2017 Honda CR-V Touring AWD Review - Effective And Efficient, If Not Effervescent

We’re all supposed to enjoy, or endure, an Alfa Romeo ownership experience at some point in our lives.

The 2017 Honda CR-V is diametrically opposed to everything the Alfa Romeo SZ stands for.

You’re supposed to drive a car that reveals its character through its flaws, as if a shifter that only slots into third at 2,755 rpm is somehow symbolic of soul.

The 2017 Honda CR-V doesn’t shift. At all.

You’re supposed to tell a great breakdown story that involves a leafy Vermont village, a greedy mechanic, and a 48-hour wait for a repair that resulted in the best drive ever with an ex-girlfriend who severed your relationship the next day.

Not a single word of that could possibly apply to a 2017 Honda CR-V.

You’re an enthusiast, you have taste, you’re vulnerable. We get it. But maybe you should just drive a Honda CR-V and accept the fact that boring, or dull, or soulless cars can be wonderfully effective ways of transporting one’s family.

I’m not thrilled by the realization. But I’m impressed by the all-new, fifth-generation Honda CR-V.

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QOTD: Was The First Honda CR-V The Best Honda CR-V?

Honda Canada delivered a 2017 Honda CR-V Touring to my driveway less than 100 hours ago.

It is, in so many ways, an exemplary means of transporting one’s family: surprisingly efficient, sufficiently powerful, wonderfully spacious, and undeniably refined.

But it’s not pretty.

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2017 Honda CR-V First Drive Review - Vehicular Happy Meal

Update: An earlier version of this story stated the 2017 Honda CR-V was “American-made.” However, the CR-V is manufactured in both the United States and Canada for North American consumption. Sorry, Allistonians.

We sat down for dinner in a rented space shortly after arriving in Monterey, California. The food, standard fare for such a gathering, consisted of no less than three different types of meat, the usual suspects of sides, and one or two items my small-town mind couldn’t infer from the non-Anglo-Saxon names printed on the buffet placement cards.

This was normal for a manufacturer press launch dinner: provide just enough “exotic” items for attendees to feel fancy, privileged, and cultured, but make sure the usual assortment of normal standbys are present so as not to confuse the rest of us with indecipherable choice.

Not adventurous enough to take on that mystery sushi? Here’s some roast beef.

That sauteed vegetable of dubious origin giving you second thoughts? Here, have a potato.

To the front of the room stood two new 2017 Honda CR-Vs. Much like the edibles offered to the journosaur guests, one of the examples wore a resplendent, bright hue; the other a more muted pigmentation for those with more conservative sensibilities.

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Does Honda Already Know The New CR-V Won't Be America's Best-Selling Crossover In 2017?

Only once in the last nine years, and not once since the Ford Escape scored a victory in 2011, has the Honda CR-V failed to top America’s SUV/crossover sales leaderboard.

At its current pace, 2016 will be the Honda CR-V’s fifth consecutive year as America’s best-selling utility vehicle. Better yet, there’s an all-new Honda CR-V arriving for the 2017 model year. (We’ll post a First Drive Review of that CR-V on November 30th. –Ed.)

But Honda has little intention of ramping up CR-V production growth in 2017 simply to match the Toyota RAV4’s rapid ascent.

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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.

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  • SilverHawk Only if they keep it focused on what a corvette represents, in a similar way as to what Porsche has done. Badge engineering using lower tier platforms is not acceptable. Don't even think about it, GM!
  • Jeff S E-Vettes are coming to your nearest Chevrolet dealership. I reserve judgement on this I will have to see these and see the pricing. So far Lyriq is about the only GM vehicle I have any interest in.
  • Kukala J. Machus GM has an extensive history of bad decisions.....and it continues.
  • FreedMike Assumption: GM is making this "brand" into a Porsche competitor, which I think is a great idea. The problem is how to fit a Porsche-esque dealer experience into a Chevy dealership. I don't see that happening - the hoity-toity types who buy Porsches aren't going to want to rub elbows with the brodozer and "get me bought on a Trax with my 530 score" crowd. The ideal situation would be a standalone store, or a Tesla-esque "boutique" store. I also could see this being an add to Cadillac stores. The problem is that I don't see the Chevy dealers who currently make money selling Corvettes giving up the business willingly.So, unless GM comes up with some kind of separate sales channel for this, I vote thumbs down on viability.
  • Stuart de Baker Wyoming is the 9th largest state, but has the lowest population of any state, and so with ~580,000, it's the most sparsely populated state. Of course they're not interested in EVs. And the ranges do tank in the frigid Wyoming winters. Anyone who is in a one car family, and drives long distances with any frequency, is not going to be buying an EV at this point. I'm saying this as someone who thinks that global warming is the biggest, most urgent problem humanity faces right now, and I live in the Boston area. But I'm a one car person, I drive long distances multiple times a year, and I love my Civic (stick).