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Honda CR-V vs. Minivan or large SUV

rickschreiberrickschreiber Posts: 2
edited May 2011 in Honda
Hello. My wife and I have a two year old and an infant and need a new car as we're currently using a small Corolla. Is the cargo space in the 2011 Honday CRV sufficient and roomy enough to easily handle roadtrips/vacations that would include multiple suitcases, strollers, beach chairs/umbrellas, and general gear for kids of that age? It looks roomy but I don't want to buy it and realize that it's too small and that we should have bought the Odyssey or Toyota Sienna. The appeal of the CRV is that it looks roomy, is much cheaper than the minivans and would be easier to drive and park. Thanks for any help offered!


  • randomeonerandomeone Posts: 20
    Obviously hard to know exactly how much cargo room you need - with 3 kids and a dog, we went minivan, when we had 2 kids, we had a station wagon. CRVs are decent and cheapish, but personally I'd taken a wagon any day. Better driving dynamics, better mileage(typically), and longer cargo area, which is usually more relevant than having a taller cargo area.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited May 2011
    Occasional/rare "need" to overload does not justify the additional expense or/and FE.
  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    We have 2 boys, 6 and 2. Used to have 04 Sienna AWD, great car especially with my parents. We just picked up a 07 Highlander a few weeks ago. Was going to get a 2011 Sienna but didn't and here are the reason.
    1) we want to have at least 1 AWD/4WD in the family
    2) the newer style Ody or Sienna just have something we didn't like
    3) the resale on SUV is better

    We used to own a 01 Highlander and we sold it for $500 less then what we paid after 18 months, 15K miles later. Our plan is to drive the HL for a year or 2 and hopefully by then, both Ody and Sienna will work out most of the new design defect. We know for sure the HL will hold resale just like the old one. So we have no trouble getting the used 07 even with 82K miles.

    I will go with CRV in your case, drive it for a year or two and decide you want to keep or move to minivan.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Your "new" '07 Highlander is NOT AWD, not even close. While I wouldn't really recommend the Sienna with its newly adopted F/awd system it is without doubt a much more functional F/awd system vs the one in the HL.

    Your HL uses three fully open, SIMPLE, differentials, front, center, and rear. That configuation will provide an equal level of engine torque to all four wheels ONLY if all four wheels have a relatively EQUAL roadbed traction coefficient.

    One wheel hits a slippery spot and ALL the engine torque "leaks" away out that single path.

    Except for:


    Technology of LAST resort.

    Upon detection of that one wheel, or wheels, slipping the engine will be INSTANTLY dethrottled, FULLY dethrottled, while the brakes begin "hammering" (ABS vibratory "like") the wheel, or wheels, having lost traction. Braking teh slipping wheel(s) in order to sustain engine torque to a high enough level to drive the wheel(s) remaining with some level of traction.

    Most times that will result in your being "dead in the water".

    At some point, MY, the HL got a TC disable switch so owners could at least resort to the old tried and true method of initially getting up and going, unstuck, from a mudhole/rut or slippery inclined surface.

    Lots of wheelspin accompanied by clouds of rubber smoke.

    good luck.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited May 2011
    "...We know for sure the HL will hold resale.."

    First, your '01 had at least a semblance of a F/AWD system. The '01 used a VC, Viscous Clutch, across the center differential that provided a "rubber-bandish" level of "locking" between the front and rear drivelines.

    Your '07 will sustain its resale value UNLESS the upcoming HL model should adopt, as has already the Sienna and RX350, the Venza's newer, more functional, F/awd system
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 142,577
    Your "new" '07 Highlander is NOT AWD, not even close.

    It might not fit your definition.... but, it sure fits the generally accepted terminology for an AWD vehicle..

    Most people that drive them have no problems getting where they are going in inclement weather.. They don't really care about the theoretical..

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  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited May 2011
    "..fits the generally accepted terminology for an AWD..."

    Yes, it does, and that's a real shame, MARKETING wins yet again.

    It's not easy selling a sow's ear as a silk purse but automotive industry marketing has pulled the wool over the general buying public's eyes yet again.

    We don't get a lot of inclement weather around here, at least not much that requires a true "AWD" system. But we do get enough to make note that it is these wannabe "AWD", F/awd systems, that we see helter-skelter scattered along our roads and freeways at those times along with their closely related brotheren, 2WD and FWD vehicles.

    I don't do much snow skiing these days but even back when I did it was easy to note which "AWD" vehicles were functional and which were not.


    It isn't just theory, those TC, TDC, "AWD" disable switches are very, VERY REAL, FACTUAL. Now, why do you suppose one would have the need to disable a perfectly good, functional, AWD system in order to get unstuck in your "inclement" weather...?

    And by-the-by, those wannabe "AWD", F/awd systems, would more likely than otherwise have a substantive level of true "AWD" capability were it not for the wheelspin braking being INSTANTLY accompanied by FULL and COMPLETE engine dethrottling.

    So why not make use of the TC firmware control programming capability TC-i (TDC-i ??) to cut the driver a little "slack" in that department, give the driver free reign with the DBW system for at least a few seconds. The firmware could most certainly detect when and if the driver is being abusive with the system rather that constructive. Undoubtedly the braking system could endure a few seconds of abuse without overheating to the point of potential failures, rotor warping, etc, down the road.

    Oh, sorry, overlooked something rather important.

    Unleashing the DBW system in this situation for a rear based, biased, "AWD", R/awd system, to add a bit of functionality, could be done with relative safety, no real threat to directional control.

    Not so with F/awd.

    F/awd systems MUST be treated much the same as a simple FWD system, regain traction IMMEDIATELY using the brakes and engine dethrottle or risk life and limb to loss of directional control.

    But that still "begs" the question, why have the switch disable the F/awd system entirely...? Why not have a 2 stage switch, initial action disables only engine dethrottling, still putting any potential liability squarely upon the driver.


    But then as long as marketing is able to sell the non-functional system....why bother...?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 142,577
    I drove two different "Real time 4WD" Honda CR-Vs for ten years, total...

    It's as far from a "real" AWD system that you can get.... but, guess what? I never got stuck, I never had an accident, and I never stayed home due to inclement weather.. The extra boost from the occasional rear wheels kicking in, is exactly what's needed, most of the time...

    I had a "real" 4WD Pathfinder for three years in the '90s...drove it in RWD about 99.8% of the time. As far from useless in real-world driving as you can get.

    For most people, the "fake" AWD is a perfect solution to what they need.


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  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    ..."real time 4WD" Honda CR-Vs.."

    "..It's as far from "real" AWD system that you can get.."

    Wrong again.

    The Honda CR-V's real time 4WD is just exactly what it says.

    The CR-V 4WD system uses a hydraulic fluid pumping system mounted inline with the rear driveline. If both the input to the pump assembly and the output are turning at the same speed no hydraulic pressure is produced. Should a differential F/R rotation rate develop the resulting hydraulic fluid pressure will LOCK the rear driveline to the front.

    Like a VC, the level of locking will depend on just how desparate teh F/R rotation rates varies.

    "...I never got stuck.."

    Perfectly understandable.

    Action is somewhat close to the VC Chrysler used in the T&C....

    We have owned 3 T&Cs, a '98, '99, and a 2000. My daughter still drives the 2000. That car's only major short-coming is the lack of good solid braking.

    While unique to the CR-V this systems actually does operate in REAL-TIME.

    It has surprised me over the years that the CR-V 4WD design was not more widely adopted.
  • We just traded in our CR-V for an Odyssey. Similar family circumstances with 2.5 yr old and infant. We found our 06 CR-V just too small. Last year with only 1 kid, the CR-V was packed to the gills for our week trip to the beach. Maybe you guys are ligther packers, but we were going to need roof storage for this year's trip if we kept the CR-V. My wife really loves the power sliding doors on the minivan for kids at this age. Easy for her to pop them open when have a lot of stuff. That's an option not available on any SUV or crossover. Another consideration for us was that we live far from our families, so they always fly in and we often goo on several roadtrips a year to visit. With the CR-V and two kids, we'd have to take two cars everywhere when the grandparents visit. With the van, everyone can fit comfortably on outings. Good luck!
  • Thanks for everyone's suggestions.
  • ardcpardcp Posts: 1
    i drive a subaru tribecca now and love the handling especially in the winter but the cargo and kid space is getting maxed out. my kids love being in a minivan (lots of room for them and their stuff) but i'm not sure i can reasonably drive a fwd minivan in the winter after having awd. Can anyone give me a comparision on the 2 ? i love the idea of the minivan but am concerned that i will hate it after 1 winter (upstate ny so snow and ice)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I like my older minivan better than my older Outback but my Outback is set up better for winter driving up here in the UP so it gets the most use this time of year. Hardly drive it in the summer though.

    I drove a FWD minivan in Anchorage for ~10 years and did fine there. But I had studded tires to get moving from the black ice intersections and didn't have steep driveways to go up. I used my FWD Tercel for ski trips because it was lighter and got up the hills better.

    Here in the UP it's flat so I think I could put Nokians or Blizzaks on the van and mostly do okay. We don't get as much snow as you guys get though, I don't think. Nothing's much fun to drive when 8 inches falls and it starts blowing around.

    Any chance you could keep the Tribeca for a winter or two and see how a van works out?
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,785
    Correct footwear to match the conditions can make a world of difference. Frankly, I think it might be even more important than how power gets to the ground, as tires have a first order impact on braking & steering, and not just getting started. Even on my 2002 Subaru Outback, one of the more capable AWD cars on the road thanks to it’s limited slip rear & electronically controlled center diffy, winter tires completely transformed the way the vehicle drives in bad weather.

    I’ve run winter tires on both our FWD Odyssey and Sienna. While it’s not as confidence inspiring as a good AWD setup, a FWD drive van with traction control and sticky tires with ice optimized tread will get you thru.

    As a NY'er, I share your concern. But think of the cars we drove in college. In the mid 70's I regularly trekked across the Adirondack Park in a '72 Mercury Montego with bias ply snows on the back. We survived....
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
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