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Purists may bemoan the rise of crossovers, but they're money-printing machines. Honda's CR-V is no exception -- one of the first compact SUVs to hit the market, some 4 million CR-Vs have left dealerships since 1997. It's a very important car for Honda, which is why the fifth-generation, 2017 CR-V takes such a large step forward.
The 2017 Honda CR-V borrows its looks from all over the Honda lineup. The headlights that flow right into the grille are very close to the Civic's, and also resemble Acura's most recent headlight styling. The rear end is luxe, as well, with thin, angled taillights that appear more Volvo than Honda. The general shape is the same, but it's prettier than it's ever been before.
The interior looks much sharper, as well. Gone is the silly dual-screen setup, and in its place is a single, larger touchscreen and a pair of air vents above it. The interior also ditches the big ol' speedometer in the center of the gauge cluster in favor of a more digital affair, again mirroring the Civic. The shifter remains mounted nice and high. In the back, rear legroom is up about 2 inches.
In terms of features, the most important addition is something the Civic sorely lacks -- a physical volume knob. That knob connects to a 7-inch Display Audio touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other new cabin tech includes rear USB ports, remote engine start, dual-zone climate control and an electronic parking brake.
Two different engines will be responsible for bringing the 2017 CR-V up to speed. The base LX trim will make do with a 2.4-liter, naturally aspirated I4 engine putting out 184 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. EX, EX-L and Touring trims receive a modified version of the Civic's 1.5-liter turbocharged I4, which is good for 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque. Both engines mate to a CVT -- there is no manual available. All-wheel drive is available across the lineup.
As for safety systems, every trim except for the base LX comes standard with Honda Sensing, the automaker's suite of active and passive systems. It includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane-keep assist and road-departure mitigation. Buyers can opt for blind spot monitoring individually, as well.
When it debuts this December, it will come from one of three plants: East Liberty, Ohio; Alliston, Ontario; and Greensburg, Indiana. Pricing is still TBD.