The 2017 Honda CR-V: Quick Car Review

Say what you will about the Compact Crossover: America gets what America wants.

2017 Honda CR-V
Honda—© 2016 American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Honda sold 4 million of this monster-hit compact crossover Honda CR-V in the last two decades, and the new 4th generation is battling neck and neck every month with the Nissan Rogue for top-selling crossover SUV in the United States. To stay in the hunt, Honda is introducing a fully redesigned model in 2017, sitting on a new chassis, with two engine options. We tested the Touring trim, with the new turbocharged 1.5-liter turbo inline-4, with AWD and a smooth and competent Continuously Variable Transmission all around NYC and an overnight trip to the Poconos.

Honda’s latest CR-V wants to be many things to many people, targeting weekend warriors, families, and action-y urban getaway types (like me). Despite the diffuse goals, the CR-V does all things surprisingly well. That is the appeal of compact crossover: It has some room, is easy to get in and out of, and can adapt to your paddleboard if need be. Unlike most minivans, the CR-V maintains something like a cool factor. It looks pretty good. Well, we think it does, anyway.

The new Honda CR-V is good looking, has a modern, unfussy design, and an option set of 17- or 18-inch aluminum wheels, making for an overall more aggressive look than its predecessor and most of the competition.

The Pros

  • The Honda CR-V is easy to drive. It's predictable and unfussy. With the CR-V, all is right in the world.
  • If you're toting kids around (well, two of them, at least), you probably have no complaints about cleaning up after them or having enough space for all their stuff.
  • The new turbocharged engine leapfrogged the old 2.5-liter in power. Well played, Honda engineers.
  • The Touring trim interior tends toward elegant-on-a-budget. It's not luxury, but the little touches—a splash of faux-wood here, some deep and leather seats there—go a long way.
  • Great MPG, even within this competitive category.
  • It's reasonably priced at under $33k.

The Cons

  • Hey look, a crossover! The turbo engine doesn't exactly blow your wig off, so we can only assume the base LX engine will be be even less impressive.
  • Competitor's infotainment systems in this segment offer an 8.0-inch touchscreen; the CR-V’s is only 7.0-inch.

Scale of 1 to 5:

  • Performance: 3
  • Comfort: 4
  • Luxury: 4
  • Hauling people: 4
  • Hauling stuff: 4
  • Curb appeal: 3.5
  • “Wow” factor: 3
  • Overall: 4.1

The Bottom Line:

Let's face it: America loves the compact crossover. I often question their reason d’être in a manufacturer line-up. I know, I know: it's a top-selling category and the fastest growing segment, but what the hell is wrong with a sedan? Well, for starters, the sedan isn't high enough of the road anymore. And it doesn't haul as much gear. America wants what America wants.

By the Numbers

  • Price (as tested): $32,395
  • Powertrain: 1.5-liter Turbo, 4 cylinder, AWD, Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
  • Fuel Economy: Up to 28 city / 34 highway
  • Performance: 190 hp, 179 lb-ft of torque; 0-60 mph: 7.6 sec; top speed: 124 mph
  • Metric of your choice: Got them fancy wheels…