2017 Honda CR-V AWD TouringPosted on March 15th, 2017
New turbocharged engine raises the bar among compact crossovers
By Nina Russin
Honda was one of the first automakers to enter the compact crossover segment with the CR-V: a car that continues to be one of the most popular choices thanks to the automaker’s reputation for reliability, safety and solid performance. For 2017, Honda has raised the bar with an all-new model including available 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, re-engineered all-wheel drive system, new exterior styling and a roomier interior. As with previous iterations, the new CR-V is a winner- hands down- combining excellent ride and handling, good engine power and excellent fuel economy.
The test car is the upscale Touring model with all-wheel drive and the new turbocharged engine, priced from $33,695 excluding the $900 destination charge. Honda simplifies the buying process by including safety, comfort and convenience features as standard equipment.
The Touring grade features keyless entry and start, leather seating, premium audio system with satellite radio and Bluetooth interface, seven-inch color touchscreen display, rearview camera with cross traffic alert, Pandora radio, USB port, dual-zone automatic climate control, 12-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, 60/40 split folding rear seats, power moon-roof, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED lighting, rain sensing wipers, blind spot monitoring, hands-free power tailgate, capless fuel filler and roof rails. Final MSRP is $34,595
Test drive in Phoenix, Arizona
I drove the newest CR-V on surface streets and highways throughout Phoenix, Arizona’s east valley, including the Lost Dutchman area in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains and rural roads to the southwest of the San Tan Mountains. The 190-horsepower turbocharged block is exactly what the CR-V needed to compete against new, performance oriented segment entries, with excellent low-end acceleration. Drive-by wire quickens throttle response, while eliminating mechanical linkages that add weight to the front end. A continuously variable automatic transmission responds well to the driver’s throttle inputs.
Drivers who want to extend fuel economy can opt for the eco mode that changes throttle mapping and shift points, while still providing adequate power. I used the eco mode for about half the test drive before switching into regular driving mode for the hillier segments. My average fuel economy was about 32 miles-per-gallon.
The new all-wheel drive system can deliver more engine power to the car’s rear wheels, more closely mimicking the performance of a rear-wheel drive car. By sending power to the wheels with the best traction, the system enhances sure-footedness on wet or snow-covered roads.
A four-wheel independent suspension consists of MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link setup in the rear, smoothing out the bumps on rough roads. Engineers increased the CR-V’s ground clearance, making the car more capable on unimproved dirt roads and in moderate amounts of snow. Four-wheel disc brakes stop the car in firm, linear fashion.
The Touring grade comes standard with Honda Sensing active safety technology that includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and collision mitigation braking, all giving drivers more security during the daily commute. Engineers did a good job of minimizing engine, wind and road noise intrusion to the interior so both rows of passengers can converse or enjoy the upscale audio system.
The CR-V has grown considerably larger since its 1997-debut here in the states, and the fifth-generation model is no exception. Both first and second-row occupants should find plenty of head, leg and hip room. Vents behind the center console circulate air through the back of the cabin for a more comfortable ride on hot days.
Keyless entry and start makes it easier to enter the car, especially after dark. I found the power driver’s seat easy to adjust with ample lower lumbar support. Driver’s side memory setting make it easier for multiple family members to share the car.
The steering wheel is a nice small diameter- something women drivers will appreciate. I wish the car had come with a tilt-and-telescoping feature since my long legs typically require moving the steering wheel towards me for a comfortable driving position. As with other Honda models, a low cowl and large windshield give all drivers a clear forward view.
Both the gauge cluster and center stack screen are easy to read in a variety of lighting conditions, from bright sunlight to after dark. LED lighting on the test car projects brighter beams than halogen with less drain on the battery.
I found the climate controls easy to use but the audio system less intuitive. The driver can scroll through presets using steering-wheel mounted controls but must program new stations using the center stack touchscreen. It took me several minutes to find the command to change channels as opposed to scanning or scrolling. A simple tuning button would have been much less distracting.
The CR-V’s tall cargo area is ideal for buyers with active lifestyles who need to haul larger gear. The fold-flat second-row seat makes it easy to load a bicycle, skis, snowboards or camping gear in back. Standard roof rails accommodate cross bars and overhead gear racks. Given the car’s roof height, many might prefer a rear hitch-mounted bike rack that is easier to reach.
The Honda CR-V comes with front, side, side curtain airbags and rollover sensor, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, LED daytime running lamps and tire pressure monitoring.
Honda builds the CR-V at its Alliston, Ontario Canada assembly plant.
Like: A spacious compact crossover with good engine power, available all-wheel drive, excellent fuel economy and a high level of standard safety features.
Dislike: Audio controls on center stack screen are distracting.
Model: CR-V 1.5T AWD Touring
Base price: $33,695
As tested: $34,595
Horsepower: 190 HP @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 179 lbs.-ft. @ 2000 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 27/33 mpg city/highway2017, Best Value 2017, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, CR-V AWD Touring, Honda, performance, pricing, standard safety