By on October 13, 2016

2017 Honda CR-V

Honda had to play it safe while redesigning its juggernaut compact crossover, as it didn’t want a repeat of the 2012 Civic fiasco.

Now that the wraps are officially off the fifth generation of the brand’s second-best selling model, we can see that it didn’t suffer that fate. The 2017 CR-V sports updated looks, boosted dimensions, an upscale interior, and— for the first time —a turbocharged powerplant.

Oh, there’s also a very special knob.

Honda had to walk a fine line when it came to styling. Too drab, and … well, we all remember the last Civic’s emergency refresh; too bold and it might alienate returning buyers. While it’s still recognizable as a CR-V, the crossover’s exterior has seen a considerable revamp.

2017 Honda CR-V

Can you call this styling edgy? It depends on who you ask. Because the “cute ute” concept is now dead and buried, the CR-V’s fender bulges have grown in size and more chrome adorns its face. LED running lights come standard, with full LED headlights on higher trims. Still, styling is far from being the top draw for crossover buyers. Reputation, interior volume and ways of making the owner’s life easier top that list.

This CR-V has grown in every dimension, albeit not drastically. Length is up by 1.2 inches and wheelbase grows 1.6 inches. Width and height expand by 1.4 inches, while rear cargo volume adds two cubic feet, for a total of 39.2 cubic feet.

What does shrink is the uplevel engine — a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder making 190 horsepower and an unannounced amount of torque. It’s the first turbo to find its way into a CR-V. The stalwart 2.4-liter four-cylinder soldiers on unchanged in the lowest LX trim level, making 184 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. Both engines will be mated to a continuously variable transmission.

2017 Honda CR-V

The automaker hasn’t released fuel economy figures yet, but the smaller turbo engine, coupled with Honda’s Active Shutter Grille, should boost mileage on uplevel models. 2016 CR-Vs with all-wheel drive are currently rated at 25 miles per gallon in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, and 27 mpg combined.

Inside, new goodies abound, including the return of — wait for it — the stereo volume knob! It’s safe to assume existing owners demanded it. Heavier use of soft-touch materials and upgraded stitching lends some class to the interior, while two new touchscreens should no doubt delight those who didn’t demand the return of the radio knob. A new navigation system by Garmin joins the content bucket for 2017, as does dual-zone climate control, rear USB charging ports and an electronic parking brake.

The CR-V is a very important model for Honda’s bottom line, with the automaker enjoying very healthy, growing support from buyers. Sales barely fell during the recession, so the automaker no doubt hopes it hasn’t angered anyone with the 2017 redesign. CR-V sales reached 345,647 in the U.S. last year, meaning this model can be found in the “too important to screw up” file.

[Images: Honda North America]

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75 Comments on “2017 Honda CR-V Gains Top-End Turbo, Classier Duds...”


  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Never liked the styling on these….. and I still don’t. So I guess it’s mission accomplished for Honda

  • avatar
    VoGo

    This is what sales leadership looks like.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Yay.. VoGo’s back!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Can I get a cookie and a hug when I don’t leave and come back?

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          It was more of an ‘air hug’ and the cookie was a snackwell. But I don’t deserve any better.

          You may wonder what I have been doing for the past week away from TTAC. Well, I read that there were a few Playboy videos that featured a certain Presidential candidate (fully clothed; but still.) So I thought I would do my part for my country by doing research to see if he was in any other adult films.

          Because…patriotism.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Well I’m going on a family vacation next week (load up the Wagon Queen Family Truckster and head to the Late Great Golden State.) Don’t send out any search parties or anything guys. ;-)

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    It carries its rear “hump” a lot better than the current model, from what (little) I can see. Big improvement on the outside, and the volume knob is a relief as well.

    My wife and I test drove a current one and the suspension seemed pretty lousy – floaty but not very good at handling big bumps. The infotainment interface looked like ’90s technology. It had its strong points, obviously, but it’s not for everyone.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Hmm – I like it, to my surprise – especially the dash layout.

    190 HP is pretty stout for 1.5 liters.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Wait till you Trifecta Tune it.

      • 0 avatar
        WRohrl

        This is the new golden age for all of us that live in mountain states with serious elevation. Finally, power that doesn’t drop off as precipitously. Once everything is all-electric it’ll be even better with zero performance loss due to altitude.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Dan, that magic technology does not work on Hondas.
        :( sadly, only Buicks can have good performance and excellent MPG, Honda just sits around thinking of cruel ways to kill people, dontchya know.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      It is, but this is not a small car, and this is an optional upgrade. The base engine, the old 2.4l, makes almost the same horsepower and slightly more torque.

      I would normally say that power just doesn’t matter for these vehicles, but my dear mother, not a speed demon by any means, is looking to get rid of her 2-year-old CR-V because, in her words, “It drags on the highway.”

      I asked, “Do you mean it’s just dog-slow?”

      After a moment’s thought, “…Yes.”

      So, I’m not really sure who this optional engine is supposed to please. Haven’t driven it, maybe it drives marvelously, but the numbers don’t look good. In a Fit, now that would be interesting.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        It will make that torque probably from 2000 RPM lower in the range. It will feel far more powerful to the typical driver who doesn’t wind his car up to 4000+ RPM.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          That’s a good point I hadn’t considered, and I hope you’re correct as it would make this a much better car, assuming Honda has figured out the 300k-mile turbo.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            I have a 16 Cruze Limited with the 1.4T. Torque peak is around 2000 rpm. I live with hills in western PA and down low, the Chevy feels stronger than its 135hp/135 torque ratings. Above 4500, it’s all noise, vibration and harshness, so not winding it up is a good thing.

            But for your typical driver who doesn’t really push it, it’s fine. And since Honda is better at refinement than GM, I’m sure this motor will be fine.

            I enjoy our new, small, torquey turbo motors, hopefully longevity isn’t an issue. Funny though, I had an 01 Focus ZX3 with nearly the same power ratings (Zetec 2.0) and a 5 spd and it returned about the same economy as the Chevy does. Of course, the Cruze is giant and heavy and the little Ford was not. Progress?

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      More spinny things to break. Need for higher octane fuel.

      I’m tired of this trend. Sorry to see Honda follow down the same road.

      • 0 avatar
        jonbobcar

        In case anyone else ends up here wondering if the new 1.5 Liter Turbo in the 2017 CR-V requires higher octane fuel, the answer is: no, it does not. The turbocharged engine actually has a lower compression ratio (translating to lower octane requirement) than the 2.4 naturally aspirated engine.

        Honda’s website lays it all out here:
        http://news.honda.com/newsandviews/article.aspx?id=9405-en

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      “golden age for all of us that live in mountain states”

      Yes, the 2016 2.4l/CVT gets 18 city, 31 hwy according to Consumer Reports.

      I predict that the 1.5l turbo will get (wait for it) 17 city, 32 hwy in their same test loops. (much closer to sea level, where most people drive).

      People won’t know how to drive these little turbos, and they’ll waste gas, it’s as simple as that. They’ll try to keep up with the spastic human traffic “flow” of the normally aspirated and they will over-accelerate, over-brake (due to the slight, but real turbo lag), and millions of extra gallons of gas will get wasted driving in traffic.
      The EPA ratings on these little turbos are grossly inaccurate in real-world traffic flow situations. This bait-and switch is almost criminal if you care about the advancements in vehicle efficiency made in the last 15 years.
      The highway mileage may improve by 1MPG, but only due to level ground, even slight grades will get into the turbo, limiting any gains from the 1.5l displacement.
      /rant

      • 0 avatar
        syncro87

        My wife’s Civic turbo is averaging over 40 mpg. Not bad for a car with a little turbo, especially considering a lot of her commute is spent in heavy rush hour traffic with a lot of spastic “flow” of the normally aspirated, as you put it.

        I will admit, I was concerned about the whole issue you bring up, i.e. vehicles with small turbo engines under-performing in real world. However, I’ve found it not to be the case at all. Our old TSI Jetta also exceeded EPA mpg ratings pretty handily.

        Load a turbo CR-V with 5 people and 300 pounds of gear for a blast up Pike’s Peak, yeah, I think mpg will disappoint.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          Glad to hear that my paranoia isn’t entirely justified.

          I go by CR’s city ratings, some friend’s anecdotes, and general Internet noise. Ford’s Ecoboost 4’s were especially bad for a while; don’t know if they’ve improved or not.

          Edit: Oh, and the Western PA hilly terrain does no favors, either.

          • 0 avatar
            syncro87

            Terrain does matter. I’m in Kansas City now, which is fairly flat. From Venango County, PA originally, so I’m familiar with that terrain, and you are right.

            I think some of the Ford Ecoboost powered products were the first to tout high MPG with small turbo engines in vehicles that weren’t exactly feather weight. When promised MPG didn’t happen, people started to become justifiably skeptical of small turbo engines and ambitious MPG claims. So I don’t totally disagree with your point…you have to watch out when expecting great MPG with a tiny-turbo-powered car. Hit or miss. We got lucky so far with the Civic.

          • 0 avatar
            Minnesota Nice

            Can’t speak to hilly performance, but my 2016 Civic Touring averages 34-37 mpg mixed driving in Milwaukee, which has a horrific amount of unnecessary and never ending road construction that causes a ton of stop and go traffic.

            Highways, I’ve seen as high as 45. Definitely took some time “learning” how to coast the car and not expect immediate zoom when pressing the pedal, though turning ECON off and dropping it to “S” gives it plenty of zest.

            Very happy with the car.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Well honestly as person who doesnt really like Honda product but has admitted that they are on a roll styling wise (except Ridgeline) I dont like this at all. The interior like all updated Honda products is very much a step or three up from where it was. The exterior is not very attractive.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    That interior looks $10,000 more expensive than the one in the RAV4. Well done, Honda. They will sell as many of these as they can build.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      This seems like a massively better all around product than the RAV4. It should slay in the compact CUV market.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Agreed, it looks classy and to be of high quality. The Rav4 (and Rouge as well) just looks cheap and the styling seems to be trying too hard.

      The rest of the class isn’t bad: Escape and the Hyundai look sporty, and the new Equinox is vastly improved. Its a good time to be in the market for something like this. I’d like to see the next Terrain.

      I personally wouldn’t buy a vehicle like this (now the new Bronco? If its done right, hell yeah), but I do have to look at them and occasionally advise friends/family.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Yes. The volume knob makes its triumphant return!

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Looks like a solid product. CRV, Escape and Forester will need to step up their game.

    Is it available with gold badges?

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I like the design, take away dash. Electronic speedo?? give me CX5 NOW!

    But then 1.5/cvt. I don’t believe small engine/big car combination. Just say cvt – and “Elvis left the building”

    Also, author mentioned CRV’s reputation. If you sober up a bit, you would understand that there is no basis to CRV’s “great” reputation. Even Consumer Reports said that CRV is “disappointing”

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      ” no basis to CRV’s “great” reputation.”

      I believe it is you my friend, that needs some sobering up.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        “All but the base LX version use a distracting, difficult-to-use, and frustrating infotainment system. Handling is responsive and secure, but the ride is stiff, with bumps coming through in a pronounced way. The interior is still loud compared to other small SUVs. The rear seats are roomy, and folding them flat is a breeze. Small rear windows hurt the view out back, but the standard rearview camera helps. Reliability has been **average** of late. ”

        This is not description of a great car

  • avatar
    FBS

    Honda has been using very ugly wheel designs lately.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    ” “too important to screw up” file.”

    The attraction to these was small and versatile (and maybe “cute”). Now this thing looks huge, its at least the size of the XU20 Highlander (MY00-07). Enjoy weaving in and out of traffic or parking in tight urban areas! Those rear proportions are so bad they are trolling my eyes. From the rear at best it looks like a minivan, just the look you’re going for mid 40s fat mom of three dogs and maybe one human child in some cases.

    “crossover’s exterior has seen a considerable revamp”

    I have no doubt heavy drug use has finally claimed the automotive design industry.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Isn’t this typical? Cars move up in size with every revamp, leaving room underneath. CR-V getting too big? Let me introduce you to little brother HR-V.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        “Let me introduce you to little brother HR-V.”

        And like most products, smaller portions cost more per pound!

        So, many will hop up to the CR-V, and buy more vehicle than they need.

        The 72-month loan looms large, here (example); HR-V: 320 bucks/mo — CR-V: 360 bucks/mo.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I don’t follow these but my understanding is the HR-V isn’t up to snuff to where the CR-V was at a similar size. I’d also point out Honda already had a Highlander size competitor in the Pilot and the smarter move is to not fix it if it is not broken. Honda of all automotive firms should be ashamed of their models gaining Detroit-style size and weight instead of remaining small and efficient. CR-V fanatics have pointed out to me the reasoning behind their enthusiasm is because the model was just right in all of its offerings and proportions.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Actually, it’s only in this new generation that it got any bigger. Every CR-V from 1997-2016 is almost identical in every dimension. And even with the enlargement, it’s still well within the acceptable range for a compact CUV, and smaller than the first-gen Highlander (which honestly, was the smallest you can make a midsize CUV).

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      The ’02-07 Highlanders were peak if you didn’t need a 3rd row. We had a base 4 cyl and I loved that thing (except we should have opted for a power seat). Perfectly sized vehicle. In checking current model + 1.5″, you’re looking at 104″. The 1st gen Highlander was 106″. New CR-V length will be about 4-5″ less than the old Highlander. So pretty close….

      If this new CR-V is that size, then bring it on. Not too big, not too small. This thing is going to pound the competition if reliability stays the same. Hopefully a hybrid will soon join it’s ranks…

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The usual class inflation. We now have the HR-V for small and “cute.” The CR-V has grown into a mainstream family vehicle as its customers have grown families.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Keep in mind the 2016 CRV is only about 2 inches longer than the 1st gen (97-01). Width has gone up 3 inches. Weight is up about 400lb on the high end (high-trim AWD variant).

        So the “real” difference might not be so dramatic, but visually it’s now a much ‘denser’ looking thing compared to the old car that had 8+ inches of ground clearance and massive windows with a lower belt line.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I thought it had already achieved mainstream status for families in previous iterations?

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      I’ve only tried the first three generations, and I prefer the 2nd. They certainly look like, and feel like they have grown, but the 2017 is only about 3 inches longer than the original. Has any car out there grown less the last 20 years?

  • avatar
    brn

    TTAC, you messed up. Looking at the exterior photos, that’s clearly a Nissan.

  • avatar
    here4aSammich

    There was a time that people bought Hondas because they lasted forever. One could expect 200k miles out of the car without a major breakdown or hyper-expensive routine maintenance. I have a long daily commute, and put 20k/yr on my car. This new CR-V seems to be built for the “lease every 3 years” crowd. There’s just no way anyone is going to be able to drive this Honda for 200k miles without it costing an arm and 2 legs to fix turbocharges and CVTs. Guess I better pull the trigger and buy my Accord EX manual before it gets boogered up with a turbo in the next generation.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      So far, the Honda CVT is doing very well. They seem to have nailed it on the first try.

      The turbo is the real question. It’s too soon to tell with the 1.5T. But their one previous foray into turbos — the 2.3T from the first-gen RDX — doesn’t have a perfect record. It’s pretty good for a turbo but not up to the usual impeccable standards of Honda engines. I hope they did more engineering for the 1.5T in keeping with the *extremely* high volume it will do when it’s the uplevel engine for the Civic and the volume engine for both the CR-V and Accord.

      • 0 avatar
        bosozoku

        “They seem to have nailed it on the first try”

        Honda’s first-try at CVTs was in the 96-2000 Civic HX and those were far from perfect. That said, the immediate successor to that design was used in the first-gen Honda Insight and seems to have held up pretty well. So, second times a charm?

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      The EX manual won’t get boogered up with a turbo. It will probably be dropped altogether. Given the low take rate, it’s a miracle you can still buy an Accord EX with a stick shift.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    Good stuff Honda. now upgrade the HRV with the 2.0L (don’t forget the ‘knob’ too) and I’ll be down to place my order.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Forget the 2.0, just give us a manual or non-CVT automatic.

      I tried out a Fit last weekend and that CVT was a no-sale. Completely ruined the driving experience. Terrific little car with the six-speed manual, though.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Except for the fact that virtually nobody will buy a CRV with a manual transmission. And 99.99% of the buying public can’t tell (or doesn’t care to) the difference between a CVT and traditional automatic. Honda builds what it knows will sell, and it hasn’t had much problem selling non-manual CRVs these last upteen years.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          It’s hard to imagine any other vehicle for which an MT is less relevant.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Sure, a CUV with a manual is a pipe dream…or we can ask for a non CVT transmission, like the excellent six-speed Mazda puts in the CX3.

            I’ve only driven one car with a CVT that I would not consider to be a “no-sale” factor – the Corolla. Granted, the car sucks to drive, but Toyota nailed the transmission. It can be done.

            I drove a last-gen Civic and a current Fit with Honda CVTs, and both were simply unsatisfactory – they were both deadly slow off the line, and the transmission delivered power unevenly. No thanks.

            If the HR-V has a CVT, then it’s off my list.

      • 0 avatar
        frozenman

        FYI, Honda HRV has a 6spd manual available in LX and EX trim levels, FWD only though. ‘Forget the 2.0L’ statement makes no sense.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Just can’t get past the looks of this thing. And it looks huge, bigger than a 1st gen Pilot. People will buy them by the hundred thousand though so it is what it is. Kia Sportage SX for me please.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      It may look huge, but it’s all alone in these press photos. It’s about 2.5″ longer than any of the preceding CR-Vs.

      The first-gen Pilot and Highlander were almost too small to be considered mid-size CUVs.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I just got an email from Honda announcing this vehicle, inviting me to schedule a test drive once they hit the ground. I like our ’16 CR-V but I’m not in love with it. They just did a recall for a computer update…apparently the control unit could allow the CVT to have low pressure and allow slippage on the highway, killing the CVT. The reflash took about 15 minutes and the car feels just like it did prior.

    The ’17 looks great, I would not be the least bit surprised if we get one somewhere along the line, but we ARE lease people…I don’t particularly care if it runs for 200k miles, as long as it runs 36k miles I’m good. These cheap Honda leases make it highly unlikely that we will buy any time soon…

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      My neighbor across the street does short term leases on Corolla LEs. Seems crazy to me from the perspective of long term durability, there’s damn near nothing to break on them. But that’s what makes them cheap to lease so all of a sudden she looks quite rational as I’m hunched over adjusting the tension on my power steering belt on my 20 year old 200k mile Lexus that I bought specifically with low TCO in mind.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    “A new navigation system by Garmin joins the content bucket for 2017”

    I am confused.

    Isn’t navigation already included in trim levels that come with CarPlay/Android Auto, through the in-phone Maps app?

    Is Garmin Nav going to be a separate option?

    What is the difference between Garmin Nav and CarPlay/AA?

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Let me ask this: 4 years from now, could the CR-V be the #2 selling vehicle in the US, behind the F-150? What’s stopping it?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The power of Jesus!

      Seriously, the CUV thing is a freakin’ juggernaut.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “Seriously, the CUV thing is a freakin’ juggernaut.”

        Natch. As with up & down tooth brushing, the entitlement philosophy and trickle-down economics, we now know that longer-lower-wider is a dysfunctional crock.

        America is moving past the delusions of Boomerdom.

  • avatar
    theonewhogotaway

    My current daily car is a 2015 CR-V LX AWD. It replaced a 1996.5 XJ 4 liter Jeep. Currently in the half point of my lease so extremely interested in the new model. There are a few things missing in most stories: Comparing the LX with the Touring or EX-L that most media test drive is night and day. The LX is a good 250 lbs lighter than both and this reflects in the acceleration figures (wonder why nobody bothered to test an LX) and fuel economy. In my commute I get about 25 mpg city driving aggressively and up to 28 watching it. I get up to 35 mpg on the highway (cruise control, minimal acceleration etc.) Why I got an LX? In addition to the weight issues mentioned, the push button start, sunroof, and the disturbing lane departure warning was a total no go for me as far as the higher end trims went. Not to mention, that the base LX trim has better tires (go figure.) Acceleration is better than my Jeep’s and it had the 4.0, so empirically is is about 8-8.5 sec 0-60 for the LX, based on the XJ figures.

    I am glad that the new version has more space. Space and interior modularity was part of the reason I went the CR-V way (and that was a big leap for me; my first non-American or German vehicle since the 80s.) Disappointed with the turbo once I read the details. I was going to bite the bullet and think about dealing with the push start button and all when I heard that there was a turbo engine for the higher end trims. My hope was that it would get about 250 torque or so, which would make this vehicle more fun. Looks like the base LX model is the one to get for this one (again,) but nobody will review or test it (again) ;)

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