by: Mike Ginsca
As SUVs go, this one has been the benchmark that all other manufacturers strive to beat and establish their models as the new benchmark. But Honda decided to up their own efforts and raise the bar with the newest generation of CR-V.
Performance – For the new generation, Honda moved with the times and put a small turbocharged engine in the CR-V. It is a 1.5L that has the exact same power output as the outgoing 2.4L form the last CR-V. The difference being is that because the new engine is turbocharged, peak torque is achieved at much lower engine speeds and for a wider range of rpms (2000 to 5000). Mated with a CVT transmission that holds the engine’s rpms at the ideal speeds, the new engine accelerates the SUV with little effort. It can get a bit “buzzy” when overtaking on a highway but under normal cruising conditions the engine is quiet and refined.
On the handling front, the Honda CR-V feels composed around corners. There is some body roll but not so much that you slide out of the seats. Steering effort is extremely light when looking for a parking spot but firms up nicely when cruising down the highway. With the optional all-wheel-drive system, the engine’s power is always sent to all 4 wheels. That’s a good thing in less than ideal weather or road conditions but not so good when just cruising on a perfectly clear highway as the extra effort to drive the back wheels uses up just that little bit more fuel. But overall with the CVT transmission and the fact that premium fuel is not required, the CR-V achieved 8.3 L/100km during my week long test drive.
Comfort – The interior comfort of the Honda CR-V is nearly perfect. The driving position is good with plenty of leg and headroom for all 6’4” of me. Occupants in the back also have a lot of head and legroom without sacrificing too much of the trunk capacity. The trunk is large and has a lot of extra compartments to store smaller items. Loading and unloading the CR-V is easy thanks to a low trunk floor and also rear doors that open to almost 90 degrees. Driving over road bumps is not too bad. You do feel that you’ve driven over a bump but it’s not so intrusive that you spill your morning coffee. The seats could do with a tiny bit more padding and some of the lower trim pieces where your legs may rest up against would benefit from being made out of a softer material rather than hard plastic.
The cabin of the CR-V has an openness feeling thanks to the large panoramic sunroof and of course the actual interior volume. The fit and finish of the dash and door panels are what you’d expect from a Honda product; no squeaks and soft to the touch. Well, soft to the touch so long as you’re touching from the center touchscreen up. As mentioned before, all the trim pieces below the touchscreen are hard plastics.
Odds and Ends – Speaking of the touchscreen, Honda’s infotainment system works but it can be drastically improved. The touchscreen itself can be a bit slow to react and the graphics just don’t feel like a 2017 product, rather a 2007 product. But Honda finally included a volume knob for the audio system which is much easier to operate than pressing buttons. It just feels more intuitive.
This particular Touring trim model came fully equipped with everything one would ever need including lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitor, and so on. For the most part all of the systems worked apart from the lane keep assist not being able to detect the lanes of the road on wet rainy nights. But to be fair sometimes a human eye can’t detect the lines on the road in those conditions either.
Overall the 2017 Honda CR-V continues to be the benchmark that all other manufacturers strive to beat. But with the updates to this new CR-V, Honda raised the benchmark a bit higher making it more difficult for others to catch up.
Thank you to Honda Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Honda.ca
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.