Edmunds Senior Writer Mark Takahashi does a walk-around of the 2017 Honda CR-V. Is the completely redesigned compact SUV as good as it used to be and a class leader? Mark takes a look at everything from its aggressive, new styling to how it does on the road.
MARK TAKAHASHI: Hey everybody. We're here with the 2017 Honda CRV. It's all new this year, completely redesigned from the ground up, the question is, is it as good as it used to be? Is it a class leader? There's only one way to find out for sure, let's check it out. So obviously the big change for 2017 is styling. CRV in the last generation was a little vanilla, but it still had a wide appeal. This time around they went way more aggressive and I'm kind of on the fence. There's a lot of shapes going on here. I mean you've got these dished out bevels here, and then a flat hood, and it goes up in the other side, you have these criss crossing chrome bits. And it's kind of all over the place on their own, but together they actually kind of work. Now coming around the side, it's pretty well scooped out, it's got some contours, it's not trying too hard. The one bummer though, this door. It's really, really low down there. So if you park next to a high curb, you're probably going to scrape, not so good. So the CRV starts right around $25,000 for the bottom trim. That comes at the 2.4 liter four cylinder that makes 180 horsepower. Every other trim gets this, the 1.5 liter turbo. This gets under 90 horsepower, which doesn't seem like a lot, but it actually gets much better fuel economy. It's rated at 30 MPG combined, 34 on the highway, and out of one tank we actually got 38.9. That's astounding out of a mini SUV like this. It's also our engine of choice because it actually has quite a bit of punch. There's one way to find out though, let's take it for a drive. So this CRV has the 1.5 liter turbocharged engine. And it's made into a CVT, which stands for continuously variable transmissions. And this is actually really responsive off the line. Once I'm at a stop and I hit the throttle there's no hesitation. It just kind of punches right off the line if you give it enough pedal. Otherwise if you give it a nice smooth input, it gives you a nice smooth response. As far as handling goes with the CRV, Mazda kind of has the market cornered in this class right now with their level of athleticism and handling and even for SUVs. But this one isn't bad. It instills confidence. I feel like if someone were to cut me off and I had to take evasive maneuvers, I would have all the confidence in the world that I'd be able to get through it with this car. Now these all come with a standard rear view camera as well. The mirror is pretty wide so I get a good view on both sides. Rear visibility, pretty decent, even with that small window. Lane departure warning, It's actually pretty decent. I don't feel it trying to pull me one way or the other or sending up false positives. Frontal collision warning, a lot of times it's way too sensitive, especially here in LA where everybody is pretty much on everybody else's bumper, or else all of LA is just going to swoop into that open space. It has a tendency of throwing up these false positives, and after a while it can get really aggravating, and lead to people turning those systems off. And at that point, what's the sense of actually having it if people aren't using it? OK so I've been knocking Honda's infotainment system. But one thing I can't knock it for is the inclusion of Apple Car playing Android Auto. I've said it before in a lot of other reviews, I'm almost totally reliant on it now. It's really good it gives you the familiar interface that's on your phone pretty much. You've got pinch to zoom with the map. But the best thing for me is actually the voice to text. I get a lot of texts. I hate talking on the phone actually. I'd rather have a record because just in case I forget something, I can look back on it. So yeah using the voice to text is excellent, really truly. The one thing we knocked the previous generation's CRV for was some substandard interior materials. They were a little cheap, a little plasticky, but that seems to be solved completely with this redesign. Materials are really quite nice. And from a distance they actually look borderline premium. You get a little closer and you realize OK some of it's a little simulated. Some of it's not as impeccable as let's say a luxury car, but it certainly exceeds expectations for this class. Even this kind of simulated matte wood trim is pretty nice. Besides that, the seats are really comfortable. And with the EXL you get leather, leather wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, and upholstery. There's enough support for me. I'm an average sized guy. Some of our staff have complained that maybe there's a lack of thigh support, but really truly that's one of those reasons why you want to spend more time in a test drive. One thing we also knocked the previous generation for was the touch screen. Now there are still some issues here and there with this touch screen, but our biggest complaint has been addressed, they put in a volume knob. What a novelty. But really truly it's a huge improvement just because of that. The last version with the slider was terrible. There are some virtual buttons here. They're a little bit small, so using them when you're driving you do kind of have to glance down and touch them like that. The response of the system is decent. It's a little bit of a pause but ton of functionality here. And it's a fairly crisp display. One thing that Honda has always gone high marks for with the CRV though is its smart use of interior storage. Yes, you get this sliding armrest, and it pivots up, and inside you have this sliding tray. It's also very handy, and it's rubberized so your phone won't slide around, and it removes just like that. And this bin here is really deep. Another plus, two USB ports. You also have another power outlet right here in the bottom of the dash. Cup holders, they're pretty decent in size. And the door pockets, they're pretty deep, they're pretty long, so you can get at least two water bottles in there. One thing that Honda did years ago with the Odyssey was this cool, convex conversation mirror, so you can keep tabs on your kids back there before they get out of hand. I will turn this car around Jimmy, knock it off. This is why I don't have kids actually. So close it, tap it again, it becomes a sunglass holder, double duty. I always like that, I always thought it was a smart feature, so good for you Honda. So here in the backseat of the CRV there's a ton of room. I'm sitting behind where my seat was situated as the driver. And I've got a wealth of leg room here. On top of that, this seat here, well actually all the seats back here, recline just a few angles here or there, and that actually makes a pretty big difference on a long road trip. One thing that I noticed is the materials quality back here. And I'm not knocking it, I'm saying it's actually smart. Hard plastic, or it's kind of soft, maybe leather upfront. That makes perfect sense to me, especially if you have little Jimmy back here with his juice box and some crayons. This is going to be way easier clean off, way more durable. Right here in the center console, two USB ports so everyone can keep their devices charged. Yeah so otherwise, there's plenty of headroom for me as well. So obviously one of the most important things about a crossover SUV like this is cargo capacity. And the CRV does well with a power adjustable lift gate, which is really cool if you have a short overhang. You've just going to bring it down and hold the button down and it's set there so it won't go past that point anymore. And it's easy to readjust too. So the CRV gets high marks just for the cargo capacity alone. It's almost 76 cubic feet. That's rivaling some of the mid-size SUVs. On top of that, there are even more smart features. So you have this load flat floor here, and that's always nice when you have big bulky items. But if you just have something back there, you get another inch and half or so by dropping it down there. Honestly I don't see that much usefulness for that. I'd rather have it flat the whole time. But one thing I really do love is these levers here not only will unlatch the rear seats, but they'll fold them all the way flat so you don't have to reach in further and push them down. You also have this cargo cover to keep everything secure and out of sight. This certainly handles everything that you'd expect from an SUV this size or larger. So those are our thoughts on the 2017 Honda CRV. It is definitely at the top of the class. But honestly, I'm still partial to the Mazda CX 5. It doesn't have the cargo capacity, it doesn't have as many smart little cubbies and stuff as the CRV, but man does it drive nice, and I love that infotainment system as well. For more information on the CRV, and all of its competitors int he compact SUV class, head over to edmunds.com. And check out our YouTube channel as well.
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The 2017 Honda CR-V continues the tradition of quality, functionality, roominess and value that has established the model as a class leader in hot compact SUVs since its introduction in 1995. Redesigned for this model year, the latest CR-V adds a host of new features that are sure to be appreciated by shoppers looking for comfort, convenience and the latest technology in their next crossover.
Still built on the same platform as the Honda Civic, the new CR-V has a longer wheelbase for improved ride quality, while the updated exterior features more muscular fenders, aggressive front-end styling and Honda's first automatic foot-activated tailgate. Inside, the model's reputation for spaciousness is maintained, with plenty of room for all your stuff in the cargo area and more legroom than ever for rear-seat passengers.
One of the biggest changes for 2017 is the addition of the CR-V's first turbocharged engine, a 1.5-liter four-cylinder powerplant rated at 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque that is standard on EX and higher trim levels. A criticism of past CR-Vs was that peak power didn't arrive until high up in the rev range, an issue that is capably addressed by the turbo, which reaches maximum torque at a low 2,000 rpm.
The base LX model will still be powered by a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. Both engines come mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission, and buyers have the choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive on all trim levels.
Never known for particularly sporty handling, the new CR-V makes improvements in that department with beefed-up suspension tuning, which reduces body roll in the corners, and variable-ratio electric power steering for quicker turn-in and more positive feel. And while perhaps not ideally suited for rigorous off-roading, the updated CR-V boasts increased ground clearance compared to the outgoing model.
The EPA has not yet released fuel-economy figures for the 2017 CR-V, but the 2016 model achieved a rating of 29 mpg combined (26 city/32 highway). Honda says it expects the new CR-V, with its lighter weight and new powerplant, to garner the best EPA fuel-economy ratings in its class.
The base LX model CR-V is already well equipped with enhanced interior materials and a variety of comfort and convenience features. EX and higher trim levels add more premium interior touches, an upgraded infotainment system and the standard Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety systems.
Let Edmunds help find the perfect 2017 Honda CR-V to meet your needs.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.