2017 Honda CR-V Touring AWD Review – Best CR-V Ever is a Molten Lava Turbo

By Steve & Tamami Laser

With nearly four million sold in the U.S. alone, it’s tough to go anywhere without seeing a Honda CR-V. We’ve had the chance to test-drive and report on all five generations since the first model went on sale 20 year ago. After driving the all-new fifth-generation CR-V Touring AWD for a week, we think that this is the best CR-V ever.

We like the new styling that gives the CR-V a more rugged stance. A bit longer, wider and taller than the previous generation, the CR-V rides on a 1.6-inch stretched wheelbase that improves both ride quality and rear seat room.

Let’s go for a ride in the 2017 CR-V Touring in our test drive video (above). The new turbocharged engine makes it more fun to drive. (video © CarNichiWa.com)

Our top-line Touring is the only model in the lineup with LED headlights. It’s also dressed with attractive 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped with 235/60R18 all-season tires and painted our favorite color dubbed Molten Lava. Other standard features include a power moonroof, fog lights, LED taillights, rain-sensing wipers and roof rails.

The biggest improvement in our view is found under the hood. A new 1.5-liter turbocharged direct-injected 4-cylinder engine is standard on all but the base LX (that one has a normally aspirated 2.4-liter). Similar to the turbo-4 offered in the Civic, it boosts the fun-to-drive factor in the CR-V.

As the first gas turbo in an American-market CR-V (turbo-diesels have been offered in Europe and Asia), it puts out 190 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 179 lb.-ft. at 2,000-5,000 rpm. As we discuss in our test-drive video, it’s a joy to drive around town, on the steep hills in our neck of the woods and on the highway. Our tester was also fitted with Honda’s Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System™ that now can transfer up to 40 percent of torque to the rear wheels.

Our walkaround video (above) highlights exterior and interior features, the cargo and engine compartments in the CR-V Touring test car. (video © CarNichiWa.com)

All CR-V models feature a Continuously Variable Transmission with Sport Mode. A separate ECON Mode button helps to improve fuel efficiency by modifying throttle mapping and climate control operation. CR-V delivers a delightful ride thanks to its well-tuned MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension.

The redesigned, larger interior is dressed with high-quality materials including a soft-touch instrument panel and upper door panels. Leather-trimmed seats in our Touring model were supportive and comfortable on long drives. The 12-way power driver’s seat included memory settings for two drivers.

The flexible 60/40-split rear seats can be lowered using handles on the outboard tops of the seatback, or with handy one-motion release levers mounted on the side walls of the cargo compartment. With the flat floor and two-inches more legroom, there’s plenty of space to stretch out.

Accessing the cargo compartment is easy on the Touring thanks to the standard power tailgate. As we show in our walkaround video, it opens or closes with a simple press of a button on the keyfob. If hands are full, it can also be activated by kicking a foot under the bumper to trigger a motion sensor.

With the rear seats lowered, CR-V offers 75.8 cubic feet of cargo space, an increase of 4.9 cu. ft. from the previous generation. With the seats up there’s 37.6 cu. ft. for the Touring and 39.2 for other models. The two-level load floor can be left in the lower position for maximum cargo space as shown in our photo, or raised slightly to create a flat floor with the lowered rear seats.

The driver is in command of all the high-tech goodies that the CR-V Touring has to offer. Many features can be controlled using buttons on the leather-wrapped steering wheel. The instrument cluster sports a 7-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) Driver Information Interface (DII) display that includes an analog tachometer, digital speedometer and selectable information.

Controls on the left side of the steering wheel allow the driver to toggle through multiple screens including fuel economy, Maintenance Minder™, engine oil life, turn-by-turn direction, audio, standard or metric settings and more.

New to CR-V, the Driver Attention Monitor (above) continually monitors steering input to gauge the driver’s level of awareness. If it senses that the driver may be less attentive, it suggests that it’s time to take a break. (We wish it would say, “It’s time for a latte!”)

The bright centrally mounted 7-inch touchscreen has gained a volume knob (hooray!) and new Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ developed with Garmin®. Improvements include enhanced graphics, live search, speed limit display and 3D-style buildings and terrain.

CR-V’s Display Audio system is also compatible with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ when connected by a user-supplied USB cable. Although we didn’t have a chance to try it, the system includes the latest generation of HondaLink® that also offers a phone app and HondaLink Assist for emergency assistance.

As we showed in our Walkaround video, the navigation system’s search function can be operated by voice command after pressing a button on the steering wheel. We asked it to “find place” and then said “Starbucks.” We selected a store from a list of those nearby and followed the route guidance to go grab a latte.

We also liked the multi-angle rearview camera system. The driver can select three different views: normal, wide and top angles, when the transmission is shifted into Reverse. Turn the steering wheel and the dynamic guidelines will move to project the vehicle’s path.

After driving the CR-V Touring for a week and about 250 miles, we recorded fuel economy of 23.9 mpg. That’s a bit lower than the EPA ratings of 27 city, 33 highway and 29 combined. However, we made daily trips from our home at 1,200 feet to sea level and back up the steep hills again. Trip history (above) by previous drivers shows that the CR-V can do better.

Overall, we were very impressed with all the changes to the CR-V. We like the new styling, advanced technologies and comfortable interior. There’s plenty of space for passengers and cargo. The CR-V is larger than before, yet it’s still easy to drive and park.

We think that the “gold nugget” of the new CR-V is the available turbocharged engine. It really makes it much more enjoyable to drive, especially on the hills in our neighborhood.

Our well-equipped CR-V Touring AWD checked in with an MSRP of $33,695 including the standard Honda Sensing suite of safety features with Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigating Braking System, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist. Adding destination brought the bottom line to $34,595 (not including taxes, license and other fees). CR-V prices for 2017 start at $24,045 for the base LX front-drive model.

CR-V press fleet vehicle provided by American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Prices and vehicle information applies to models sold in the U.S. at the time of publication. All product information including prices, features and specifications is subject to change without notice by the automaker.

Story, photos and videos © 2017 CarNichiWa.com