Leaving panache to the show ponies, Honda’s new CR-V is all about making sense to the family buyer. Not that it doesn’t look good and drive beautifully.
There is a sharp dynamic look to the all-new Honda CR-V body architecture, a sense of nicely proportioned style that thankfully also carries through to the smart interior presentation. It’s a good place to start an evaluation of this Honda, because the development work has focused on the user-friendly cabin features as much as the refreshingly stylish presentation.
Medium-size SUVs are designed to target family practicality, and the 2017 CR-V takes this to a new level with well-thought-out features. Stretched slightly in overall external dimensions, including a 40mm-longer wheelbase, the interior is now cavernous, easy to access and for the most part thoughtfully engineered.
Starting from the back, there’s a power tailgate that can be easily programmed using the closure button and set to any desired opening – ideal in low garages or confined carparks. The load area is well lit, there are levers inside the tailgate to remotely fold the 60/40-split back seat, the floor is firm and flat right through to the front seats and the floor height is low for easy loading or pet access with no internal load lip. And other manufacturers take note, there’s a full-size alloy spare wheel underneath, in all models including the seven-seater!
Rear-seat passengers are also notably well catered for, with ample leg and head room, even for larger adults, and access is a breeze with rear doors that open to 90 degrees. Features include rear-seat air vents, overhead lighting and two USB charging points for accessories or games. Rear-seat comfort for adults is also enhanced by the ability to slide your feet under the front seat so your legs rest fully on the seat cushion, but width-wise it’s still a little tight for three.
The wide rear-door opening helps when dealing with children and child seats, with the bonus of superior ISOFIX anchorages, but the top tether points are poorly positioned in the roof panel. This is less of an issue with our five-seat VTi-S test car but totally impractical in the new seven-seater, as the child seat would put a strap and a hazardous metal mounting bracket directly above a child sitting in the third row. The seven-seat version, available in VTi-L spec only, results in a higher load floor and the second-row seats slide (by up to 150mm) to allow for third-row passengers. It provides extra overhead ventilation for all rear occupants.