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Honda CR-V 1997 Review

No matter whether CR-V is an abbreviation for "Comfortable Runabout Vehicle" or "Compact Recreational Vehicle", the RD1 is definitely an "SUV".

Our review of the Honda CR-V first generation model highlights the key features and specifications of this compact crossover Sports Utility Vehicle.

Honda's Original In-House Designed SUV

Many decades ago, the first in-house designed sport utility built by the Honda Motor Company was the CR-V (RD1).

Its original introduction took place through two specified dealerships in Japan from October back in 1995.


In 1996, Honda displayed the first-generation CR-V at the Chicago Auto Show and it finally went on sale for North American markets in February 1997.

CR-V Engine Specifications

The LX trim level would later become the only level of standard equipment available. But, the power comes from a 2.0-liter straight-four B-series (B20B).

Put another way, it is capable of producing 126 hp (with a motor output rating of 94 kW) at 5400 rpm and 180 Nm (133 pounds-feet) of torque at 4800 rpm.

Here's the thing:

The engine's outer dimensions are exactly the same as the 1.8-liter Honda Integra. But, the internal bore is much bigger (84 mm) which helps it produce extra displacement and torque.

Chassis and Suspension

By and large, the chassis and suspension is almost the same as the Honda Civic Shuttle (4th generation). Thus, it has a unibody vehicle frame with independent, four-wheel double-wishbone suspension and it's built on the same platform as the Honda Civic.

Design and Trim for 1997 CR-Vs

As was the norm for most of the Honda SUV range in the late 1990s, plastic cladding covers the front bumper, the rear bumper, and the fender wells.

Most of the early Honda CR-V models have a chrome grille. However, they used black plastic grilles for the United States sport-ute variant.

Honda CR-V 1997 Crossover SUV Review and Specifications1997 Honda CR-V Interior and Equipment

The CR-V cabin has a distinct feeling of functionality. In fact, some might say to the detriment of style and panache.

Nonetheless, the gauges are easy to read and the important controls are positioned appropriately.

The general finish of the interior is comfortable with excellent all-round visibility for driver and passengers.

Folding the rear seats down produces an outstanding cargo capacity of 67.2 cubic feet. Doing so also materialises a handy picnic table and cover for the rear cargo area (e.g. stowed in the floor bay).

All-wheel drive (AWD) comes as standard in the original Honda CR-V range, along with a host of other equipment and safety features, including:

One year after the initial debut, Honda released the CR-V EX facelift version in 1998. Some of the major updates included 15-inch alloys and having a choice between AWD and front-wheel-drive.

One of the late first-generation models, the Honda CR-V SE 4-door sport utility, completed its debut in 2000. New features and equipment included chrome accents, leather interior, an uprated navigation system, and the CD and cassette combination package.


It's fair to say the 1997 Honda CR-V wasn't trying to replace its adversaries at the time, such as Jeep® Wrangler or third-generation Toyota 4Runner.

Like most Honda SUV models, it was an alternative that appealed to motorists looking for usefulness, practicality, and affordable price tag.

Car Review Conclusions - Plus PointsPlus Points

Car Review Conclusions - Minus PointsMinus Points

Honda CR-V 1997 Original MSRP PriceOriginal MSRP Price for Honda CR-V 2.0 LS in the United Kingdom: £13,914*

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