The Honda CR-V Is the Best Compact SUV – 2017 10Best Trucks and SUVs | Harold Zeigler Newsletter Kalamazoo MI
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Date posted: January 3, 2017

The Honda CR-V Is the Best Compact SUV – 2017 10Best Trucks and SUVs

Through five generations and more than 20 years, the Honda CR-V has become a fixture on American highways and byways through a winning combination of practicality, value, and affability. It has consistently been among the top-10 best-selling vehicles in America—across all segments—and chances are you know someone (or three) who owns one. Yet the CR-V has never been better than it is with the release of the all-new 2017 model.

Indeed, the latest CR-V is the compact crossover SUV distilled to its near-perfect essence, blending engaging dynamics, master-class interior practicality, and a pleasing demeanor into a deeply satisfying whole. The CR-V has direct, eager steering and a compliant, well-controlled ride with exemplary body discipline, and no compact crossover so ably combines useful features, safety and convenience technologies, and storage solutions with driving satisfaction as does this Honda.

Power for most versions comes from an amiable 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque, the latter available at low rpm to enable scooting around in traffic. And there’s nothing wrong with the base model’s direct-injected 2.4-liter four, an engine we like in the 10Best Cars–winning Accord, where it operates with smoothness and an eagerness to rev. Both mate to a continuously variable automatic transmission, which isn’t our favorite kind of gearbox, but Honda’s is among the best of its type. It’s programmed to imitate a conventional step-gear automatic to avoid full-throttle mooing and is otherwise imperceptible in regular use, staying in the background and letting the engine do its work of shuttling you and your stuff hither and yon.

Inside, the interior is surprisingly stylish and features nicely sculpted and supportive front seats, as well as spacious rear accommodations with plenty of room for adult-sized passengers’ knees, heads, and feet. The rest of the cabin is stuffed with clever and thoughtful touches that won’t blow you away on their own but which are deeply appreciated in daily use. The adjustable-height floor in the rear enables a flat loading surface, for example, and the single-release latches on the walls of the cargo area fold the rear seats. The dual 2.5-amp rear-seat USB ports ensure no device goes uncharged, while the configurable center console flips, slides, and stows. The rear doors open to nearly 90 degrees, the better for ingress or the loading of, say, a baby into a child seat. And so on.

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