Should You Take the 2006 Honda CR-V Off-Road?

The 2006 Honda CR-V is not suited for off-roading, mainly due to its low ground clearance.
Written by Tiffany Leung
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Jul 01, 2022
The 2006
Honda CR-V
SUV has great handling thanks to its small size, but it falls short when it comes to its off-road capabilities. With a low ground clearance and lack of a V6 engine option, it's better left on paved roads.
If you want to explore in your vehicle, you need a reliable off-roader that’s up for the task. A capable vehicle will help you discover uncharted places and keeps you safe as you tackle extreme terrains. That being said, the hardest part is separating the real off-roaders from the rest.
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, is here to analyze the 2006 Honda CR-V’s off-road capabilities. We’ll look at the key factors essential to an off-road vehicle and alternatives to this SUV.
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Can the 2006 Honda CR-V go off road?

No, it is not recommended to take the 2006 Honda CR-V off-road. The CR-V comes standard with all-wheel drive, but it lacks a V6 engine option to provide the power for handling rough terrains. The low ground clearance also rules out most types of terrains. This isn’t surprising, as this compact SUV is supposed to offer drivers car-like handling for everyday life.
The 2006 Honda CR-V can be found starting at $7,000 used and is great if you need it to get around your hilly neighborhood.

Ground clearance

Ground clearance is one of the most important numbers to look at when choosing an off-road vehicle. It makes or breaks the deal, as a low ground clearance would rule out off-roading completely. The 2006 CR-V’s minimum ground clearance is 8.1 inches, which is less-than-spectacular for handling uneven terrains.
Ideally, the off-road vehicle you choose should have a ground clearance of 8.8 inches or above. The greater the clearance, the bumpier the terrains you can handle without damaging the undercarriage. 
It is to install larger compatible tires and a lift kit to help the CR-V get higher off the ground but should be done by a professional. 


You might think speed is important to off-roading, but the torque is much more important. An off-roading vehicle needs enough turning power to handle tough terrains. This power is especially important when you get stuck in mud or loose gravel. A good off-road vehicle will have a greater low-end torque (torque at lower rpm), which allows for better control.
The 2006 Honda CR-V’s 2.4-liter I-4 DOHC engine produces a maximum torque of 160 lb-ft @ 3,600 RPM. This translates to an underpowered low-end torque, limiting the CR-V’s ability to get out of sticky situations. Some may even say the 2006 CR-V is better off on pavement instead. 


The CR-V comes with 17-inch wheels with 235/65R17 103H all-season tires
If off-roading is in the books, we recommend getting
all-terrain tires
, or A/T tires, to improve performance. They are designed to take on off-roading terrains and handle smoothly paved roads just as well. A/T tires would give the 2006 Honda CR-V better control and traction in different road conditions. However, these tires tend to wear out sooner than standard tires and will require a placement more often. This would also increase the overall cost of ownership for a 2006 Honda CR-V. 


The 2006 CR-V comes standard with front-wheel drive, but there is an all-wheel-drive option for each trim. Having an all-wheel-drive would be more advantageous for unexpected road conditions, such as slippery and loose gravel roads.
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The vehicle’s approach angle and departure angle limit what obstacles it can handle, such as boulders and steep hills.
  • Approach angle: the maximum angle of a ramp at which the vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: the maximum angle of a ramp at which the vehicle can descend without damage
Thanks to its small size, the 2006 CR-V has approach and departure angles of 29 and 24 degrees respectively. However, the ideal angles are 28 degrees and above. A lift kit and larger tires compatible with the CR-V can also be installed to improve the angles.
If you choose to go this route, always have it done by a professional to ensure the installation is correct.

Off-road rating: Rough and ready

We’ve rated the Honda CR-V using
DIRT rating system, which stands for: 
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited for highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions under dire circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles capable of handling casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles that can tackle a range of terrain and road conditions
After looking at the key features, the 2006 CR-V earns a D rating. Even with all-wheel drive and a decent approach angle, the CR-V’s low ground clearance severely restricts the terrains it is suitable for. It is best to stay on tame roads and highways with this SUV.

The best off-road alternatives to the Honda CR-V

If you really want a compact SUV for some serious off-roading, the 2006 CR-V may not be the best choice. 
Here are the best alternatives to the Honda CR-V:  
Best comparable alternative
2006 Subaru Forester
Powered by a 2.5L H4 SOHC engine that produces 173 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. The Forester is comparable to the Highlander down to Its ground clearance of 8.1 inches.
Best affordable alternative
2006 Toyota RAV-4
This alternative is one of the most affordable compact SUVs. It can be powered by a 3.5L V6 DOHC engine that produces 269hp and 246 lb-ft of torque at 4,700 pm. However, it has an even lower ground clearance of 7.5 inches.

How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

The most exciting part of getting an off-roader is opening the option for adventures—whether through the sand dunes or scaling boulders. However, off-road vehicles are often more expensive to insure, leading to a higher cost of ownership than a regular sedan.
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