1st turbo adds kick to larger Honda CR-V

The 2017 Honda CR-V Touring model at Barker Reservoir near Nederland. (Bud Wells photos)

As well-mannered as ever, the 2017 Honda CR-V has grown a bit and, for the first time, has embraced a turbocharged power source.

A bigger stance and wraparound grille/headlights assembly lends a more aggressive look to the new CR-V. The ’17 redesign is 1 ½ inches longer, wider and taller than last year’s model, yet the new one has shed 100 pounds of heft. A wider track lends improved handling.

Complementing the lighter weight is a new, direct-injection turbocharged engine with a continuously variable transmission generating 190 horsepower. The small, 1.5-liter power source produces an EPA estimate of 27/33 miles per gallon for the compact SUV crossover.

The all-wheel-drive review model’s dark olive metallic finish looks almost black in a shaded parking position; in the bright sunlight, though, it takes on an interesting tint of green.

The CR-V carried Jan and me through Lyons and over Colo. 7’s twists and turns to Colo. 72 at Raymond and Peaceful Valley and on to Nederland. The roadway was more lightly traveled than we would have imagined for a Sunday holiday.

Mother’s Day dinner was German fare at the Black Forest restaurant in Nederland, where longtime owners and operators Bill and Kay Lorenz were busy, not only helping to serve but mingling and visiting with the diners. Jan and I have enjoyed their friendliness on a number of occasions in the 17 years of their operation there.

My style of descent from Nederland to Boulder through Boulder Canyon is best served by a traditional transmission with manual mode and paddle shifters; dropping into 4th or 3rd or 2nd gear and maintaining safe speed and secure cornering without touching the brakes. This, of course, isn’t accommodated with Honda’s CVT transmission, so brake use was more prevalent.

The continuously variable transmission is all in the name of improved miles per gallon, and the CR-V delivered an average of 29 for the Sunday drive and some stop-and-go in-town driving.

The redesign for ’17 included the CR-V’s interior, which is more upscale, with softer materials trimmed with imitation wood. High-tech features have been added to the 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system.

The roomy compact crossover offers plenty of rear-seat legroom and 39 cubic feet of cargo space, served by a power liftgate. It’s a hands-free operation at the rear, and by swinging a foot beneath the rear bumper, access is gained.

The new CR-V Touring review model, assembled in Alliston, Ontario, Canada, carries a sticker price of $34,595, including leather seats, premium audio with nine speakers and subwoofer, navigation, Bluetooth and Pandora, adaptive cruise and power moonroof.

Lane-keeping assist, which nudges the vehicles back toward its driving lane, is among new safety features for the CR-V.

CR-V pricing for a base LX model with AWD begins about $26,300. Base engine is a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder.

The CR-V is locked in a tight sales race this year with the Nissan Rogue compact crossover. The only vehicles outselling the CR-V and Rogue thus far this year are the Ford F150, Chevy Silverado and Ram pickups.