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Published on July 7th, 2010 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Used 1996 Honda CRV review

The very popular and desirable Honda CR-V was first introduced in 1996. It was one of the first small car-like SUV’s on the market. Sitting on a Honda Accord platform, Honda was clever to release a light SUV that caught on with housewives and families like bee to honey. Even though it was slightly underpowered for its rather heavy body (126 hp), many customers appreciated the unique combination of low fuel consumption, all-wheel drive, spacious interior and reliability. Thanks to unibody construction and light weight (only 3160 lb or 1433 kg), the Honda CR-V has very predictable car-like handling. Inside you will find well-designed, user-friendly instrument panel, easy to use controls, lots of cargo space and many convenience features, including even a fold-out picnic table under the boot carpet. There are number of cup holders and storage compartments, there is even a storage box under the front passenger’s seat. The rear seats fold almost flat for extra cargo space. The Honda all-wheel drive system is very helpful on slippery roads, although it’s not designed for real off-road adventures. In normal conditions the Honda CR-V is powered by the front wheels. As the front wheels loose traction and start slipping, the rear wheels kick in to help. This is accomplished through the use of viscous clutch to engage the rear wheels. Great for slippery road conditions and when flash floods hit our major cities. With heavy rains coming back to Malaysia for the past few week or so, the CRV should start looking like a worthy upgrade over a family sedan.

Models from 1996 were equipped with transversely mounted 4-cylinder 2.0L 126 hp DOHC engine with four valves per cylinder. In 1999 the CR-V engine was slightly modified and received additional 20 hp. This engine is fairly reliable and easy to maintain. The Honda CR-V engine has a timing belt, which, according to the Honda Maintenance Schedule, needs to be replaced every 80000 km. Make sure that the previous owner has done so by checking the service records. If the records are incomplete or from a workshop with lesser confidence, then right after purchase it is advisable for you to have the timing belt changed yourself for a peace of mind. A trip to a Honda specialist will help solve all maintenance and running problems and there are many mechanics is town that can evaluate and maintain a CRV. There are many units which were imported in from Japan so specifications may vary and some come with interesting accessories, like a cooler box, VCD player, sunroof, cruise control, bull bars and leather interior with electric front seats. So take your time and shop around.

Current Honda CRV owners are relatively happy motorists as their cars hold their value pretty well and somewhat defying depreciation in the conventional scale. A 1996 used CRV with 240,000 kilometers on the odometer will still fetch a rather high RM38,000. Finding one for sale is never a problem and most have been urban family cars.

In my opinion, the Honda CR-V is one of the best small SUV you can find on the market. It’s fun to drive, fairly reliable, and has good fuel economy for an SUV. Roomy interior makes Honda CR-V perfect for travel, including light off-roading. Simple four-wheel drive system works fine on slippery water clogged roads. If a small SUV is what you are looking for, I definitely recommend for you to consider a used Honda CR-V.


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