Is the new Honda CRV underpowered

I live in the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania and have been seriously considering a 2008 CRV. I travel a lot on interstate miles, but also a lot of back roads–all of which have some fairly steep inclines. I have heard that the CRV has trouble in such conditions (gear searching, etc.). Is the CRV the proper choice in such terrain?

It’s not going to be particularly fast. If you want a small SUV/glorified station wagon look at the V6 Toyota RAV 4 or the Tubro Subaru Forester, either one of those will be much quicker than the CRV.

The CR-V’s engine tends to rather noisy in lower gears, and this is something that you should take into consideration if you are going to be driving in hilly/mountainous areas. I can tell you that the 4-cylinder RAV-4 is decently powered, and is a lot quieter than the CR-V.

Also, the RAV-4’s engine uses a timing chain. If the CR-V still uses a timing belt, that is a distinct disadvantage, IMHO. I do know that the Forester still uses a timing belt and its seats are not particularly comfortable. Those factors helped my best friend decide on a RAV-4 a few weeks ago.

Forester is a full redesign for 2009 so seat comfort is unknown until you try.

Another correction is CRV is timing chain as of previous redesign around 2002 or 2003(not sure).

On the RAV4 its a great vehicle. I would skip the 4 cylinder except if price is a major concern. There is no real world fuel penalty for 4 cylinder vs 6 cylinder and an extra 100HP and lots of torque from an ultra efficient 6. My sister who has a 4 cylinder regrets not getting a 6 cylinder.

I will state lastly express your concerns to the Honda dealer and ask for an extended test drive where you try it in the situations you are concerned about. Good car dealers will let you take a “demo” usually driven by a higher up at dealership for a few hours in hopes of a sale. I highly recommend this before purchasing ANY vehicle. My wife purchased her last vehicle because of a dealer who offered this to us and we still love the car (05 Subaru Legacy turbo wagon w/ stick) to this day.


I was referring to the 2009 Forester, which my friend and I test drove, along with the CR-V and the RAV-4. While the newly redesigned Forester is definitely roomier and better-looking, the seats are actually not as comfortable as the seats in the “old” Forester, IMHO. And, the combined audio system/navigation system screen on the Forester L.L. Bean model is very non-intuitive and a pain to use.

I am traditionally a big Subaru fan, but I had to agree with my friend that the RAV-4 was a better vehicle overall, as compared to both the Forester and the CR-V.

Like many “growing” SUVs, they try to still make the grade with 4’s as they gain weight year by year. I still like the CRV if you’re not going to load it up all of the time. Our 4 cyl Rav gets noisy too when you load it and do hills.