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Every now and then, a car comes along with a quirky feature that begs for attention. In the early ’80s, Toyota released a van featuring a shoebox-sized refrigerator. In 2020, Jeep included a hot-dog roller in its camping-inspired Gladiator Top Dog. And in 2014, Honda added an onboard vacuum cleaner to the Odyssey minivan. The Japanese automaker is no stranger to outfitting its vehicles with unique accessories. Upon its 1997 debut, the Honda CR-V touted a feature that invited passengers to feast together: a folding picnic table.

The Honda CR-V was perfect for picnics and card games

A red 2002 Honda CR-V with its picnic table
A 2002 Honda CR-V and its picnic table | American Honda Motor Co., Inc

If you enjoy picnicking by the lake or putting out a spread at your tailgate party, look for a used 1997 to 2006 Honda CR-V.

With its model name meaning a “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle,” the first-gen CR-V included a fold-out picnic table that doubled as the rear cargo compartment floor. Under the removable table was a plastic storage bin for stowing wet or dry personal belongings. While the table consisted of flimsy plastic and was not very sturdy, it was a unique accessory that got the industry buzzing. 

The quirky feature resulted from the auto industry not knowing what to expect from the SUV segment. In addition to the picnic table, the small SUV included a rear-mounted spare tire, standard stick shift, and steel wheels — features no longer seen on today’s SUVs

As a pioneer in the compact SUV segment, the CR-V was one of the first crossovers available. Its meager 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine made only 126 hp and took 11.3 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph. In comparison, the 2023 Honda CR-V packs a 1.5-liter turbo-four producing 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque. And the Sport Hybrid trim harnesses 204 hp.

Despite no longer offering a table, the Honda CR-V has become one of the most popular SUVs. Since its 1997 launch, the CR-V has racked up impressive sales of nearly six million units. According to Honda, it “has been the best-selling Honda vehicle every year since 2017.”

Compared to a sedan, the popular CR-V crossover offers more room for passengers and cargo, with unsurpassed interior cabin comfort. This best-seller also has a high satisfaction rating from owners.

Now in its sixth generation, “The new CR-V looks more refined and polished than any that came before. It also looks more sophisticated than most compact SUVs,” Kelley Blue Book reports. KBB says that with a rugged new design, the new CR-V provides “a serious alternative to midsize vehicles and even low-end luxury cars.”

The Honda CR-V needs a throwback anniversary edition that revives the picnic table

A black 2001 Honda CR-V parked outside a colonial-style house
2001 Honda CR-V | American Honda Motor Co., Inc

This year, the Japanese automaker is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and rumors have swirled about the possible unveiling of a successor to the iconic Honda S2000 sports car. However, the company might have other plans to celebrate this milestone.

Meanwhile, the Honda CR-V is closing in on three decades of automotive dominance, and we hope a 30th-anniversary edition is in the works. How cool would it be if Honda brought back the folding picnic table? Families and nostalgia buffs would cheer in unison.


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