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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • VoGo VoGo on Oct 14, 2016

    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?

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    • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Oct 15, 2016

      @FreedMike "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.

  • Theonewhogotaway Theonewhogotaway on Oct 14, 2016

    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) ;)