Saturday Road Test – 2017 Honda CR-V

                          Honda CR-V Touring

                             Award Winning                                    

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD. – The awards keep coming in for this redesigned and reengineered, fifth generation Honda including a spot on Car and Driver’s 10 Best Trucks and SUV list.

 C&D cited the CR-V’s ride and handling, safety, technology, comfort, practicality and economy. U.S. News and World Report called it one of the “Best Cars for the Money.” Well, okay, it’s not a car but you get the idea.

 But there’s more. Kelley Blue Book called it one of the “Best Family Cars of 2017,” and it earned a Top Safety Pick Plus designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, its highest rating.

 There is an even longer list of awards for the CR-V in its rookie season, making it sort of the auto industry’s answer to the Yankee’s Aaron Judge.

 So what do we have here? A Touring model at the top of the trim packages that also include, from the bottom, LX, EX, and EX-L.

 All but the LX come with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four rated at 190 hp @ 5,600 rpm and 179 lb-ft of torque from 2,000 to 5,000 rpm. All models come with an improved CVT, in fact one of the better examples that I have driven.      

 For the record, this operator still prefers a six speed traditional automatic.

 Unique to the Touring are LED Headlights, Roof Rails, 18” Aluminum Alloy Wheels, Hands-Free Access Power Tailgate, and a 330-Watt Premium Audio System with Nine Speakers among other items.

 A Moonroof, Honda’s one of a kind blind spot monitor, heated outside rear view mirrors, electric parking brake, rear USB charging ports, and Walk Away Auto Lock are other desirable additions.

 On a long weekend trip to the hills of Pennsylvania it was easy to see why and how the CR-V racks up accolades like “Wonder Woman.”

 It was economical, comfortable, extremely well assembled, and quiet enough inside to almost get me in trouble. Oops, I had no idea I was at 85 in a 70. That gives you an idea of how refined the powertrain is and how reduced the noise level is inside. Fortunately the brave folks who enforce the laws were out catching other bad guys.

 Fuel economy is rated by the EPA at 27 city, 33 highway and 29 combined. I came in at 31.

 There was more than adequate power from the 1.5-liter turbo four to merge onto I-83. It and the CVT never broke sweat coping with the many steep hills in what was once coal country. Handling was above average for a compact crossover perhaps due to the fact that one of the engineers assigned to the CR-V worked on the original NSX.

 For 2017, the interior is larger with more room for adults in the second row and additional cargo hauling space, now totaling 75.8 cubic feet. In fact, Honda claims the CR-V has the most rear seat legroom in the sector.

 A volume knob was added to the 7-inch multi-function touchscreen, but frankly I found it easier to control the audio system using the steering wheel buttons. Android Auto and Apple Car Play are now accommodated.

 The feel and appearance of interior materials were that of a more expensive ride.

 Some minor glitches inside. A nice addition would have been some padding along the left side of the center console where a driver’s knee and leg rest. The blue high beam indicator light lives in the upper corner of the third instrument cluster and is buried behind the steering wheel. And a tuning knob would be a great addition to the audio system.   

 But these are offset by the many positive aspects of this new CR-V, along with Honda’s tradition of a very long operating life.

 Nicely equipped, the test CRV would appear in your driveway for $34,595 including $900 for delivery. It is a bargain in today’s market.

 Still not convinced that it is a SUV you should try out? How about this? The CR-V has been a hot seller with some 4 million purchased since it was introduced back in 1997.

 The people have spoken.

 Factoid: The new CR-V will be produced at three plants in North America – in East Liberty, Ohio; Alliston, Ontario, Canada; and, for the first time, in Greensburg Indiana.