2017 Honda CR-V: AutoGuide.com Utility Vehicle of the Year Contender

AutoGuide.com gathered five of the most significant utility vehicles for the 2017 model year for our annual Utility Vehicle of the Year evaluations. This year, our contenders are the Kia Sportage, Jaguar F-Pace, GMC Acadia, Audi Q7 and Honda CR-V. There was no hard price cap on this year’s entrants, but we tried to make sure none of them were extravagantly priced. We will release a new video on each contender every day leading up to April 13, when we announce our winner. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out our Car of the Year and Truck of the Year series.

The Honda CR-V may be a staple of the compact crossover segment, but it’s not one of AutoGuide.com’s Utility of the Year finalist simply out of respect. It deserves to be here.

Like virtually every other version of the CR-V since its introduction back in 1997, there’s nothing sexy about this new version. And like all its predecessors over the past 20 years, that will do nothing to hinder sales. What you see is what you get with Honda’s compact crossover, and this time around, what you see is a well-rounded package that has been improved on all fronts in a bid to keep the CR-V atop this increasingly competitive heap.

While the existing 2.4-liter engine carries over in base LX trim in the U.S. (that engine is no longer available in Canadian-spec CR-Vs), the big news here is the turbocharged 1.5-liter that’s made its way under the CR-V’s hood. Borrowed from the Civic, the 1.5-liter makes a similar amount of power to the base 2.4-liter engine — the turbo version makes 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque compared to 184 horsepower and 180 lb-ft — though fuel economy improves only marginally. The turbo engine doesn’t feel perhaps quite as perky as it could, instead offering rather placid performance, the continuously-variable transmission it’s been paired with should shoulder much of the blame.

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While a little rigid and truck-like, the fourth-generation CR-V offers a tremendously smooth ride aided by its new suspension that features struts up front and a multi-link setup around back, and fluid-filled bushings at all four corners. Its cabin is also impressively quiet, a product, no doubt, of the active noise cancellation system that’s standard across the trim range.

Joining the inclusion of noise cancellation is a laundry list of standard and available features including a touchscreen infotainment system that features smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the Honda Sensing safety suite, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and collision mitigation braking, among others. It’s a well-rounded package of safety tech that puts the CR-V on the same playing field as many of the premium offerings on the market.

ALSO SEE: 2017 Ford Focus RS Wins AutoGuide.com Car of the Year Award

Enlarged this time around, the CR-V features even more room for cargo and rear seat passengers than in its predecessor. Second-row legroom has jumped to an impressive 40.4 inches (1,026 millimeters), while cargo volume has also grown, eclipsing the outgoing model’s mark to hit 39.2 cu-ft (1,110 liters). That means more legroom in the backseat than the larger Honda Pilot — albeit the Pilot does accommodate a third row — while cargo volume isn’t far from the Pilot with its third row folded away despite the CR-V’s much smaller dimensions.

When it comes to pricing, the CR-V remains modest for what it offers. A base LX version is priced at a reasonable $24,045 ($26,690 in Canada), though it only puts power to its front wheels, while a CR-V Touring with the full kit, including all-wheel drive, has a sticker price of $33,695 ($38,090 in Canada). But perhaps most impressive about that top-trim pricing is that it undercuts the Kia Sportage, albeit only slightly, while including desirable features like adaptive cruise control. Add it all up and the 2017 Honda CR-V brings all the necessary ingredients that are sure to keep it chugging along atop the segment for years to come.