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2017 HONDA CR-V HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW (select to view enlarged photo)

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

There is no need for the Honda CR-V to get any better, but it went ahead and did anyway. This popular small crossover took on a complete redesigned for 2017 with noticeable enhancements inside and out – and on the road with a new turbocharged 1.5-liter engine that retains an EPA-estimated fuel economy numbers of 29 mile-per-gallon combined with all-wheel drive. You read that right.

I drove a 2017 Honda CR-V with the turbocharged 190-horsepower four-cylinder engine featuring a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and Real Time Four-Wheel-Drive. Trims are available in four grades – the base LX, EX, EX-L and Touring – with my top-of-the-line Touring trim featuring the following standards: leather-trimmed upholstery; twelve-way power driver’s seat; heated front seats; seven-inch touchscreen display; rearview camera; 4.2-inch Multi-Information Display; Driver Attention Monitor; an upgraded nine-speaker audio system; Bluetooth; CarPlay/Android Audio integration; Pandora Internet Radio; Honda Sensing Feature Suite; Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System; a hands-free access power tailgate; a moonroof; projector-beam halogen headlights; fog lights; push-button start; and eighteen-inch alloy wheels. Total price as described came to $33,695.

The CR-V looks and acts more aggressive than past models thanks to muscular styling and body underpinnings that reduce body roll. Main competitors that can appropriately compete with style, price and fuel economy are the Nissan Rogue, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: Improvements inside the cabin are felt both big and small, from better power seats to more audio speakers (subwoofers). You get even more room with 75.8 cubic feet of cargo space, making this ride perfect for those with a dog. Honda took a move right out the Ford playbook with the hands-free liftgate that opens with your foot tapping the lower bumper. My mantra with the CR-V is that it’s your best bet of all the small crossover choices because of all you can get without having to get options or go with the finest trim level. While about half of the features on the Touring trim are cut on the EX, the thing is having test driven the Escape just a few weeks earlier I still have to say even at the Touring trim, Honda’s materials still aren’t on par with Ford (the leather and wood trim are subpar). And although the infotainment graphics and ease-of-use with the media system have improved, they just aren’t as impressive as the Hyundai Tucson’s.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2017 Honda CR-V is a Top Safety Pick with the IIHS and features standard vehicle stability control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, side-curtain airbags, and Advanced Compatibility Engineering. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet rated the model year at the time of publication but it should do well.

Cost Issues: The 2017 Honda CR-V starts at $24,045 for the base LX. My loaded CR-V Touring trim test drive was $33,695 – and that includes all the you need with no alluring options. My recent 2017 Ford Escape at the mid-level SE trim was $29,975 – fully loaded it should be just a few thousand over the CR-V.

Activity & Performance Ability: While the turbo engine has more spunk and horsepower, you aren’t going to rocket yourself up hilly on-ramps. What makes the CR-V’s performance so noticeable that the 1.5-liter retained 28.8 miles-per-gallon with al-wheel drive during my week-long test drive. Note that the base model comes with the previously standard Earth Dreams Technology 185-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which makes the EX a better choice. Other makers are responding to the turbocharged call, and the Tucson has a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with a seven-speed transmission. .

The Green Concern: The Honda CR-V with the 1.5-liter engine gets an EPA-estimated 27-city and 33-highway for a combined fuel economy of 29 miles-per-gallon (I was able to get 28.8 on Eco Mode). The Ford Escape’s 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine with front-wheel drive retains 23 miles-per-gallon city and 30 highway for a combined average of 26.

Simply put, I’d call myself stupid for not choosing 2017 Honda CR-V. My technology and style preferences might lie elsewhere, but I still firmly say this vehicle is the most well-rounded crossover in its class and a sensible recommendation.

©2017 Katrina Ramser

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