Barely a week after Honda announced its CR-V compact crossover posted an all-time U.S. sales record for the month of September, the company revealed an all-new, fifth-generation 2017 CR-V that is larger than the outgoing vehicle, somewhat lighter and offers a turbocharged engine for the first time. Honda said the 2017 CR-V will be in U.S. showrooms in December.
With crossover models threatening to eclipse sales of perennially best-selling sedans in many car companies’ model lineups, the CR-V is increasingly important in Honda’s cosmos, said John Mendel, Executive Vice President of American Honda, at a press briefing in Detroit. In September 2016, sales for the incumbent CR-V surpassed Honda’s Accord and Civic passenger cars—and the CR-V’s year-to-date sales of 263,493 brushed ahead of Accord and trailed by just 20,000 units the Civic, which itself is experiencing one of its strongest-ever sales years.
New platform, more space
Although Honda had yet to provide all technical details, the 2017 CR-V’s vehicle architecture is claimed to be all-new and extends wheelbase to 104.7 in. (2659 mm)—a 1.6-in. (41 mm) stretch over the outgoing CR-V—while the new model’s overall length of 180.6 in. (4587 mm) is 1.2 in. (30 mm) longer.
At 73 in. (1854 mm) wide, the 2017 CR-V is also 1.4 in. (36 mm) wider than the current-generation model. Jeff Conrad, Senior Vice President of the Honda division of American Honda, said the new 2017 CR-V has 2 in. (51 mm) more rear-seat legroom and will claim class-leading interior volume, including a cargo area that is 10 in. (254 mm) longer than before.
Lightweighting remains an industry mantra and despite the new CR-V’s increased size, Honda has somewhat reduced weight for its newest compact crossover. A base 2017 CR-V LX with front-wheel drive weighs 3358 lb (1523 kg)—roughly 51 lb. (23 kg) lighter than a comparable current-generation CR-V. At the top of the lineup, an all-wheel drive Touring model, at 3512 lb (1593 kg), comes in 112 lb (51 kg) lighter than its 2016 counterpart. Honda said 14% of the new CR-V structure/body is comprised of high-strength steel.
First-ever turbocharged power
The 2017 CR-V LX—the base level of four-trim lineup—uses the carryover naturally-aspirated direct-injection 2.4-L inline-4 that delivers a claimed 184 hp (137 kW) and 180 lb·ft (244 N·m). But the CR-V EX, EX-L and Touring models are standard with a turbocharged 1.5-L unit that generates 190 hp (141 kW) and 179 lb·ft (243 Nm). The 2017 model marks the first use of a turbocharged engine for the CR-V.
The new engine, which first was fitted for the current Civic lineup, features a mono-scroll Mitsubishi turbocharger capped at 16.5-psi (1.1 bar) boost pressure and a large resonance chamber atop the engine that is unique to the CR-V application. The engine has a 10.3:1 compression ratio and while Conrad said Honda expects best-in-class fuel-economy ratings, the company was not yet prepared to specify the figures and “top class” acceleration at the media debut.
The only available transmission is a continuously-variable automatic; the LX model gets a 5.05:1 final-drive ratio, while all other models use a 5.64 final-drive. Front- or all-wheel-drive will be available for all 2017 CR-V trim levels and towing capacity for all models remains 1500 lb (680 kg).
Higher refinement, more electronic safety
Conrad said Honda decided to increase the luxury and refinement quotient for the new CR-V, making standard higher-grade trim and a variety of electronic and convenience features.
A rearview camera (required by U.S. regulations for May 2018) is standard for all models; guidelines are dynamic for all but the LX. And all but the LX come standard with the company’s Honda Sensing suite of electronic safety features (forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, collision-mitigation automatic braking).
Further increasing the safety content, all CR-Vs but the LX also are fitted with blind-spot warning, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic high-beam headlight control.
The new CR-V will be built in three plants in North America: East Liberty, OH and Alliston, Ont., Canada, which build the current model. Honda is adding CR-V production for the first time at the company’s assembly plant in Greensburg, IN.