In our most recent update on Small SUVs, the 2009 Honda CR-V was relegated to runner-up status behind the all-new 2009 Subaru Forester and the subtly improved 2009 Toyota RAV4. One of the primary criticisms reviewers have for the CR-V -- an SUV they still like very much -- is that its 166-hp four-cylinder engine is underpowered, especially when compared against the aforementioned Forester and RAV4, both of which have stronger base engines (170 and 179 horsepower, respectively) and optional step-up powerplants that are downright muscular. 2010 brings a much-needed mid-cycle refresh to the Honda CR-V, however, and it includes a critical improvement underhood.
Honda has announced that the 2010 Honda CR-V sees its engine output bumped up to 180 horsepower, and just like that, it leapfrogs the base Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 models. The added power comes with a modest 1-mpg fuel economy improvement across the board, too. For 2010 the CR-V is rated at 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway with two-wheel drive, and 21 city/27 highway with the optional 4WD system.
Honda's cute-ute also gets some exterior styling revisions, but they're pretty understated; the casual observer is unlikely to notice much of a difference, and the CR-V's face still looks like a Pokemon with an underbite. Similarly, minor tweaks are made to some interior tech and materials. The most dramatic change is the most important one -- the 14-horsepower increase in the engine bay. It'll certainly be interesting to see what critics' reactions are once the 2010 CR-V begins making the media rounds. Between it, the 2010 Chevy Equinox, and other expected newcomers like the 2010 Hyundai Tucson, the Small SUV landscape ought have a substantially different look to it when it comes time for our next full report update..