LX models have a more rudimentary media system with a 5-inch screen, but EX models and higher feature a 7-inch screen and Honda’s Display Audio system, which has been much maligned by our editors. There is, however, a big addition for 2017 that isn’t even electronic: a volume knob.
Turns out, a volume knob is one of those things you really miss when it’s gone, and having it back feels great. This is a step in the right direction, but Honda should continue to walk that way and add another knob for tuning.
At least the multimedia system comes with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, which mitigates some of its other faults given smartphone users can swap in those interfaces if they like.
Families will also appreciate the 2017 Honda CR-V’s many charging points. There are two standard 12-volt power outlets up front, and LX models have one USB port. On the EX and higher, there’s an additional USB port for charging only in the front storage area, but the bigger addition in those models is a pair of 2.5-amp USB ports mounted below the vents on the center console. They’re powerful enough to charge tablets and hungrier smartphones — another family-friendly touch.
Cargo and Storage
The center console has been updated and provides even more useful space, with a rubberized, L-shaped tray that can be moved around to fit whatever storage needs arise. Remove the tray and the whole area can be filled — just be careful; the tray doubles as a cover, so removing it leaves items exposed.
Rear cargo room has grown slightly from last year’s model, from 37.2 to 39.2 cubic feet. The bigger change is that the 60/40-split folding backseat now folds all the way flat, creating a flat cargo area with 75.8 cubic feet of space. Thanks to the seats folding flat, Honda says there’s also an additional 9.8 inches of length from the liftgate to the front seatbacks for more than 5 feet of flat cargo space. That number is actually closer to 6 feet; I set the front seats in my normal driving position (I’m 5 feet 11 inches) and got in the back. I could lie down in the space and close the liftgate. The rear cargo area also has a two-step floor, which can be raised or lowered a few inches to fit taller objects when needed.
There is one caveat to the moveable cargo floor, however: The two-step floor can only support 220 pounds in either position, which is something owners will have to watch out for when transporting heavier items.
As of this writing, the 2017 CR-V had not been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Once it’s rated, it will replace the 2016 results in the institute’s Small SUVs category.
Honda rolls most of its top-of-the-line driver-aid technology into a package called Honda Sensing. The package includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control (with a new low-speed follow function) and road departure mitigation. Road departure mitigation uses a forward-facing camera that can tell the difference between solid or dashed lines. When the system thinks the CR-V may be headed off the road, it can use the steering and brakes to help keep the vehicle on the road.
For 2017, Honda Sensing is standard on EX and higher trims. Last year, these features came only on the Touring, and having them on more of the lineup offers much better value.
In addition to Honda Sensing, EX and above trims add even more standard safety technology, including blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams and a driver attention monitor. The only bad news is that none of these technologies are available on the LX.
Value in Its Class
The price for the 2017 Honda CR-V has gone up slightly over the 2016. The LX starts at $24,945 (including a $900 destination charge), a $200 bump over the 2016 version. The EX jumps up $600, to $27,595; EX-L models are $30,095 (up $650); and the Touring starts at $33,295 (up $200). AWD, which is offered on all trims, adds $1,300 to the price tag. Having it put the final price of my test vehicle at $34,595.
Although the base CR-V starts at a slightly higher price than base trims of the Escape and Sportage (but less than the RAV4), things look better for the Honda when you move up one trim level. The EX will be the most popular trim of the CR-V and it’s also the one I find most interesting from a value perspective. It added a lot of standard equipment for 2017 and each EX comes with the Honda Sensing safety features, the Display Audio system, USB ports and heated front seats.
To build a comparable member of the competition that matches the EX on safety technology isn’t possible. Many of the new CR-V’s safety features aren’t available on the Escape until you reach the top trim level, Titanium, where they’re part of an option package that pushes the price to $32,585. The same is true for the Sportage; its EX trim needs two option packages to get that level of safety equipment, bringing the cost to $31,790.
Only the Toyota RAV4 comes close to the Honda CR-V, offering many of the same safety features standard on all trim levels. The RAV4’s base trim, the LE, comes with Toyota Safety Sense P (which includes the same technology as Honda Sensing minus the road departure mitigation, plus pedestrian detection) and starts at $25,850. That being said, however, the current RAV4 lags behind the CR-V in pretty much every other category. I’d pay the premium and jump up to the CR-V if it were just those two on my short list.
Its long list of changes and updates make the redesigned 2017 Honda CR-V the most well-rounded compact SUV on sale today. It’s still not the best one to drive, but that’s not the biggest priority for shoppers in this class. What folks are looking for is a vehicle that’s easy to live with, and the CR-V is built to be precisely that. With tons of utility, a well-appointed cabin and charging ports galore, the 2017 CR-V looks to be, once more, the king of the mountain — for now.
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