New and improved

New and improved

The 2017 Honda CRV

The completely redesigned 2017 Honda CR-V could easily have been a case of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." After all, its predecessor was still selling at a class-leading clip, so there was no pressing reason to change course. We would have understood if Honda made some superficial design tweaks and called it a day. But No! Honda decided to go for a complete makeover... right from ground up!

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The bold new styling has taken the CR-V from anonymous to awesome. It now boasts of a more premium interior, and a host of new features and technologies that will see it sailing through the next few years without hiccups. All while targeting the highest levels of quality and driving refinement in its class with steering precision, ride comfort, body control and cabin quietness. Add it all up and you've got a strong contender for best-in-class honours. The CR-V has long been a champ in the sales and sensibility columns, but now it's poised to be a winner on the merits, too.

The Outside

The CR-V’s new windswept front-end appearance is complemented by the wide muscular fenders, athletic wheel arches, a longer wheelbase and short rear overhang.

Also featured in is a Honda Sensing suite of safety countermeasures on the EX and higher trims that add some shoulder to the styling, and an altogether more serious and imposing face.

It gets LEDs for the taillights, daytime running lights, and turn signals are another clue that this is the new car - as are the optional full-LED headlight clusters.

Front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension utilize specially tuned low-friction dampers.

Wheel options in 17 inches (DX and LX grades) and 18 inches (EX and Touring Grades)

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The Luxury

The 7-inch touch screen Display Audio is compatible with Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto platforms, including smartphone powered GPS navigation and voice controlled search capabilities.

With the all-digital TFT cluster, the tachometer becomes a band at the top, and the speedometer is a digital readout.

Passengers get a little more space, thanks to a 1.6-inch wheelbase stretch, which gives rear-seat occupants another 2.1 inches of legroom. Likewise, the cargo area grows nearly 10 inches longer with the rear seats folded;

The curb weight of the Honda is between 3300 to 3500 pounds depending on the trim and driveline.

The Technology

The Honda LANEWATCH feature in EX and Touring grades, uses a camera located in the passenger door mirror to display an image of the lanes and any vehicles that are on the lane on the Display Audio screen.

The 2017 CR-V utilizes an Electronic Brake Booster (EBB), which replaces the vacuum Brake Booster. The EBB motor is controlled by a microprocessor that monitors the vehicle speed as well as the pressure the driver applies to the brake pedal, building hydraulic pressure more quickly and with less pedal effort in all braking situations.

The Driver Attention Monitor is designed to detect driver fatigue and alert the driver when exhibiting diminished attention to the road with a series of visual and audio alerts.

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The Engine bit

You can have one of two engines but only one transmission, which is a continuously variable automatic (CVT). The base LX uses the 2.4-liter twin-cam direct-injected inline-four from the Honda Accord, delivering 184 horsepower and 180 lb-ft, while a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft goes into the EX, EX-L, and Touring models.

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The drive

A stiffer steering column and fluid-filled suspension bushings deliver both better ride compliance and more precise path control allowing drivers to hold corners with total confidence. The CR-V’s automatic is continuously variable on paper but feels like a conventional step-gear transmission in motion. It could be said that the Honda CVT gives us the best of both worlds: step-gear familiarity combined with continuous variability that is invisible to the driver.

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The Verdict

The new CR-V’s three best assets are that it seems rather quiet for this class, showing excellent cabin isolation; the steering is typically Honda terrific; and the interior is generous enough that some people eyeing larger SUVs might be lured into the CR-V, thereby enjoying the side benefits of better gas mileage and easier parkability. The 2017 CR-V has a more sophisticated and athletic presence then its predecessor. Perfectly straddling the line between bold design and modern sophistication, this is the perfect SUV for any lifestyle.

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© COPYRIGHT ARABIA MOTORS AUGUST 2017

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