Been driving this for a few days now, and have noticed the following.
Steering is light and fairly responsive.
AC is pretty cold.
Interior quality fairly good (although the layout is poor, as I will soon describe).
Brakes perform well, and never have trouble slowing up the car.
The 2.4 litre 4 cylinder engine is obviously underpowered. This car has always been serviced by a Honda dealer, so neglect is not at fault. Putting your foot right to the floor is just sad. Poor torque at low engine rpm is bad in most cars, but an SUV? This is a performance characteristic that an SUV really needs. And with no low range gear set available, tasks like putting a boat in at a boat ramp are difficult and scary. I felt safer doing this in my 1990 Lada Niva. The problem of poor low rpm performance isn't helped by the slow speed at which the engine gathers revs, making pulling out into traffic potentially dangerous. This car really needs a 6 cyl engine. I occasionally drive a 1991 Mitsubishi Pajero, which has LOTS more go off the line than the CR-V.
Once revs get high - they skyrocket! Another characteristic that you just don't want in this kind of car. In case this poor performance wasn't enough, the engine is pretty noisy for a car of this age. Noticeably louder than our 2000 Toyota Camry.
The car seems reluctant to change up gears, and likes to hold onto them until fairly high rpm, even when little throttle is given. Yet another characteristic that might be alright in something sportier like a Civic, but not an SUV. It just makes the engine sound strained, and makes everyone around you think you're an idiot flooring your car. When the car does change gears, it's just not as smooth as a modern Honda should be. You actually get thrown forwards in your seat quite a bit sometimes.
I dislike the styling of the exterior - it is not a car that I feel like much of a man driving.
The interior seems poorly laid out in my opinion. A gear stick on the dash, and handbrake also on the dash area was a great idea for cars that offered a bench seat, but in the CR-V, you just get some crappy, useless table thing. Why...
The air conditioning knobs are needlessly far from the stereo, and controls for tail gate release and sun roof operation require the driver to reach down to the door.
With only 5 seats (which are too hard and become uncomfortable after trips of just 30 minutes), limited boot space, and no offroad ability, I can't for the life of me see why someone would buy a CR-V over a Ford Falcon.
In fact, I can't see much at all whilst driving, because the pillars towards the vehicles rear are too thick. I was shocked at the poor vision when I first got into the car.
It's hard to believe that Honda have made a car that I find less satisfying to drive than a 20 year old Mitsubishi Pajero or Lada Niva, but they have. Expected much more.