question on 2005 CRV

I have a couple of question???
1) What price range should I pay for a new 2005 CRV (Basic)? 2) Is it worth an extra grand to get the AWD? 3) Does the 4 cylinder have enough power to climb the mountains in N.
Calif? 4) What upgades are worth the price? 5) Pound for pound what car in the same price range is a good contender?
Thanks
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A face in the crowd wrote:

Aim for $19,200 plus fees on a base LX front-wheel drive. That's around invoice cost.

I drive a two-wheel drive Element, which is mechanically identical to the CR-V you are considering (except the new CR-V has a five-speed automatic, not a four). I've frequently had the front wheels slip on me from a start when it was wet. If I had four-wheel drive, then the car would send power to the back wheels briefly to give the car traction. For me, that tiny bit of peace of mind wasn't worth the extra money. For you, it may be.

Yes. It's a very flexible and torquey motor, and the five-speed automatic ought to make it even more usable.

Certainly not the decorative stuff. Maybe the roof rack, if you don't mind a little wind noise.

None, really. The Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute twins are horribly unreliable. The Toyota RAV4 is a lame duck and will be replaced in the fall. Hyundai and Kia haven't gotten over their quality issues. The Chevy Equinox has a V6 built in China. The CR-V isn't just the best choice, it's the ONLY one.
-Sonarrat.
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I agree and just bot an '05 SE with AWD. I live in the STEEP hills of Pittsburgh and can tell you the 4 cylinder is VERY peppy even going up the steepest hill.
By the way, I originally went to buy a RAV and also looked at the Escape/Mariner/Tribute. By accident I stumbled into a Honda dealership. I had originally ruled out the CR-V as I didn't like the looks of the base model or the LX. But the Special Edition looks VERY good. Anyway, I found out exactly what was posted here....dollar for dollar there is NO other vehicle with the same quality, economy, size and safety as the CR-V. (The Escape vehicles don't have stability control...another negative for them not mentioned).

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