The Honda CR-V is one the most popular models of Honda ever since the its introduction in the Philippine market. The follow-up came when Honda launched the second generation CR-V in 2002, powered by the new K-series platform which Honda touted as a more fuel efficient and environment friendly engine.

The first iteration of the 2nd generation CR-V was a bit controversial as it was marred by a series of complaints from competing manufacturers of being unfairly classified. But it was more of Honda doing its homework and smartly reconfigured the CR-V to accommodate an extra third row so that it can have a price advantage of being sold under one million pesos. Unfortunately, the ride was terrible.

In March of 2005, Honda updated their CR-V in-line with their global look featuring a restyled front end featuring a new headlamp and grill and new 16-inch alloys . New interior features included a new instrument cluster, new radio, leather seats, and many others which will be evaluated in the latter part of this article. The main feature of the update was the new 2.4-liter engine which is also a member of the K-series engine family. This was Honda's finite answer to Nissan's 2.5-liter X-trail. A different set of coils and dampers were also outfitted to this version of the CR-V because it didn't have to seat the magic 10 any longer. All-in-all it was almost a new model in itself.

Being the main highlight of the model change, the engine is indeed a step ahead in terms of performance. A livelier throttle response thanks to the new drive-by-wire system exclusive to the 2.4-liter variant plus a good amount of toque all throughout the rev range on normal driving conditions. When driven really hard, the transmission seems to be a burden to the engine which in this reviewer's opinion could use better matched gear ratios to properly utilize the power output of the engine. Shift throw is surprisingly short but feel is not as precise with cable type shifter linkage. On idle, the engine is super smooth as if turned off, which is a sign of a good engine with excellent NVH insulators.

Outside, the major noticeable changes is the updated front end featuring a new grill giving extra bling points for those into chrome, dual bulb headlamps similar to that of European marques taking it a step up its class, a new front bumper with integrated foglamps and faux skid plate ornament to make for a rugged look. The rear end features a new set of tail lamps and a tire cover decal which screams 4WD and 2.4 i-VTEC. New uprated 16-inch wheels also added for some aesthetic factor and provides for a wider track with the wider tires, as well as to accommodate bigger brakes which is standard for both 2-liter and 2.4-liter variants. More chrome for the door handles.

Inside, a new EL instrument cluster which displays a fuel mileage meter in addition to the digital odometer. New sport contoured leather wrapped seats provide a good feel for spirited driving moments. The dash-mounted parking brake lever is neatly mounted to allow for easy operation versus a floor mounted one. The center tray provides good space for a mobile phone, PDA and two useful cupholders. A new 2-DIN 6-CD MP3 capable radio is a welcome addition for in-car entertainment, sound quality of the radio is also noteworthy providing good rhythm. Overall, the interior is neatly organized with a sufficient amount of storage compartments for just about everything for your daily commute. Also exclusive to the 2.4 variant is a seat undertray for discreetly keeping valuables.

Safety wise, standard equipment includes dual SRS airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist for those moment when you really to slow down and maneuver your car away from an accident. For security, an immobilizer and keyless entry system, and alarm with a remote integrated into the wave key makes sure your car is still as you parked it.

One week with the CR-V was indeed a comfortable runabout around the city, it does what its supposed to do. A raised 5-door wagon which reaches grounds higher than your normal car could go and brave roads which you normally wouldn't drive your precious sedan on. The suspension works pretty well in sync with the responsive steering system and tires, and it corners pretty well for something of its class for those emergency situations where you really have to drive like you stole it. The brakes had a good feel and provided good stopping power. The instrumentation is easy on the eyes in daytime and night time driving conditions. Bottom line, its pricetag of Php1.240M gives you a practical all-in-one vehicle with nothing more and nothing less.