Honda Shows Off All-New, Turbocharged 2017 CR-V
Will America’s Most Popular SUV Retain its Crown?
The 2017 Honda CR-V was revealed online this morning, giving us a pixel-bound glimpse of the next generation of Honda’s most popular crossover. Key updates to the CR-V include a new turbocharged powertrain, adaptive safety features, and some styling changes.
Since it’s the current SUV sales champion (and a respectable choice for those shopping for a spacious, efficient errand runner or family vehicle), Honda didn’t see much need to revolutionize the CR-V. That’s why it still maintains the 2016 version’s overall proportions and general shape. The vertical D-pillar taillamps are still with us, giving the CR-V a family tie that goes all the way back to the very first compact Honda crossover. However, aside from the proportions, the CR-V’s styling is updated significantly all around.
The new front end graphic recalls the Honda Fit, with a narrow strip of chrome residing above a broad grille opening, flanked by narrow, somewhat angry headlamps. The sculpted front hood and fenders lead into fairly clean bodysides, giving the CR-V a handsome, if plain, side profile. Around back, the aforementioned vertical taillamps get wider at their base than the previous CR-V, wrapping around toward the side glass. That rear-quarter view also looks suspiciously Fit-like, a strange development since the subcompact hatchback’s crossover sibling is the HR-V, not the CR-V.
We’re a bit surprised there’s not more of the handsome Civic sedan in the CR-V’s styling DNA, but on the whole, the new crossover is inoffensive and handsome. We especially like the top-spec model’s three-split-spoke alloy wheels, which remind us of sportbike wheels or throwing stars.
Under the hood resides one of two engines, the first time a U.S.-market CR-V has ever been offered with an optional powertrain. In addition to the LX-only 2.4L I-4, which is likely a carryover engine from the 185hp unit found in the outgoing SUV, higher-trim CR-Vs will receive a 1.5L turbocharged I-4 producing 190 hp. This engine is donated from the Civic sedan, where it makes 174 hp and 162 lb-ft, so Honda engineers clearly massaged the mill somewhat to give the CR-V better numbers.
Both engines will be mated exclusively to a CVT, and the company claims the new SUV’s downsized turbo four and updated transmission will yield class-leading fuel efficiency. If that’s the case, we expect at least 29 combined mpg from the 2017 CR-V, with a highway fuel economy rating of around 35 mpg. Helping the engine and transmission with the task are active grille shutters (a Honda first), aerodynamically sculpted styling, and sleeker wheels that slice through the air.
The interior has been updated as well, with conservative styling and improved materials throughout. An available 7-inch touchscreen features an Android operating system and navigation optimized by Garmin, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Between the gauges rests a color TFT “driver information interface,” while remote engine start, dual-zone climate controls, and heated front and rear seats are newly available on the 2017 Honda CR-V. Space has been increased slightly as well, thanks to the broadened wheelbase. Honda claims segment-best overall interior room and class-leading rear legroom.
In addition, the company’s active safety suite, called Honda Sensing, will be standard on EX trim levels and above, bringing the features to about 75 percent of all CR-V buyers. Automatic collision mitigation braking, forward collision monitoring, lane monitoring, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring come with Honda Sensing, giving even more drivers these kinds of adaptive safety features. Honda expects perfect scores on all industry crash tests, as well.
The 2017 CR-V will be produced at three North American plants, including East Liberty, Ohio; Alliston, Ontario; and Greensburg, Indiana. Its engine and transmission will likewise be built in North America.
Most of the CR-V’s new components have already been tried and tested in other Honda vehicles, so we don’t expect any surprises from the 2017 SUV. Instead, we predict it will maintain its reputation for reasonable value, good efficiency, solid reliability, and practicality, with a small dose of fun added in. Families, young singles, empty-nesters, and teen drivers will find much to like in the CR-V, thanks to its broad, inoffensive appeal.