The completely redesigned 2017 Honda CR-V could easily have been a case of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." After all, the outgoing CR-V was still selling at a class-leading clip, so there was no pressing reason to change course. We would have understood if Honda made some superficial design tweaks and called it a day.
But instead we have the 2017 CR-V, a redo from the ground up that decisively parts ways with its competent but conservative predecessor. The styling has gone from anonymous to awesome, led by an aggressive new front fascia, reshaped rear windows and sculpted haunches that convey a surprising muscularity. For all trims except the base LX, that's backed up under the hood by Honda's excellent 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, first seen in the Civic and a natural fit in the CR-V given its ample low-end torque and fuel-sipping ways — up to 34 mpg highway, according to the EPA.
Inside, the CR-V again follows the latest Civic's lead with a modernized dashboard, a digitally enhanced instrument cluster and an updated touchscreen that thankfully includes a volume knob. There's also even more rear legroom than before — not that anyone was clamoring for it — and an exceptional 75.8 cubic feet of maximum cargo space that positions the "compact" CR-V as a legitimate alternative to midsize SUVs.
The 2017 Honda CR-V further benefits from thoroughly overhauled underpinnings that reduce body roll in corners without compromising the historically compliant ride. The wheelbase is longer, the front and rear tracks are wider, and there's even an extra 1.5 inches of ground clearance for those who found that the previous CR-V scraped its stomach too often in light-duty off-roading. Add it all up and you've got a strong contender for best-in-class honors. The CR-V has long been a champ in the sales and sensibility columns, but now it's poised to be a winner on the merits, too.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Honda CR-V is offered in four trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. The LX isn't exactly bare-bones, but its less powerful engine, 5-inch display screen and lack of a sunroof mark it as the entry-level model. Step up to the EX and you get a standard sunroof plus a 7-inch touchscreen, a power driver seat and a more powerful, turbocharged engine. The EX-L tacks on items such as leather, premium audio and a power liftgate, while the Touring goes all-in with LED headlights, a subwoofer and more.
Opt for the base LX and you'll get a decent roster of equipment, including a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (184 horsepower, 180 pound-feet of torque), an electronic parking brake, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, automatic climate control, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 5-inch color LCD screen (not a touchscreen), and a four-speaker audio system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Honda's various advanced safety technologies are not offered on the LX.
The EX ups the ante with a standard 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (190 hp, 179 lb-ft), remote ignition, 18-inch wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, body-color door handles and spoiler, rear privacy glass, a retractable cargo cover, keyless entry and start, an upgraded driver information center, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver seat, heated front seats, a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Audio, satellite radio, an upgraded rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, numerous advanced safety features (automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and intervention, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking) and second-row USB charging ports.
The EX-L's claims to fame include a programmable-height power liftgate, driver-seat memory settings, leather upholstery, a power passenger seat (though it still lacks height adjustment), a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an eight-speaker audio system with HD radio. A navigation system is optional on the EX-L but not on the lesser trims.
The top-of-the-line Touring boasts LED headlights, roof rails, dual chrome exhaust tips, automatic wipers, hands-free functionality for the power liftgate, ambient interior lighting, the navigation system and a subwoofer for the audio system.Aside from the EX-L's optional navigation system, there are no factory options for the 2017 CR-V, so the only question is which trim level seems right to you.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
child safety seat accomodation
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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