Honda Automobiles: All-New 2012 Honda CR-V Body Combines Sleek Design and Safety Features

Completely redesigned for 2012, the all-new Honda CR-V body is designed to contribute to higher fuel efficiency (up to 3 mpg more on the highway) and vehicle safety while enhancing the functional and refined aspects of the entry-level SUV.

Compared to the 2011 model, the sleeker 2012 body design is more aerodynamic with a 1.0-inch lower roofline (AWD models) and numerous refinements to the body. Yet the CR-V retains a generous amount of headroom* (39.9 inches), increased passenger volume* (104.1 cu-ft., up 0.3 cu-ft.) and the same ground clearance on AWD models (6.7 inches) as the prior model. This overall packaging accomplishment is consistent with the Honda philosophy of “Man Maximum, Machine Minimum,” or the interior design objective that allows maximum space for passenger comfort.
(*CR-V LX referenced)

New Body Technology

  • Expanded-View Driver’s Mirror

Body Summary

  • Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
  • Length x Width x Height (AWD), inches = 178.3 (-1.0) x 71.6 (same) x 65.1 (-1.0)
  • Lighter (-20 lbs approximately) and stronger body with a dynamic rigidity balance that matches the previous generation model, as well as increased static rigidity (bending rigidity +7 percent and torsional rigidity +9 percent)
  • Aerodynamic coefficient of drag (Cd) improves by 18 percent

Significant reductions to the impact of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) throughout the body and chassis improve interior quietness and ride quality compared to the previous model. To achieve the improvement, the 2012 CR-V has greater body rigidity, lighter suspension components, additional noise insulation and more aerodynamic features including underbody covers and a rear spoiler.

Exterior Dimensions
The 2012 CR-V rides on a 103.1-inch wheelbase and measures 178.3 inches in length, 0.8-inches shorter than the previous-generation CR-V. At 71.6 inches, overall width is the same as the previous CR-V, and at 61.6 inches front/61.6 inches rear, the track is also the same.* But the most significant departure is in height: at 65.1 inches tall, the 2012 CR-V is a noticeable 1.0-inch lower on AWD models and 1.4 inches lower on FWD models. Although the aggregate visual effect is of a lower, sleeker CR-V, even with these exterior dimension adjustments the new model is still roomier inside.
(*CR-V EX referenced)

Exterior Styling and Design Concept
The size and proportion of the previous-generation CR-V contributed to its success as the best-selling SUV in every calendar year from 2007 through 2010, as did refined styling features such as the multi-reflector halogen headlights, long full-body taillights, and exterior detailing that conveyed both ruggedness and sophistication.

Compared to the previous-generation CR-V, the 2012 model takes on a more aggressive and aerodynamic stance with deeper sculpting of the bodylines and a bolder front fascia. The front bumper’s smooth-flowing lines are highlighted by a horizontal three-bar grille and deeply set multi-reflector headlights. The lower front bumper wraps smartly upward to convey SUV capability with a generous approach angle, while the lower front bumper design now integrates more smoothly with the fascia for improved aerodynamics. The CR-V’s signature vertical rear brake lights, which originally debuted on the 1997 model, remain for 2012 with a more three-dimensional style that further compliments the design and aerodynamics of the vehicle. The CR-V’s large wheels and bold fender flares emphasize the vehicle’s dynamic presence and capability.

In aerodynamic efficiency, the new CR-V is targeted to be at the top of its class, with numerous design elements contributing to improved efficiency. The longer roofline and integrated rear spoiler help to lower the coefficient of drag.

The CR-V EX-L is equipped with silver roof rails that start at the A-pillars and sweep along the roofline toward the rear end of the vehicle (available as an accessory on CR-V LX and EX). These rails provide an attachment point for an accessory rack, while also providing a dramatic visual element. The rails are fully functional, with each side including three anchor points.

Side Door Design with Improved Ingress and Egress
When the doors are open, the side-sill garnish covering the rocker panel creates a more direct pathway to the ground when entering or exiting the vehicle compared to the previous generation CR-V. The end result is less step-over distance for better comfort and a reduction in the likelihood of leg contact with the side of the vehicle.

Aerodynamic Enhancements
The CR-V gets significant improvements in aerodynamic refinement and efficiency for 2012, which reduces interior noise and helps to increase fuel economy. Among the improvements is a body design that significantly improves aerodynamic efficiency by helping air to move over, around and underneath the CR-V. In doing so, the floor uses new or enlarged undercovers beneath the engine, behind the front subframe, under the passenger cabin, and under the trunk area to help air flow more smoothly, resulting in less turbulence and drag. Additional details including radiator air ducts, air strakes and a rear spoiler, all combine to improve aerodynamic efficiency.

Standard CR-V Exterior Features

Standard exterior value features for the 2012 CR-V LX include:

  • Impact-absorbing body-colored bumpers
  • Multi-reflector halogen headlights with auto-off function
  • Daytime running lights (DRL)
  • 2-speed intermittent windshield wipers
  • 16-inch steel wheels
  • P215/70R16 all-season tires
  • Folding power side mirrors
  • Expanded-View Driver’s Mirror
  • Power windows
  • Integrated rear-window antenna

Added exterior features on the CR-V EX and EX-L include:

  • Fog lights
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • P225/65R17 all-season tires
  • One-touch power moonroof with tilt feature
  • Power windows with auto up/down driver’s window
  • Body-colored side mirrors and door handles

Specifications Comparison

2012 CR-V vs. 2011 CR-V

2012 CR-V
2011 CR-V
Wheelbase, in.
No change
Overall length, in.
Overall height AWD/FWD, in.
65.1/ 64.7
66.1 / 66.1
-1.0 / -1.4
Overall width, in.
No change
Track, F/R, in.
No change
Ground clearance, in. AWD / FWD (unladen)
6.7 / 6.3
6.7 / 6.7
+0.0 / -0.4
Curb weight, lbs. (FWD/AWD)
3,365/3,490 EX;
3,408/3,529 EX-L
3,413/3,534 EX;
3,430/3,554 EX-L
Towing capacity, lbs.
No change
Passenger volume, cu. ft.
104.1 LX;
101.5 EX/EX-L
103.8 LX;
100.9 EX/EX-L
+0.3 LX;
+0.6 EX/EX-L
Cargo volume, cu. ft., (rear seat up/down)
Seating capacity
No change
Fuel capacity, gal.
No change
Wheels, standard, in.
Steel, 16×6.5 LX
Steel, 17×6.5 LX
-1-inch diameter
Wheels, available, in.
Aluminum, 17×6.5 EX/EX-L
Aluminum, 17×6.5 EX/EX-L
No change
Tires, standard
-1-inch diameter/
-10 mm width
Tires, available
No change
Approach Angle, degrees
No change
Breakover Angle, degrees
Departure Angle, degrees

Rigid Unit-Body Construction
In the new 2012 CR-V, numerous improvements contribute to a higher-strength unit-body, which improves ride and handling, as well as interior noise levels. All-new engineering improves the overall strength of the front bulkhead, front and rear wheel arches, A-, B-, C- and D-pillars and body posts compared to the previous-generation CR-V. As a result, overall stability increased, benefiting steering precision and feel, ride comfort and dynamic stability. The body side sills are also shaped to further improve ingress and egress ergonomics.

Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) Body Structure
Originally debuting on the 2005 Odyssey, the 2012 CR-V employs the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. (Please see Safety section for more information.) The ACE body structure is a pioneering Honda unit-body construction technology. First introduced to CR-V in the 2007 model, ACE™ increases the vehicle body’s ability to manage crash energy in a frontal collision, even if the CR-V should collide with another vehicle that is either larger or smaller.

Multi-Angle Rearview Camera with Guidelines
All models receive a multi-angle rearview camera, visible on the 5-inch intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID). The camera can show a top view, 130-degree view or 180­-degree rear view when the transmission is in Reverse. The camera is located just above the license plate on the tailgate. Guidelines help drivers gauge how close they are to an object. The dotted line indicates the closest distance that the tailgate can be opened. On navigation system-equipped models, the image appears on its 6.5-inch screen. (Please see Interior section for more information.)

Visibility and Glass
Excellent outward visibility is a hallmark of Honda design and a key feature for the 2012 CR-V. Like its predecessor, Honda’s fourth-generation compact utility vehicle retains excellent front and rear sight lines for the driver, including a commanding eye point level and a short forward invisible length (the distance a driver needs to look to see the ground in front of the vehicle). This invisible length is further improved at the corners of the 2012 CR-V hood, enabling the driver to see shorter objects closer to the front bumper.

The CR-V also has UV-resistant privacy glass with dark tinting on the second-row windows. This glass filters UV light and results in less interior fade over time, lower cabin temperatures on hot days, and more efficient interior cooling. The rear side windows include an ECON badge in recognition of the CR-V’s ECON function. (Please see Powertrain section for more information.)

Power Windows
Power windows, with an auto-up/down driver’s window, are standard on all CR-V models. Individual controls are located by their respective windows. Pressing a master switch on the driver’s window control panel can deactivate the passengers’ windows.

One-Touch Power Moonroof with Tilt Feature
The CR-V EX and EX-L models have a one-touch power moonroof with tilt feature that will fully open or close with a single touch of the switch. Construction of the moonroof mechanism was studied to provide ample headroom. The moonroof has a sliding sunshade that opens with the roof and can be closed to block sunlight. To tilt or slide the moonroof, the driver or front passenger needs only to fully press the ceiling-mounted switch once (instead of pressing and holding it for several seconds). The moonroof fully opens or closes automatically. However, if the operator wishes to only partially open or close the moonroof (such as to achieve partial ventilation), a lighter touch yields fully manual control. The moonroof can also tilt to provide ventilation. An auto-reverse feature is built in, helping to ensure that the moonroof will not forcefully close if someone’s hand or arm is positioned in the path of the glass. If an obstruction is detected, the moonroof mechanism will reopen the moonroof.

The 2012 CR-V features a manual tailgate that can be unlocked with the remote or by pressing a button inside the driver’s door. Twin gas-charged hydraulic struts ease opening the tailgate, and a single pull-down handle is located on the right side. The tailgate has a complete 360-degree gasket for a tight seal against the intrusion of water, dirt and wind noise. In addition, the rear aperture of the CR-V body is specially reinforced to strengthen the tailgate opening, which is the largest opening on the vehicle body. This increased rigidity at this critical location improves ride and handling, as well as interior quietness. The tailgate automatically locks whenever the CR-V is locked.

Windshield Wipers
Positioning the 2012 CR-V’s windshield wipers behind and below the rear edge of the hood line keeps them below the driver’s normal sightline for improved forward visibility. In addition, the wipers are positioned out of the airflow over the hood to reduce turbulence that can contribute to aerodynamic drag and interior noise. For pedestrian safety, the pivots are deformable. (Please see Safety section for more information.) A rear windshield wiper is also included.

Operation of the windshield wipers remains intuitively simple for the 2012 model year. As before, a stalk positioned next to the steering wheel controls the wipers. But on the new CR-V, organization of the controls on the stalk was simplified to make operation simpler and more intuitive. With the new vehicle, pushing the stalk up or down operates the front windshield wipers, and twisting the outside part of the stalk operates the rear windshield wiper.

Multi-Reflector Halogen Headlights
The 2012 CR-V is equipped with multi-reflector halogen headlights for a dynamic and dramatic appearance. In addition, all CR-V models (expanded from just CR-V EX-L previously) have a headlight Auto-Off feature for added convenience. The Auto Off timer function can be customized through the i-MID. CR-V EX-L models finclude Auto On/Off as a premium feature.

The halogen high beams offer a bright and focused light beam that shines significantly stronger and wider than the low beam lights. By operating at a lower voltage, the halogen low beams serve double-duty as the daytime running lights (DRL), which automatically turn on when the ignition is on.

Taillights and Brake Lights
The 2012 CR-V taillight system features incandescent taillights and outboard brake lights, and attention-grabbing LED illumination for the Center High Mount Stop Lamp (CHMSL) that is embedded in the rear spoiler. The CHMSL lens is white with red-illuminating LEDs underneath.

The taillights are reminiscent of previous-generation CR-V taillights, but are now more stylized and three-dimensional appearing. Along with the new body styling, they add an exciting and distinctive appearance to the rear of the new CR-V. Large rectangular backup lights provide bright illumination when backing up.

The complex taillight shape helps the CR-V meet aerodynamic as well as design objectives. The upper part owes its shape to aerodynamics. It is purposely designed to work in concert with the spoiler extending from the roof to better channel the airflow around the rear of the vehicle. At the other end, the lower part broadens significantly toward its base in a unique kink both forward and to the side to give the model its distinctive rear quarter appearance.

Fuel Tank
The CR-V’s fuel tank is located forward of the rear multi-link suspension. Its lightweight polypropylene design offers low weight and good capacity for its size. The composite design allows a generous fuel capacity of 15.3 gallons, identical to that of the previous-generation CR-V. The CR-V also incorporates a returnless fuel supply system that helps reduce vapor generation.

Exterior Colors
An expressive color palette adds drama and personalized style to all 2012 CR-V models. Twilight Blue Metallic, an all-new color, is available on all CR-V models, and sophisticated Glacier White Pearl is exclusively available on CR-V EX and EX-L models. Six CR-V colors return for 2012. All are available on all CR-V models except for Taffeta White, which is exclusive to the CR-V LX.

CR-V Exterior Color Availability

Side Mirrors and Expanded-View Driver’s Mirror
CR-V’s power side mirrors are aerodynamically optimized to reduce wind noise and minimize turbulence. The side mirrors can be manually folded in for greater convenience in tight parking situations. Side mirror housings on the CR-V LX model are black, and those on the CR-V EX and EX-L models are body color, to further compliment the overall vehicle design. The CR-V EX-L model adds heated side mirrors.

New on the 2012 CR-V is an Expanded-View Driver’s Mirror. This mirror uses a flat reflective plane on the inner portion of the mirror closest to the door as required by law, while the outer portion of the mirror uses a convex element to provide a broader field of view. This adds an additional 5.5 degrees of visibility at the outer edge of the mirror’s field of view, which can assist the driver in detecting other vehicles or road conditions that they might not otherwise see in their side mirror.

2012 CR-V Accessories

A line of Honda Genuine Accessories was developed simultaneously with the 2012 CR-V to provide vehicle personalization options for the owner. Like all Honda Genuine Accessories, the CR-V accessories are covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty if installed by the dealer at the time of original vehicle purchase. Available accessories include:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels (except LX)
  • Fog lights (LX)
  • Moonroof visor
  • Body side molding
  • Door edge guard
  • Splash guards
  • Nose mask
  • Wheel locks
  • Engine block heater
  • Remote engine starter
  • Silver-colored roof rails (LX EX)
  • Crossbars for roof rails and various roof attachments

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