2017 Honda CR-V Gains Top-End Turbo, Classier Duds
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.
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.
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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