An all-new Honda CR-V is an important event for the Canadian market. This compact crossover has always been very popular in Canada and has been a leading product in its class right from the first model back in 1995.
The fifth generation 2017 CR-V has big shoes to fill. This is a critical product for Honda and has been its best-selling utility for as long as I can remember. There are still large numbers of the original model on the streets and just about all of them I see are holding up well and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rusty one. In case you’ve always wondered, CR-V stands for “compact recreational vehicle.”
Built in Alliston, Ontario, the CR-V will do battle in the largest and fastest-growing segment in the Canadian vehicle industry – that of compact crossovers. It seems that this class of vehicle is the one favoured by most Canadian buyers nowadays.
The 2017 CR-V uses all-new sheet metal and although it has lots of curvy lines and interesting styling details like the wing-shaped LED lighting array up front, it’s not quite as wild as some of its rivals, which long time CR-V buyers will appreciate. It’s not a conservative design, but it’s not outlandish either. Let’s just say that Honda’s design team reached a very satisfying “happy medium.” Honda’s term for the look of this crossover is “sophisticated and athletic” and it’s hard to argue with that. Like just about all of its rivals (and there are many), the bodywork has a four-door, five-passenger, layout with a large hatchback (power operated as an option) to allow easy access to the generous load space.
One of the biggest changes for 2017 is the adoption of a turbocharged engine – the first ever for this model. This is really no surprise because the Honda Civic, which shares its platform with the CR-V, has gone the turbo route too. The turbo powerplant is a 1.5-litre rated at 190-horsepower, quite a punch for a compact crossover. The CR-V uses a continuously variable transmission that I’ll comment on more when I’ve tried the vehicle. Engine designs like this usually provide exceptional fuel economy and I’d expect this Honda to rate with the best in its class when statistics are announced by the federal research people. The suspension has been upgraded to provide improved handling along with better ground clearance and flatter cornering.
Previous version of the CR-V had lots of great safety features, but the 2017 model adds many more. Depending on the trim level and how the buyer uses the options list, a CR-V can feature such technologies as collision mitigation, forward collision warning, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and blind spot information with rear cross traffic monitor. It all adds up to a very safe crossover and if the worst happens, crash resistance is as good as it can be in this class and has earned a Top Safety Pick rating from the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (NHSTA).
The new CR-V should be arriving at dealers soon, including Richmond Honda at the Auto Mall and as soon as a media test vehicle is available, I’ll review the product again with a wider range of comments.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: Compact crossover with rear liftgate
ENGINE: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder turbo plus other options
TRANSMISSION: Continuously variable (CVT)
TOWING CAPACITY: 1,500-lbs
FUEL ECONOMY: TBA, (best-in-class aimed at by Honda)
PRICE: From $26,290 MSRP. Full pricing details in December