Home > Good Stuff, Life > My Honda CRV — “Big Red”– reaches a milestone

My Honda CRV — “Big Red”– reaches a milestone

goodstuff1If you’ve ever bought a new car, you’ve probably heard the warning to never buy a model in the first year it’s made. It’s better to wait a couple years for the manufacturer to work the kinks out. Never one to follow the advice of others, I ignored the naysayers.

In 1997, Honda came out with the CRV in response to Toyota’s RAV4, in the “mini-SUV” category. I had test-driven the RAV4 but when I saw a little paper model of the CRV, I knew it was the car for me. I didn’t care that it had just come out. I HAD TO HAVE THAT CAR!!!

BigRedApparently, so did a bunch of other people. The waiting list put us out about 6 months if we wanted the green one we liked. But the dealer called a few weeks later and said, “We have a red one coming in. Do you want it?” Screw the waiting list — we jumped on it.

Honda’s idea for this car was to keep it simple. Unlike the RAV, the CRV was more of a car than a truck. Built on an Accord chassis with a Civic engine, the first year model had only one customization option: you could get either a CD-player or a tape-player. Remember, this was 1997. We went with the tape player since we had more tapes than CDs at the time. The interior was cloth and the transmission could only be automatic, powering the Real-Time All-Wheel Drive. Creating a simple model kept the cost down to appeal to the compact SUV consumers. 

The CRV weighs little more than a standard compact car, allowing for decent gas mileage (about 25 mpg/hwy), but the drawback to the lack of weight is less reliable handling in the rain especially. But it climbed like a cat in snowshoes over the wintry New England roads. That car could go anywhere. 

In 2003, after a year of vagabonding around New England, I packed up everything I owned, including a kayak, 2 bikes, many plastic totes full of my life’s treasures, and Murphy, my black lab, and drove from Maine to Florida to begin a new life. Big Red was mine, free and clear, all my bills were paid off, and my car was the closest thing I could call a home. Florida promised Red a garage over her head and relatively easy driving free of road salt in hopes of retarding the spread of rust on her underbelly. Under these conditions, I figured I could add a few more miles to her 116,000-mile odometer.  


I had hoped to snap this picture at exactly 222,222....

Indeed. Now, 6 years and only a few replacement parts later (I learned why you don’t buy the first year model when I went to replace the CV-joint last year — Honda changed the part the second year and didn’t authorize any after-market manufacturers to make the original part so I had to get a “new” one from a salvage yard), Big Red is still running like a charm. Regular oil changes and tire rotations have her humming along like new. Heck, I’ve only had to replace one tail light bulb! She just passed 222,000 miles and I recently read about a Honda “Million Mile Club”. Apparently, it’s not unusual for Hondas to be able to reach that milestone.

Hmmm…. What do you think, Big Red? You up for it?

Categories: Good Stuff, Life
  1. July 11, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    And think of the money you’ve saved by not “trading up”. The number one priority for me in a car is reliability. Sounds like you got that.

  2. July 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I love this car. If it were possible, I would never buy another. The 500-ish dollars I have to put into it each year is barely more than the monthly payment on a new car. Sure, I’d love to help out the car industry but if I did, I’d big a bigger fool than those who are currently running U.S. auto manufacturing!

  3. July 22, 2009 at 10:25 am

    At the time the CRV came out my friend was looking around for a new car. We visited had a look at the RAV4 first. He had to pay extra, extra to get the CD option, alloy wheels, and nicer body kit. Oh well… next it was the CRV, it seemed like those extras were built in – no need to request more customization.
    Anyways, he went with it. I would’ve done the same too.
    Generally I find Honda cars to be of great build, yet when driving the CRV I somehow feel they cut some corners and had it built lighter.

    Bob Black,
    dubai car hire

  4. Rick
    July 31, 2009 at 6:35 am

    I had a red 1987 Civic Si… LOVED IT! I am picking up a red 2009 CRV EX tomorrow. I live near Detroit, but there is nothing quite like a Honda.

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