Not resting on its laurels with the CR-V, Honda introduced a completely redesigned model of its mainstay crossover SUV for 2017. It features a bolder look that's quite a departure from its previous low-key ho-hum style. Honda also adjusted how the CR-V drives, giving it a wider stance, a higher ride height, and a revised suspension. And Honda addressed the biggest shortcoming of the CR-V: the engine that powers it. The LX base model still gets the 2.4-liter 185-hp four-cylinder, but a new 190-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged engine comes in the EX trim and above. It might only offer a 5-hp increase, but the way it delivers its power from low rpm transforms how the CR-V drives. The family-friendly crossover exhibits decent agility with control and smooth ride comfort.
The rest of the offering remains much the same, including the option of all-wheel drive over the standard front-wheel drive, a standard automatic transmission, and a comprehensive list of standard equipment across all trim levels. That said, the new engine is so appealing, we recommend the EX trim or above. The EX offers a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™, an upgraded rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, larger 18-inch alloy wheels, and some standard active driver aids including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and intervention, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. All the driver aids make the EX our minimum recommended model, though if you want to spend more, the EX-L and top-of-the-line Touring add more upmarket equipment. Honda's pragmatic CR-V got a lot more desirable in 2017.