With the crossover segment showing zero signs of slowing down, Honda has made an aggressive power move by unexpectedly revealing an overhauled CR-V in Detroit as it looks to retain its title as America’s best-selling SUV for the 20th consecutive year. Car buyers in the states have reportedly purchased around 4 million of them since the CR-V first launched in 1997, and with the latest version addressing many of the qualms customers have with the current model, we believe Honda stands a good chance of retaining its title as the SUV sales leader.
This model is completely re-engineered, both aesthetically and functionally. With styling cues cut right from the pages of the 10th-generation Civic’s playbook, numerous premium interior updates, a boosted powertrain, and a bevy of new features and technologies, we can already tell that there’s a lot to like about the new CR-V.
According to Honda’s press release, the 2017 Honda CR-V will be an entirely American-assembled automobile, from plants in Ohio, Ontario, and Indiana. Engines will be built both in Anna, Ohio and in Alliston, Ontario, while the vehicle’s CVT will be assembled entirely in Russells Point, Ohio.
“The new Honda CR-V raises the bar in every imaginable way, delivering more performance, space and premium content together with higher fuel economy ratings and value than ever before,” says Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda Division. “Customers are going to love what they see and what they experience behind the wheel of this new CR-V.”
From what we have seen on paper, we can agree with Conrad’s claim that this fifth generation of the CUV will surely raise the bar, and that customers are likely going to flock to the CR-V like never before thanks to its restyled exterior. Here are four reasons why we’re excited to get behind the wheel when they go on sale this winter.
1. Stylistically, it walks the razor’s edge
Making the most of what it calls “sharp front-end design elements,” Honda takes the aggressively restyled CR-V and gives it wing-like LED running lights, a bit of an underbite, wider fender lines, a longer hood and wheelbase, shorter rear overhangs, and dual exhaust tips. Other updates include active shutter grilles for less aerodynamic drag, 17- and 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, and slimmer A-pillars for better visibility.
Honda’s first stab at making a Hands-Free Access Power Tailgate can also be found here, while auto-high beams with adaptive headlights take care of the other end. The 2017 CR-V also comes with a handful of well-placed chrome touches, rain-sensing wipers, aluminum colored roof rails, and a large amount of Genuine Honda Accessories for customization purposes.
2. Turbo power and performance handling are here to stay
Anything from the EX trim and up is slated to sport the first-ever turbocharged engine found in CR-V. The 1.5-liter four-cylinder motor will also feature direct-injection for better fuel gains, while reportedly reaching 190 horsepower, all while targeting what Honda claims will be “the highest EPA fuel economy ratings in the compact SUV class.” While lower LX trims will remain powered by a 2.4-liter DOHC engine, both motors will come attached to a CVT transmission that features Honda’s unique G-Shift control logic.
As for the 2017 CR-V’s all-new body and chassis design, more nimble handling, better ride quality, added ground clearance, and greater versatility are a few of the key focuses engineers and designers approached during this redesign. Both MacPherson struts up front and multi-link suspension setups in the rear run beside specially-tuned low-friction dampers, as both FWD and AWD models utilize redesigned sway bars for sharper turns and decreased body roll. A dual-pinion, variable Electric Power Steering (EPS) system has also been announced for the CR-V, which should add to the already outstanding steering feel.
3. Say hello to a far superior interior
Featuring top-in-class interior space and the best rear seat legroom among its competition, Honda is approaching function just as much as it is form. Upgraded materials can be found sprinkled everywhere, and include things like a new soft-touch instrument panel, more intricately stitched seats, and a color driver display screen buried within the gauge cluster. There also is an available 7-inch Android touchscreen that now features a physical volume knob (finally!) and houses the new Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System, which reportedly was developed in cooperation with the navi experts over at Garmin.
The audio system is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, thus allowing smartphone-powered GPS navigation and voice-controlled search capabilities. A few other features that will be available on the 2017 Honda CR-V include a remote engine start setup, dual-zone climate controls, heated side mirrors, and an electric parking brake. There also are rear USB ports, a front passenger seat that has four-way power adjustments, a driver’s chair with eight-way power adjustability and four-way power lumbar support, as well as heating functions for both.
4. Safety still reigns supreme
Back in 2015, the refreshed CR-V debuted the Honda Sensing suite of safety technologies, which in turn helped it secure the 2015 Motor Trend SUV of the Year award. Taking this and turning it up a notch, the 2017 version makes Honda Sensing standard on all EX and higher trims, which according to the automaker are expected to account for upwards of 75% of all CR-V sales.
Some of Honda Sensing’s greatest strengths include Collision Mitigation Braking (CMBS) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and pedestrian sensing capabilities, Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with low-speed follow and Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS). A fresh suite of driver-assistive technologies include the available Blind Spot Information (BSI), Rear Cross Traffic Monitor (CTM), and Auto High Beam (HSS) headlights.
Utilizing its Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, Honda also hopes to land the highest available collision safety ratings in America, with an NCAP 5-star Overall Vehicle Score from the NHTSA and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from IIHS as the ultimate goal. Depending on how well the latest Honda Sensing suite works on this chassis, there’s also a good chance that it will secure a SUPERIOR rating for frontal crash prevention.