In just 20 years, the Honda CR-V has gone from newcomer to automotive staple in the U.S. This year through September, it’s outselling another icon, the Honda Accord.
With the announcement of the redesigned 2017 Honda CR-V, the magic that emanated around the Civic launch was felt. It’s clear the top-level Civics can merit their lofty price tags. Can the staple CR-V do the same?
This is, in fact, a new CR-V. The overall shape appears largely the same as before, with front and rear ends that seem a little more curved. This, despite, the new SUV being slightly larger than the outgoing model. For 2017, the CR-V now carries either 17 or 18-inch wheels, and it sounds like the base LX has finally banished the unadorned steel wheels that told everyone you bought the least-expensive CR-V. As with most other Hondas, the top Touring grade gets new jewel-eye LED headlights as standard. It’s clear the 2017 CR-V is gunning after a more upmarket clientele, too.
It’s inside where Honda appears to have stepped up their game with the CR-V. Like redesigned 2016 Civic, Honda is punching above its class with the new CR-V. The interior design has a decidedly more European theme to it, especially on the Touring’s boldly stitched leather front seats. Honda also says the CR-V’s growth has also yielded best-in-class rear legroom and leading overall interior space. For the record, the CR-V was already one of the larger “compact” crossovers on the market. New touches available include heated front and rear seats and a power liftgate that can be activated with the wave of a foot – no hands!
The company has also listened to drivers and reinstated a volume knob on the 7-inch touch-screen display, correcting a significant source of irritation in most current Honda products. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Garmin navigation are still on offer.
The Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance technologies was introduced on the last CR-V, but Honda has now added low-speed follow to the adaptive cruise control – meaning the system won’t automatically shut off when you get into stop-and-go traffic. Additionally, the 2017 CR-V will get Honda Sensing as standard on all but the base model, and Honda says 75 percent of new CR-Vs will feature the technology. That means the CR-V may have the widest availability of these crash mitigation and prevention systems of any mainstream car right now. Newly available systems also include a blind spot monitor, automatic high-beam assist and a rear cross-traffic monitor.
Another significant change for 2017 is that most CR-Vs will be powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder for the first time. This 190-horsepower engine will be standard on every model but the LX, which retains a 2.4-liter four-cylinder without a turbo. All come with standard front-wheel drive, though all-wheel drive will undoubtedly be a common option.
Prices haven’t been announced yet, but count on most CR-Vs to cover the $25,000 to $35,000 range. The slightly larger, slightly more refined and slightly more efficient CR-V should be a winner when it goes on sale at the end of the year.
We’ll know more after our first drive.