The restyled, five-seat CR-V offers its first turbocharged engine for stronger performance.
The top-selling Honda, the CR-V SUV, is a bit bigger for 2017 and offers its first turbocharged engine for stronger performance.
The 2017 CR-V interior has a higher quality look and is quieter than its predecessor, and the all-wheel drive system is improved, too. The restyled, five-seat CR-V also leads other 2017 non-hybrid, non-electric, compact SUVs in fuel economy.
U.S. government ratings for the new CR-V are as high as 28 miles per gallon in city driving and 34 mpg on highways with the new, 190-horsepower, turbo engine. The 2017 CR-V also earned an overall five out of five stars for occupant protection in U.S. government crash tests, but a rating of only three out of five for predicted reliability by Consumer Reports magazine.
The cost has increased slightly, with the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $24,985 for the base, front-wheel drive, 2017 CR-V LX vs. $24,745 for the comparable 2016 CR-V.
The base 2017 LX models — two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive — come with last year’s non-turbo, 184-horsepower four cylinder, while higher trim level CR-Vs in 2017 have the new turbo engine. Turbo models carry retail prices starting at $27,735.
All CR-Vs come with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that optimizes fuel efficiency. But for 2017 the CVT is updated so its operation feels more like that of a traditional automatic transmission. The CVT in the 2017 CR-V also allows three drive modes, including a Sport mode that is programmed for a sportier performance.
CR-V sales in the U.S. so far this year are on pace to surpass last year’s record of 357,335, which made the CR-V the best-selling SUV in the country.
Since its introduction in 1997, the CR-V has been a versatile, smaller-sized SUV. The 2017 CR-V builds on this foundation and adds more upscale materials inside plus new exterior styling and larger-size base wheels for a more polished look.
Standard equipment on every CR-V includes a rearview camera, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, Bluetooth streaming audio, 12-volt power outlets, USB connection, digital speedometer, automatic climate control, six air bags and a center console with sliding armrest.
The test CR-V was a top-of-the-line AWD Touring model with no options and a retail price, including destination charge, of $34,595.
Wearing the largest CR-V tires — 18-inchers — the vehicle provided a comfortable, though firm, ride on roads. In aggressive turns and curves, there was a hint of tippiness to the 5.4-foot-tall vehicle, but the CR-V maintained its composure.
The 1.5-liter, double overhead cam, single-scroll turbo engine generates its peak torque of 179 foot-pounds by the time the engine reaches 2,000 rpm and carries the power through to 5,000 rpm, so this CR-V is quicker than its predecessors.
As a comparison, the carryover, 184-horsepower, 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that’s in the base CR-V produces the nearly same torque — 180 foot-pounds — at a higher 3,900 rpm.
The test CR-V had some turbo lag, but once the engine power came on, it moved forward eagerly.
City mileage was less than the government’s 27-mpg rating, but highway fuel economy was impressive at more than 30 mpg.
Honda improved the steering substantially. The test CR-V responded quickly to driver inputs and conveyed a feeling of tight control, which is better than the steering in most SUVs.
Passengers sit up from the road and have good views, yet getting in and out doesn’t require a big scramble upward. Doors open a full 90 degrees, so they don’t hamper access.
The CR-V added just over an inch in length and width and is taller for 2017. It has more front and rear headroom and 40.4 inches of rear-seat legroom. The back-seat floor is nearly flat, and passengers in the test CR-V could extend and stretch their legs.
The vehicle has more room for carrying stuff, too, as cargo room increased to a maximum 75.8 cubic feet from last year’s 70.9 cubic feet.
Towing capacity remains at 1,500 pounds.