1996 Honda CR-V RD1
The CR-V has endured as a top-selling model from Honda thanks to its ease of service, frugal and reliable powertrain, and spacious cabin. Its small exterior footprint is ideal for those who don't desire a crossover the size of the Queen Mary, but still have an active lifestyle with the need to haul friends, kids, and cargo. Finished in Cypress Green Pearl (G82-P) this recently serviced 1996 model is in good shape cosmetically aside from some light chips, dings, and scuffs associated with normal use. Boasting a mere 80k verified and documented miles, this lovable little runabout is only barely broken in according to brand standards. Affordable, trustworthy, and all too practical to pass up, you see why we never hesitate to call the original RD1 a certified Japanese Classic.
The cabin is designed in typical Honda fashion, with killer ergonomics and tons of electric equipment. This one appears to have been cared for in Japan, and even the OEM mats were retained to keep the carpets protected here stateside. The dash is in good nick and the view of the road ahead is clear and commanding. For safety-conscious passengers, the optional dual front SRS airbag option was checked off on the production line, and should add some additional peace of mind to whoever purchases it. The only cabin upgrade is the Sony audio system, which works like a charm. The same can be said for the electric windows, door locks, and mirrors which all make daily driving a bit more accessible and enjoyable. Functional heat and A/C are great for those planning to utilize this crossover in more varied climates. The seats are trimmed in a soft gray textured cloth. They are comfortable on longer journeys, surprisingly durable, and they lack any major rips, stains, or tears. The headliner and door cards have resisted major abuse over the years as well. That's not to say the cabin is perfect as we did want to mention that the power folding function of the side mirrors has given up the ghost. On the positive side, the vehicle seems to have been cared for overseas, it even has functional keyless entry and the OEM picnic table on hand!
The mechanicals were also a reason for this design's cult like following. In simple terms, the CR-V is an AWD, tall Civic, which makes service a snap. Powered by a robust B20B four-cylinder engine, this peppy little crossover makes for a comfy highway cruiser that feels equally at home puttering around town. As soon as this one arrived to us, it went up on the lift for a fresh oil and filter service. We also chucked in a new 12v battery to supply all the juice needed for ignition for years to come, and a new thermostat was put in to properly manage the cooling system. To keep power and fuel economy in tip-top shape a new engine air filter was installed as was a new fuel filter. The 2.0L feels strong as an ox, and we all know that stateside versions exceed 300k miles with regularity, so you can feel good about hitting the road and putting the powertrain through its paces immediately after purchase. While most Honda automatics, this one included, have a tendency to hunt for gears a touch, this one maintains a decent cruising RPM even at our higher American freeway speeds. The steering is light and on-point, thanks to new inner and outer tie rods on both sides up front, while the brakes feel confident and reassured. The suspension has received a refresh as well, care of new thrust arm bushings, and the rear differential has been serviced with new fluid. To complete the reconditioning we mounted and balanced four brand-new tires at each of the corners. The smooth-riding Falken's quiet the ride down but most importantly will deliver tens of thousands of miles of all-weather grip for years to come.
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB compliant first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.