2017 Honda CR-V
The Honda senior graduates with honors.
C/D Overall Rating:
Contemporary styling? Check. Engaging driving dynamics? Check. Spacious and practical interior? Check-check. Yes, the CR-V ticks all the boxes for what constitutes an excellent compact crossover—precisely why we named it one of our 10Best Trucks and SUVs for 2017. Add two fuel-efficient powertrains, including the first-ever turbocharged engine in a CR-V, and its faults are few. A report card of its best grades include class-leading cargo storage, upscale interior packaging, and the most advanced active-safety and driver-assist equipment available.
What’s New for 2017?
Completely redesigned and reengineered, the all-new CR-V has more style, more space, and more technology. For the first time, Honda offers it with a turbocharged engine. Further advancements include available adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams, and a driver-attention monitor, among others. Inside, the CR-V is roomier and features upgraded materials such as a soft-touch dashboard and exquisitely stitched seats. Infotainment additions are a (much-needed) dedicated volume knob, available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and optional dual rear-seat USB ports. Combined with sleeker and sharper exterior styling, the CR-V is highly improved for 2017.
Standard Feature Highlights
The EX model is an excellent choice, as it offers upgraded tech and creature comforts. For $2650 more than the base LX, it adds heated side mirrors, automatic high-beams, remote start, smart entry and push-button start, a power sunroof, and more. Other standard features include:
• 190-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-four
• Honda Sensing safety- and driver-assistance equipment
• Heated front seats with 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
• 7.0-inch touchscreen HondaLink infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
We think front-wheel drive is sufficient for most, but those living with harsh winters or who simply must have all-wheel drive can add it for $1300. The top-level Touring trim may be the ultimate CR-V, yet for roughly $6000 less, the EX is one helluva deal. We didn’t even stop in the options aisle on our way to the checkout, as our well-equipped CR-V EX totaled $27,635.
Enter the Turbo
You can have one of two engines but only one transmission, a continuously variable automatic (CVT). The base LX uses the 2.4-liter twin-cam direct-injected inline-four from the Honda Accord, here delivering 184 horsepower and 180 lb-ft, while a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft goes into the EX, EX-L, and Touring models. The latter engine is what we sampled, and we can report that it gives unobtrusive, sturdy service with ample torque in the basement and ground floor as it goes about its quotidian task of moving the CR-V, the curb weight of which Honda puts at 3300 to 3500 pounds depending on the trim and driveline.
Honda’s determination to put some excitement back into its products manifests in the CR-V with excellent chassis dynamics and sharp steering. A stiffer steering column and fluid-filled suspension bushings are said to deliver both better ride compliance and more precise path control. You can rush this car if you need to without everything falling apart and your passengers screaming for relief. It holds a corner with confidence and connects you with a direct line to the pavement. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that one of project leader Takaaki Nagadome’s first jobs at Honda was body engineering for the original NSX.
As in the Civic, the CR-V’s automatic is continuously variable on paper but feels like a conventional step-gear transmission in motion. It “upshifts” at the top of each ratio, the numerical value of which is known only to the software. It could be said that the Honda CVT gives us the best of both worlds: step-gear familiarity combined with continuous variability that is invisible to the driver. And, unlike conventional automatics, there’s virtually no kickdown shock when you leg the accelerator for passing.
Which Honda CR-V Model Is Right for Me?
The Honda CR-V comes in four trims: LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring. The EX trim level is the best choice. For an additional $2,650 over the base model, the EX trim delivers a fuel-efficient turbo four-cylinder engine (a first in the CR-V), the Driver Attention Monitor to alert you if you become drowsy, a suite of driver assistance technologies, and an upscale infotainment center, among many other features.
All-wheel drive is available in any of the trims for $1,300 more. You can add navigation to the EX-L model for $1,000. Here’s a detailed look at each of the Honda CR-V models.
The fully redesigned CR-V starts at $24,045 with the base LX trim. The CR-V LX comes standard with a 2.0-liter 184-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a CVT, front-wheel drive, cloth upholstery, single-zone automatic climate control, a 5-inch display screen, a four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a rearview camera.
The $26,695 EX trim gets you a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, remote start, a proximity key, push-button start, a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, a power moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, road departure mitigation, and automatic high-beam headlights.
Priced at $29,195, the EX-L trim adds leather upholstery, a four-way power-adjustable front-passenger seat, an eight-speaker audio system, HD Radio, and a power liftgate.
The $32,395 Touring trim tops the lineup. With this model, you’ll get all the previous features, plus navigation, a nine-speaker premium audio system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, roof rails, and a hands-free power liftgate.
The 2017 Honda CR-V models for North America are manufactured at Honda plants in East Liberty, Ohio; Greensburg, Indiana; and Alliston, Ontario, Canada, using local and globally sourced parts. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 70 percent of the CR-V is manufactured with parts from North America.
The new CR-V’s three best assets are that it seems rather quiet for this class, showing excellent cabin isolation on our drive; the steering is typically Honda terrific; and the interior is generous enough that some people eyeing larger SUVs might be lured into the CR-V, thereby enjoying the side benefits of better gas mileage and easier garageability. The front-wheel-drive turbo version boasts an EPA rating of 30 mpg combined, and the all-wheel-drive turbo lands at 29 mpg. As with any turbo, much depends on how hard you work it, but drive it like a normal person and you should be rewarded with fuel thriftiness better than average for this class of crossovers. Indeed, neither the Toyota RAV4 nor the Ford Escape comes close to matching the new CR-V 1.5T’s combined EPA rating.