When you make the best-selling SUV in America for the past 20 years and the time comes to redesign, most automakers would take a conservative evolutionary approach, but not Honda. Their 2017 CRV truly advances itself farther than any of the previous next generation releases.
Yes, an SUV can be a family vehicle
Know someone who owns a CRV? We own one and we know others who do too. It has become one of the most important vehicles for Honda since it’s debut in 1997. While the 2015 refresh was notable for its advancements, this 2017 CRV is a whole new thing after years of the same dull design. Honda’s lineup is finally getting edgier and there’s no denying that this CRV has far more visual presence.
Honda set us up with their best example, the top of the line touring all wheel drive trim which adds exclusive 18-inch wheels, LED headlights with auto high beams, dual exhaust, a hands-free power tailgate, rain sensing wipers, and a 330W 9 speaker audio system with subwoofer. It’s wider, taller and longer with more ground clearance than previous iterations. And with that bigger footprint, you are getting more than an inch in all areas which is key as it affords owners nearly 10 inches of additional cargo length with the seats folded.
You can go ahead and throw a few bikes in the back or help someone move that awkward dresser. What we love about our CRV is that the seats slide forward and back for extra room for passengers or for cargo depending. It doesn’t matter too much that this feature is now missing because there are more than 2 inches of newfound legroom, giving the CRV best in class interior space.
Turbo charging is getting popular again these days because most often it produces better gas mileage with similar power from smaller displacement engines and Honda is on board with by fitting all, but the base CRV, with the civic’s 1.5L direct injected turbo 4. The output is almost identical to that of the 2.4L engine that it’s replacing in the last year’s model making 190 HP. It’s 179lb of torque comes on earlier in the revs for better responsiveness while keeping it fuel efficient with under 10L per 100KM in our mixed use testing. In simple terms… more power, but better gas mileage.
This means you’re spending less money at the gas station because you don’t need to fill up as often. Thank you, Honda!
With already owning a CRV that we already love, our expectations for this CRV are understandably quite high, by and large, we are impressed. The whole vehicle felt better and more updated. From the sculpted comfort of the front seats to the way it drives, it felt far less fragile and much more substantial like a real SUV.
The overall styling of this car was a favourite for us. From the more aggressive outside stylings that make it a head turner, getting it noticed on the road. To the luxury feel of the interior with all the premium materials of leather and well-made rubbers and plastics. A hit with our kids was the panoramic moonroof. They loved looking up and out the window as we were driving.
The ride itself was much quieter, better appointed, and more engaging to drive. The one thing Jason would like to see if for Honda to give the CRV be paired with a bigger 2.0L turbo and a better automatic transmission. He feels this would make the Honda CRV unbeatable. Please Honda, could you also switch the sport mode to being a button and not a shift down from Drive to make it easier and less likely to shift into?
While Honda has made some improvements to the infotainment system by bringing back the quintessential volume knob (Thank you!) and making the overall navigation feel less sluggish, we’re still not convinced that we would be happy day in and day out with what is in the vehicle.
Honda’s infotainment system has Apple Car Play and Android Auto added and the 8″ touchscreen is a nice size. Thankfully it also shows fingerprints at a minimum. We also found that for navigation, the system worked great for warning us for upcoming directions and distances but trying to find a destination always seemed to leave us empty handed. Having to turn to our phones to find exact postal addresses to input into the system. For now, we are still more likely to use a cell-phone holder in the car and use directions from our phone when traveling in the vehicle.
The CRV also has a push-button start, foot activated power lift-gate, and driver’s seat memory settings. Which really comes in handy when you and your partner are both stubborn about your driving seat position – we are constantly changing the settings on each other in our own vehicle.
Any other couples that can’t agree on seat and mirror position? Not an issue thanks to the seat memory settings in Hondas.
Just like the previous Honda’s we tested, we learned to appreciate all the safety features that are incorporated in these vehicles. When cars got too close, the CRV’s Blind Spot Information (BSI) system lets you know with a flashing indicator. At first, this feature seemed more annoying than useful, but we grew accustomed to it and missed it once we went back to driving our own vehicle without BSI.
On the other hand, the Lane Departure Warning seemed either over aggressive or none responsive. When we strayed even close to the line, the steering wheel would jiggle, which was more irritating than helpful. And at other times when we wanted to test the system, it didn’t react at all. It seems Honda needs to do a bit of fine-tuning before this is just right.
One of topics that always comes up is: how is the fuel economy? The CRV’s gas efficiency really did surprise us as we were able to keep it under 10 litres/100 km. The smaller engine with turbocharger was a key factor in this. There is also a green Econ driving mode that assists in making better choices, especially if you drive heavy footed.
Honda CRV is still our family vehicle
All around we still love Honda CRVs. We drive an older model and this left talking about the possibility of upgrading some day. The CRV is a great option if you are not ready to go to a minivan, but need a bit more room than a car. The one thing that Honda would need to change is getting the CRV back to being able to have three car seats across the back. Due to the shape of the seat, we couldn’t put a seat in the middle. Dear Honda, please fix this and you will have us at CRV drivers for years to come! We loved how much power was available when accelerating to merge onto highways but also the decent fuel efficiency with a Sports Utility Vehicle. Our oldest daughter is still asking if we can get a car with the windows on top. Definitely, give the Honda CRV a look if you are considering different family vehicle options.