2017 Honda CR-V Review

Bigger than ever, the new CR-V earns practicality points, but does it offer everything you want in a family SUV?

By Shahzad Sheikh

Click below to watch the full video our 2017 Honda CR-V Review

Check out the brand new 2017 Honda CR-V, and yes this is all new. In fact it’s based on the platform from the current 10th generation Honda Civic.

You may be wondering how an SUV can be based on a small saloon platform? In fact the Civic is actually longer than this car and nearly as wide. On the other hand, compared to the previous CR-V this thing is bigger than ever.

2017 Honda CR-V Review

It is the biggest CR-V so far – and from behind the wheel if feels it too. It has a 40mm longer wheelbase than before, and you’ll see where all that’s gone as soon as you get in the back.

It’s also 58mm longer and 35mm wider than the last CR-V. It’s 25mm taller in 2WD guise and 35mm taller in 4WD guise. It’s even got increased tracks – 18mm wider at the front and 33mm at the back.

2017 Honda CR-V Review

Some of this may come as a surprise, because you’re probably thinking it looks pretty much the same as the old car. Some have even said to me – ‘it’s just a facelift isn’t it?’ – Nope it certainly isn’t.

The front and rear lights jut far more aggressively into the profile, the waistline is much more pronounced – giving the car a more muscular stance especially thanks to those flared rear wheel arches – and whilst the heavy underbite remains at the front, the headlight and grille arrangement is much tighter and sharper.

2017 Honda CR-V Review

It’s good-looking enough, with reasonable presence and yet still there’s a comfortable familiarity about it.

As there is with the engine since we get a 2.4-litre four cylinder – the same engine capacity as before. However this is a direct injection engine – Earth Dreams, they call it. It puts out 184bhp and 180lb ft of torque at 3900rpm but its mated to a CVT. Sadly we don’t get the more sophisticated and powerful 1.5 Turbo they do in the States. Not yet anyway.

2017 Honda CR-V Review

It starts at AED89,900 ($25k) for the 2WD LX, rises to 99,900 ($27k) for the LX Plus – also 2WD. Then the mid-range car is the 4WD EX Plus at 113,900 ($31k) and the range-topper featured on this page is the 4WD Touring at 125,900 ($34k).

Even in the base car you’ll get Cruise control, rear camera, a 5-inch centre screen, plus ABS, traction control and hill start, but only a 4-speaker stereo and no rear USB plug.

2017 Honda CR-V Review

EX and Touring models get Lanewatch – which pulls up a rear-side view from the passenger’s side on the centre screen, which is a 7-inch screen – plus USB plugs (plural!) 8-speaker stereo, and dual zone AC on the EX and Multi Zone on this Touring, which also by the way, gets this leather upholstery.

The CR-V is America’s bestselling SUV, has been for years, and practicality is important. Unsurprisingly then it has an ample and usable cargo area, although without the generous underfloor area you might have been expecting.

2017 Honda CR-V Review

The best news though is in the rear passenger compartment. Yes it has the USBs and AC vents – at least on this spec – but what they all get as standard is the amazing rear legroom and remarkably roomy second row seating. It’s not just the kids that will love it, any full-size adults you have to carry will find room to stretch out a bit – if I could, you can too!

Up front it’s also just exactly about as comfortable as you’d expect and all the controls make typically Honda-like good sense. The centre console is very clever, with a removable divider in cubby box allowing for several different configurations. It’s well thought out and usable.

2017 Honda CR-V Review

On the go then and the CVT is generally fine and mostly indiscernible unless you try to call up full acceleration. Throttle to maximum means the transmission gives up its imitation changes and resorts back to a stretched-out laboured drone to keep the torque on the boil.

The handling is also as you’d expect, competent and safe rather than exciting. But it’s an easy car to handle and manoeuvre, despite the obvious extra scale, which is certainly more apparent from the captain’s chair, but thankfully quite manageable.

2017 Honda CR-V Review

Apart from the lane-watch system – which personally I never use – there aren’t really many other driver’s aids in this car – no lane-keep, active cruise or auto-braking and certainly nothing like ‘auto-pilot’ for highway hauling. At the top-end money, that’s a little surprising, not that I miss any of that stuff personally, but some customers might.

The Touring trim is the one you want. But it gets pricey. So a mid-range CR-V is what you’d most likely be looking at, with a large number of customers opting for front-wheel drive only versions, though I’d still choose a 4WD version, even though this is not exactly a weekend dune-basher.

2017 Honda CR-V Review

It’s a safe, sensible, reliable choice in the sector. Something of a standard bearer, and you’d never be making a mistake in buying a Honda CR-V. But it needs to keep a close eye at its rivals, not just from China and Korea, but even from America as with the likes of the Chevrolet Equinox.

For Imthishan’s first drive review from the UAE launch, click below


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