The CR-V’s strongest selling point is its class-leading driver assistance features. No other SUV offers this amount of advanced technology in this price range. The Honda Sense system uses a system of cameras to offer exceptional forward automatic braking, road departure mitigation, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning systems. You also get a standard multi-angle rearview camera that makes parking easier than ever. Six full-size airbags and the strongest brakes in the segment strengthen this SUV’s safety profile. We feel this Honda compact crossover offers the best value in the compact class for the safety-concerned.
There are two different engines available in the CR-V, a 2.4 Liter non-aspirated four cylinder and a turbocharged 1.5 Liter four cylinder. Both put up similar power numbers, though the torque in the turbo is available much earlier at 2,000 rpm. This affords the upper trims a more useable power curve. The CR-V isn’t winning any drag races but a 7.6 second 0-60 mph time is peppy enough for most applications.
The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) helps deliver the power to the wheels smoothly and is one of the best CVTs in the business, it simulates shifts so you don’t feel the weirdness typically associated with this transmission type. The best part about this powertrain combination is its efficiency at an EPA rated 28 miles per gallon city and 34 miles per gallon highway, one less respectively for All Wheel Drive models. Those numbers are at the top of the segment and close to the segment leader, the RAV4 hybrid. The handling is even better than previous generations, thanks to the variable power steering and well-balanced suspension. The brakes instill confidence and are the most responsive in the segment. The CR-V offers a compliant and composed ride with excellent efficiency, enough to suit the average SUV shopper.
This Honda SUV boasts an expansive cabin that can comfortably seat up to five adults. Second row headroom and legroom are improved for this year’s redesign. Handle-operated second row releases make using the class-leading 76 cubes of cargo space a snap. While there’s still heavy use of hard plastic, the finish is contemporary and has an upscale vibe, especially in the EX-L and Touring trims. The infotainment system is one of the CR-V’s shortcomings. The operation is complex with a dizzying array of menus. Honda’s system could benefit from an overhaul by a UX designer. On the plus side, all but the LX trim include Apple Carplay and Android Auto standard, which have simpler interfaces to navigate.
The driver information display on higher trims is useful and manages the many available driver assistance features efficiently. These assistance features make the clunky infotainment system forgivable. Another helpful one many reviewers miss is the automatic brake hold feature. When you come to a stop, the brakes will hold automatically until you press the gas pedal. This is a godsend for those who live in the congested parts of the country, no more sore shins! The highlight of the interior is the Honda Sense safety sweet. The forward collision warning with automatic braking audibly warns the driver if the system thinks you’re getting too close to the vehicle in front of you, the automatic braking kicks in if you fail to respond to the warning at low speeds which makes a collision less likely. The lane-keeping assist function helps you stay in your lane at speeds higher than 45 miles per hour.
The blind spot monitoring system illuminates an icon in your mirror if there’s a vehicle present in your blind spot, if you activate your turn signal it will provide an audible warning to prevent you from cutting off the car in your blind spot. These features, while helpful, don’t replace safe driving habits so it’s important to stay vigilant and not rely on technology to prevent collisions. Previous generations of CR-Vs had a reputation for noisy cabins. This generation has drastically improved sound deadening materials and now ranks near the top of the class in eliminating road and wind noise. Overall, the CR-V provides a pragmatic interior that will suit most families’ needs.
For 2017, the CR-V features an all-new modern design. The front fascia slopes downward and outward, giving the CR-V a pointed, sleek aesthetic. The lines stretching from the rear follow a similar motif, with the exception of the roofline that slopes up momentarily before winding down towards the hood. The backside is dominated by tail lights that stretch down vertically from the roofline before turning in toward the center of the liftgate. The design is unique, yet functional as it allows excellent visibility of the turn indicators and brake lights. Below, dual exhaust tips are now standard at the rear. We think the CR-V is a great-looking compact SUV with contemporary styling beyond its budget price tag.
The Honda CR-V is an exceptionally safe compact SUV with a 5-star overall rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The latter awards top crashworthiness marks across the board, as well as a “SUPERIOR” rating for the front crash prevention technology, the highest possible. A standard multi-angle rearview camera is a costly option or unavailable in much of the competition. All models except the base LX receive “Honda Sense” safety suite, which includes lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, forward automatic braking, and road departure mitigation that uses lane markings to ensure you stay on the road. These advanced safety features are hard to find in even the most expensive SUVs, let alone a sub thirty thousand dollar CR-V. If you are involved in an accident, the CR-V will automatically notify emergency services and provide dispatch your location. This can save several minutes in a situation where each second is crucial. The CR-V is an exceptional choice for safety-conscious consumers.
The 2017 CR-V receives a 3.5 out of 5 predicted reliability rating from JD Power, lower than previous year models that received ratings of 4 and 4.5. Consumer Reports agrees and offers a lower reliability rating at 3 out of 5, noting a particularly troublesome cooling system in 2015 and earlier models. According to further research, these models have an AC compressor that is prone to seize. The seizure may cause pieces to spread to other parts of the system, requiring expensive repairs.
A known problem affecting 2012-2016 models is an oil pressure sensor that may leak oil, causing expensive engine repair if the issue isn’t identified and resolved in a timely manner. Some 2014 and earlier models have rough shifting transmissions that can be fixed by a simple transmission flush. Though this may seem like a lot of issues, the CR-V is generally more reliable than the average SUV. There are few problems outside these known issues, so you won’t be surprised by mysterious problems like some competitors. The lower than the average number of Technical Service Bulletins from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for all recent model years confirms this claim. We would still recommend the CR-V as a reliable vehicle, just be sure to have a mechanic check these known problem areas when purchasing used.
The Mazda CX-5 is an alluring alternative to the Honda CR-V and one of the hottest compact SUVs on the market. For good reason, the CX-5 is undeniably the best handling compact crossover. It offers an engaging driving experience in a segment full of average performing SUVs. However, the CR-V offers more advanced driver assistance technology and roughly ten more cubes of overall cargo space though the CX-5 does include low-speed automatic braking.
The Mazda’s infotainment system is better designed and more driver-friendly, with an intuitive interface that doesn’t distract from driving but it doesn’t yet support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Voice commands are included as well and unavailable in the CR-V. The Mazda’s stellar infotainment system is available in the base trim, while the CR-V requires an upgrade to receive a decent infotainment system.
The materials and design used in the Mazda’s cabin are higher quality, you’d think the CX-5 is much more expensive than it is when you sit inside, while the CR-V’s design doesn’t inspire much emotion. However, your adult passengers will prefer the CR-V’s ample rear seat room, the best in the class. The CR-V wins in efficiency, achieving a few more miles per gallon in both city and highway driving. The Honda also has a stronger reputation for reliability, not that the CX-5 would be much worse but it is worth noting. If you haul adults or cargo often and value practicality over performance, the CR-V is a more reasonable choice. If you’re looking for a personal or small family SUV with better driving dynamics, we’d go with the Mazda CX-5.
While the seemingly only drawback to the compact 2017 CR-V is in its lacking of engine power and for some out there with certain requirements, it can be a definite deal breaker.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a family vehicle for city or country driving that you can also depend on, won’t hurt your wallet with gas guzzling tendencies, and in the tragic case of an accident, you can count on it to keep you and your family safe, then the CR-V can’t be a more perfect SUV for you.
With countless features, high scores across the board, an interior that’s been completely redesigned to be of higher quality making it stand out for the class. There is also a handy reconfigurable center console which gives you that extra space for small items that you don’t trust back in the cargo.
Our overall impression is a very positive one. With its fun, sporty dive, luxe interior, ample cargo space and top-of-the-line safety and reliability ratings, the CR-V might be one of the best choices you can make in a compact SUV.
The base trim LX model starts at $24,045, generously equipped with a multi-angle rearview camera, Bluetooth streaming audio, 5 inch LCD screen, a digital multi-information display, and a 2.4L four-cylinder engine. Also standard is a drive-by-wire throttle system, automatic brake hold, Eco Assist System, Active Noise Cancellation, 17 inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, LED daytime running lamps, Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, multi-reflector halogen headlights with auto on/off feature, active shutter grille, power side mirrors, remote entry, fin type roof-mounted antenna, automatic climate control, rear seat heater ducts, power windows, cruise control, tilt and telescopic wheel, illuminated steering wheel mounted controls, remote fuel filler door release, capless fuel filler, rear seat center armrest, rear window defroster, speed sensitive volume control, and two power outlets. Back up sensors are available for $528.
The EX trim begins at $26,795 and adds advanced safety features: collision mitigation with automatic braking, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control with Low-Speed Follow, auto high-beam headlights, blind spot monitoring with Cross Traffic Monitor, and an upgraded driver information display that manages these features. This trim also adds Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HondaLink, SiriusXM satellite radio, SMS text message function, remote engine start, auto engine on/off, keyless entry, push-button start, improved gear ratios, 18 inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, fog lights, power moonroof, body-colored heated side mirrors with integrated turn indicators, body-colored door handles, Smart Entry system, body-colored roofline spoiler with integrated brake light, variable intermittent windshield wipers, rear privacy glass, a security system, dual-zone automatic climate control, walk away auto-lock feature, push button start, illuminated vanity mirrors, retractable cargo area cover, heated front seats, 12-way driver’s seat with power lumbar support, an upgraded 180-watt audio system with 6 speakers, and a 16.5 psi turbocharged 1.5L 4 cylinder engine. All Wheel drive costs an extra $1,270. You can purchase back up sensors for $528.
The EX-L trim adds leather seating, a programmable power tailgate, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-wrapped shift knob, automatic-dimming rearview mirror, HomeLink remote system, 4-way power adjustable passenger seat, driver seat memory function, and a 180-watt audio system with 8 speakers for $29,295. All Wheel Drive costs $1,300 on this trim level. A Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System can be installed for an additional thousand dollars. Back up sensors are available for the same price as other trims and a hands-free power tailgate sensor can be equipped for $355.
The top Touring trim has an MSRP of $32,495 and equips LED headlights with auto high beams, roof rails, hands-free tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, dual chrome exhaust tips, white ambient lighting, a 330-watt audio system with subwoofer and 9 speakers, HD radio, and Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition, Honda HD Digital Traffic, and Song By Voice. All-Wheel-Drive is available on all models for an additional $1,300.