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15th of December 2018

Automotive



2017 Honda CR-V Touring AWD Long-Term Verdict - Motor Trend

When the CR-V entered our long-term test fleet, it was simply Honda's latest riff on America's best-selling SUV, one that immediately impressed with its sharply styled sheetmetal and intriguing new small-displacement turbo engine. But soon after joining the fleet, the CR-V competed in and won our 2018 SUV of the Year competition. That's right, after a weeklong battle in Southern California's harsh desert, it beat out Alfa's new Stelvio and Subaru's capable Crosstrek along with many other new and notable 2018 models. None of this surprised me, as I had already put thousands of miles on our tester prior to the competition and considered the CR-V a frontrunner for the Calipers. Our judges concurred, calling the CR-V "a supreme example of calm, confident composure that delivers in all categories. [None of the] others put the whole package together the way the CR-V does."

Honda CR-Vs are no strangers to long-term MotorTrend testing. This is MotorTrend's sixth long-term CR-V, with the first being a 1997 CR-V (complete with cleverly hidden picnic table) and when the previous generation won SUV of the year contest, we spent a year with a 2015 CR-V Touring AWD. We've executed long-term tests on every generation of CR-V and have watched as Honda has progressively evolved CR-V from a slightly modified JDM product to America's best-selling SUV.

View 37 Photos

My favorite part on the SUV is the capless fuel filler. On a weekly basis it made trips to gas station all the better.

With this fifth-gen CR-V, Honda has made a meaningful leap in performance dynamics, and its handling is a clear improvement over the previous model. Although it doesn't handle as well as, say, some of BMW's latest FWD-based SUVs, overall the CRV's handling is predictable, the ride is tightly controlled, impact harshness is well concealed, and the body movements are appropriately damped. Put the CVT in low, and it's possible to reach 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, 0.8 clicks quicker than the previous generation. Also improved over the last model are lateral grip and 60-mph braking, which improve by 0.04g and 4 feet. The steering, a tad on the light side, is nonetheless accurate and controlled, and coupled with a steady and sorted chassis it serves up a planted course through the turns. Lastly, hard braking results in a rear end that stays put and a vehicle that maintains straight stability.

Lots of miles suffering L.A. 's frustrating traffic were made easier inside the confines of the CR-V, and this is attributed to the vehicle's impressive Honda Sensing Suite. This semi-autonomous system of cameras and sensors is greater than the sum of its parts, and its real-world application is superior to many of the systems offered from other OEMs. Most important, this is technology that makes daily life more agreeable. In fact, whenever the freeway would come to a halt on the northbound 405, I'd simply activate Honda Sensing and let the adaptive cruise system assume the stress of stop-and-go traffic instead of me.

View 37 Photos

Yet the CR-V is not without shortcomings. The shifter is well placed, but often when shifting from sport or low up to drive, the selector will annoyingly overshoot drive and end up in neutral, resulting is an undesired rev of the engine followed by a puzzling glance at the gear selector. Other gripes include the hard to remove/clean single-piece rear floormat and the plastic trim pieces on the front and rear doors. The door trim pieces extend below the door metal and are susceptible to catching curbs and snapping their mounting brackets when closing the door. The trim even once grabbed a hunk of grass and dirt and shoveled it into the car. Lastly, this CR-V was equipped with a hands-free tailgate, and try as I might, I could rarely get it to work. Even watching a handful of YouTube videos did not help the cause. Neat idea, poor execution.

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