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Crossovers are about as boring as the name we’ve given them. As such, most people can’t distinguish which one is theirs in a Costco Parking lot and therefore relying on the panic button to come to the rescue. Honda, for years has been contributing to this lack-lustering market since 1995; since then, we’ve seen four-generations of what they call the CR-V pass by never earning a second glance but somehow gained the hearts of their faithful customers. Perhaps it was its simplicity and reliable charm.

As time moves forward, cars keep getting bigger and since the CR-V shares the same underpinnings as the Civic, the CR-V has grown out several inches much like most of our waistband. As we settled behind the wheel with a high altitude seating position and a full 360-degree surrounding view – we’d say, yeah it has grown up quite a bit.

Styling is definitely its strong suit this go around, receiving more lines and disguising curves. The CR-V pronounces a more premium, grown up stance than ever before. Standard across the board, the CR-V rides on 17-inch wheels verses the old school days of steel wheels and plastic cover. It also comes standard with LED daytime lights that visually sets it apart from the competition. Our sampled $34,595 Touring however spiced things up with stunning LED headlights, 18-inch directional wheels, and signature LED rear taillights that will stand out from any lost shopping mall wonderer.

For the most part, the interior of the CR-V falls in line with what is expected out of this modern world. The three-dimensional design is very crisp and ergonomic. The use of materials feels much higher than its price point, even the faux wood looks every bit the part. The virtual instrument cluster adds a nice touch too, considering it isn’t something you see a lot of.  Honda methodology isn’t to offer options, but the next trim up – this way, you can get exactly what you want and later on helps retain resale value. The Touring here, being the top of the trim scale has everything we’d want out of a thirty-four thousand dollar car – the power adjustable, heated, leather seats provide relaxed support, the touch screen infotainment system is quick to the touch, has Apple CarPlay/Andriod Auto and now features a volume knob which should fix everyone from complaining about that now.  

With the CR-V growing in every direction, this does make for excellent interior volume. The seats are largely comfortable for all passengers, rear occupants get entertained with commodious leg, head, and shoulder room. This of course offers excellent cargo capacity through the power lift tailgate and easy to fold 60/40 split seats by the pull of lever.

Performance comes in two variants – the base $24,045 LX gets a carried over 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder and for reasons we don’t understand, it lost 1 of its horses making it now 184-horsepower. Newly added for 2017 is the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder taken from the Civic. It develops 6 more horses over the naturally aspirated for 190-horsepower. This 1.5-liter comes standard on all the trim levels apart the aforementioned LX.  Both are connected through a continuous variable transmission also known as a CVT which is one continuous gear verses a tradition six-speed we’d find in most cars.

Even though performance numbers increased from the processors with 0-60 in just under 8-seconds – the CR-V is not a speed demon by any standards. In fact, its 190-horsepower engine is just enough to move around town without feeling the need to hurry. It ushers to speed smoothly with a whine from the CVT and happily maintains speed with other motorist. Ultimately the CR-V feels like a heavier version of the Civic. We felt very commanding but really there was no enthusiasm to be had. After all, it is a crossover. Steering is overly numb with no feedback or road presence. It’s electrically boosted system however provides some weight in its motions that feel very controllable and nimble to move around parking lots. The suspension is as soft as a freshly groomed poodle leaving no indications of the roads imperfections.

The only drawback to the CR-V is the partnership between the turbo and the CVT transmission. It works in the Civic because the Civic is a light enough car – the CR-V is a bit more heavier causing significant turbo lag under extreme acceleration. Pairing this with the CVT meant it wasn’t able to provide a smooth transitions of power, we had to wait for the turbo and CVT revolutions to build.  As long as it’s not rushed, it shouldn’t be a problem.

It comes as no surprise the amount of tech and safety that is found in our CR-V Touring. This top range CR-V has everything to insure road safety, calling it Honda Sensing. This system offers Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, and Road Departure Mitigation. Unlike certain brands, we like what Honda has done here with the assist features – Lane Departure Assist helps maneuver you back into your lane while Mitigation can help control the steering wheel to avoid an accidental departure – the mitigation system is completely separate and can be turned on an off easily by a button on a steering wheel – we like that! Apart from Honda Sensing, the CR-V does also include Blind Spot Monitoring, Back-Up Camera, Remote Start, Rear Cross Traffic Detection, Automatic High Beams and Rain Sensing Wipers.

Crossovers don’t have to be boring, the new CR-V is proving that theory. We’re pleased to see Honda stepping over its boundaries without sacrificing its customer loyalty. The CR-V certainly hits a home run with its new styling, modern tech and updated performance – we only hope its loyal customers agree.   

Vehicle Specifications:
2017 Honda CR-V Touring: $33,695
As Tested (including Options & Destination): $34,595
Performance Specs:
1.5-liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder – 190-Horsepower, CVT Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±8.0 seconds
EPA MPG: 27/33/29 (City/Highway/Combined) – SSB Average:  23.3 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±340 Miles