt that I was making a mistake. After buying the CR-V and driving it around, I knew I had made the right choice and a practical one that. All this criticism about SUVs and Crossovers is done by folks that don’t own or haven’t really driven them around.

My wife has a V6 Toyota RAV4 and I always loved driving it so much that I had to get myself another compact crossover. So why do I think it makes sense in the Bay Area?
Remember, Bay Area Freeways get extremely and annoyingly busy during peak hours and the drivers have varied driving styles. (Not really going to stereotype here.)

Much Better Visibility
This is my primary reason. In the Bay Area where there are so many SUVs on the road and with drivers slamming their brakes all the time, sitting in a car just didn’t give me a sense of the traffic a few cars ahead. As a defensive and cautious driver, you’ve got to have a feel of the traffic ahead, otherwise the car in front of you is going to slam his brakes without your anticipation. In an SUV, you are sitting higher and so can gauge what’s out there and anticipate that ‘Stop and Go’.

Usually Automatic Transmission
I am never buying a stick shift car/SUV again at least in the Bay Area and not if it will be my only vehicle. It really becomes so stressful driving, especially with the Stop and Go traffic, accidents, packed freeways and the traffic lights that seem to always go Red on you. For me, all this stress was simply gone! I don’t think about it anymore. The show-offs that want the manual transmissions can buy them, but the fact of the matter is in the Bay Area where there are like 95% automatics people will drive like they’re in automatics. PERIOD. You have to keep shifting and keep cursing which is just unnecessary stress. I loved driving stick shifts, but on weekends. The 2012 Honda CR-V does not even have a manual transmission option. Personally, it doesn’t matter to me whether its a 5 speed or 6 speed auto transmission, since I’m not shifting anymore.

Fuel Efficiency
Here are the specs for the 2012 Honda CR-V: 23/31/26 for the 2WD and 22/30/25 for the AWD (IMO – a pretty good sacrifice).
My AWD version gives me over 28 mpg (combined) with ECON turned ON most of the time. My 2000 Civic was around 31 (combined). Now folks, is it really a gas guzzler? At 28 mpg combined, its pretty much like a car. It’s not a Prius, but pretty acceptable. The 2012 Honda CR-V sacrifices performance for fuel efficiency, so while your 0-60 may take you well over 10 seconds, your not breaking the bank at gas station. Again, in the Bay Area during peak hours you can’t do 60, so who cares?

More Room
The trunk in my car was packed with my gym bag, tennis ball hopper, racquets, swim gear etc. that going to Costco was getting to be a hassle especially when my wife had thrown three 5 gallon water dispensers. I ended up loading the front and back seats. SUVs will naturally win here. The 2012 CR-V has a cool feature where you can completely fold the back seats by pulling a strap, in cases where you really need the room. There’s really enough room to comfortably sit people in the back seat.

Handling, Driving Ease and Comfort
This is probably a Honda thing, but the seats are really comfortable. The 2012 CR-V feels and handles more like a car. The interiors on the EX-L w/ Nav are really luxurious and the redesign definitely makes it look very hip and sporty. It is not and does not look cheap!

AWD/4WD Option
If you’re going up to snow country for some skiing, there are more 4WD options with SUVs than cars. You never know when you might need all the wheels and for 1 mpg drop on the 2012 CR-V, I thought it was a decent sacrifice.

Depending on what you’re looking for this might be tricky, but I negotiated like crazy (a 4 week period) and got a good deal on the 2012 CR-V EX-L w/ Nav. I would say that you could get a fully loaded CR-V at around the same price as an Acura TSX Base, but you could get a Honda Civic for way less. I believe that this should by far the most important decision making factor.

To sum up, smaller cars definitely win when it comes to fuel efficiency, parking, handling and cost. But with luxury cars you will lose out on fuel efficiency and cost. Depending on your choice of SUV or crossover you might be able to weigh in the benefits and compromise on lacking areas. For me, really a vehicle is a way to comfortably get to and back from work with occasional road trips rather than a serve as a status symbol. Although I went a little overboard with a top of the line CR-V, I really enjoy the added features and I think it’s a practical vehicle.

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Category: Reviews

Shivdev Kalambi's Blog

Shivdev Kalambi is a Software Development Manager, previously a Principal Software Engineer at ArcSight/HP. With over 16 years' experience in software development, he's worked on several technologies and played different roles and contributed to all phases of projects. Non-tech activies include Ping-pong, Rock Climbing and Yoga at PG, Golf, Skiing, Swimming & a beer enthusiast.