It might not look like much, but this is one of the Japanese automaker's most important unveilings of late.
During youth, it's not uncommon to be told that the quiet and studious child will be the one that makes it to the upper echelons of society while the loud and brash will end up working at McDonalds. That isn't entirely the case when it comes to a car's price or popularity, but being boring and pedestrian works wonders for sales numbers. And sales numbers are why the Honda CR-V is one of the brand's most important vehicles, especially when stacking it up to the competition.
In 2015, Honda sold a class leading 345,647 units of the small SUV, helping it keep its reign as America's best selling SUV for the last two decades. So when it came time to refresh the CRV, you can imagine just how seriously Honda took the ordeal. Beginning with the exterior design, it's apparent that Honda went with a more edgy look that brings the CR-V's design into the present day. An aggressive-looking face makes the Honda appear serious, as if it was in a bad mood. Still, the rest of the body screams, "let's play!" Luckily it looks like it actually can play thanks to a longer wheelbase and taunt fenders. Following the industry trend, the new CR-V is a bit longer and wider, but guests will appreciate that the gains in the size budget were all spent on the interior.
Profits gained from the previous CR-V's dominance were thrown at the new interior, bringing it further up the ladder and helping the industry obscure the line between premium and base cars. Given that the definition of "fully loaded" now includes an infotainment system, heated automatic seats, USB ports, and a host of semi-autonomous driver aids and collision mitigation, we'll just go ahead and say that a new CR-V can be optioned with the full enchilada. Honda's press release stressed on the fact that a physical volume knob is made present in this model to do away with the annoying touch-sensitive slider control. That's all good and well, but the more exciting news is the new powertrain options.
Base trims get a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-banger, the first example of forced induction in the CR-V, which makes 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque. Those wanting an old-school setup can opt for the 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 184 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. Ruining the fun will be a CVT that drives either the front wheels or all four tires depending on spec, but at least it should be efficient. Honda hasn't released EPA ratings yet but it claims that it's figures will make the CR-V the class leader, and the new active grille shutters should only help that. With the mild yet important refresh taking the CR-V a few steps further, the small SUV will likely remain a sales leader by sticking to the recipe that made it great the first time.