With their practicality, size, comfort and value, it’s not hard to see why compact crossovers are so loved, but vehicles in this segment tend to be lacking when it comes to style and excitement. Looking to break that stereotype, the all-new 2017 Honda CR-V shows why it is the most popular vehicle in its class with a new level of style, comfort, technology and even performance.
Compact crossovers have evolved immensely since the 1990s, and nowhere is this more evident than when comparing the 2017 Honda CR-V to the original CR-V that debuted for the 1997 model year. Back then, perceived ruggedness was paramount to drawing in hundreds of thousands of buyers each year, but today’s cute utes are generally better in every way. This is definitely true for the 2017 Honda CR-V, which is not only longer, taller and wider than its predecessor but also packs a drivetrain and chassis that makes it more efficient and more enjoyable.
To see how this new crossover stacks up against rivals such as the Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester and the equally new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox, I spent a week driving a fully loaded 2017 Honda CR-V Touring AWD.
2017 Honda CR-V Exterior:
Of all the changes made to the 2017 Honda CR-V, the exterior designers must have had the most difficult job. Not only were they tasked with sculpting a body that would help attract newer and younger buyers, but they had to do so without alienating traditional CUV lovers. At first sight, the doesn’t really look all that different from the outgoing model, but rest assured, this crossover is completely different and its larger proportions are well hidden.
Honda’s styling team has put its best spin yet on the brand’s emerging design language with a surprisingly cohesive mix of design cues that are both aggressive and conservative. The face of the new CR-V is definitely its most polarizing angle with sharp creases in the fascia and hood to go along with the edgy grille, and with this being the top Touring trim level, the full LED headlights added an upscale touch. At the rear, the CR-V keeps the vertical taillights that are a CR-V cue, but added in some horizontal elements that help give the body a wider and more squatted appearance. In stark contrast to its face and rump, the profile is very subdued with arched fenders and a single body crease breaking up an otherwise plain-Jane profile. Perhaps the only design element that didn’t work on the 2017 Honda CR-V is the wacky 18-inch wheel design found on this tester.
2017 Honda CR-V Interior:
Compact crossovers were originally designed for utility and practicality, but the 2017 Honda CR-V Touring shows how luxurious a mainstream CUV can be. Everything from the comfortable and supportive leather seats to the rich-looking wood accents made this interior feel more like an Acura than a Honda. Honda has definitely stepped up its game in the technology department, too, with a large digital gauge display for the driver and an even bigger touch-screen layout for infotainment system. The touch-screen also had a matte finish to it, which helped reduce obvious dust and fingerprints. The CR-V also makes it easy for everyone in the family to charge their electronic devices with a power outlet under the shifter, a power outlet and two USB ports in the center console and a pair of USB charging ports built into the back of the center console.
Speaking of the center console, the configurable tray allows for perfect concealment of your stuff but can also be removed to store just about anything… including a laptop! Everything else in the cabin is exactly what Honda has been perfecting recently with an overall design that is stylish and roomy. On the Touring trim, front occupants are welcomed with heated seats, while the rear seat easily fits three adults. Behind the rear seats, the CR-V can hold 39.2 cubic feet of cargo, and folding the seats flat opens up 75.8 cubic feet of cargo space.
2017 Honda CR-V Powertrain:
The base version of the 2017 Honda CR-V still offers a carryover 2.4-liter inline-four rated at 184 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, but all other trims are powered by the same 1.5-liter turbocharged and direct-injected inline-four found in the new Civic. In addition to offering slightly more power output with 190 horsepower (and 179 lb-ft of torque), it is also more efficient with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway** for this all-wheel drive model. Combined with its 14-gallon fuel tank, the 2017 Honda CR-V has a highway driving range of more than 400 miles.
On the road, the 2017 Honda CR-V actually feels fun to drive with a ride quality closer to the sporty Civic than a traditional compact CUV. That’s not to say the CR-V is sporty, but it is far more entertaining than other crossovers in this segment. The turbocharged engine delivers impressive acceleration, and the newly engineered variable ratio electric power steering is surprisingly responsive without a hint of jerkiness. One of the most notable aspects of driving the new CR-V is how quiet the cabin is at highway speeds, and as icing on the cake, this peppy CR-V also has a towing capacity of 1500 pounds.
2017 Honda CR-V Safety:
Being so new to the market, the 2017 Honda CR-V has yet to be tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but it does come with plenty of advanced safety features. Standard on the CR-V Touring are driving assist features such as Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Keeping Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Monitor.
2017 Honda CR-V Overall:
As much of a fan favorite as the CR-V has become in its segment, the all-new 2017 Honda CR-V should give buyers a whole new reason to love compact crossovers. Best of all, the 2017 Honda CR-V packs quite a value with a starting MSRP of $24,045,* but it’s the CR-V Touring that really shows how far this little CUV has come with an as-tested price of $34,595.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Honda dealership and test drive the all-new 2017 Honda CR-V today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.