Why It Matters: The CR-V has sat atop the growing compact-crossover sales heap for the past several years, but its lead is eroding as new competitors arrive with more-advanced technology features and improved driving dynamics. The Ford Escape and the Toyota RAV4, for instance, are ahead of the CR-V in the sales race so far in 2016. With this redesigned CR-V, Honda surely will be looking to take back its crown, with class-leading fuel-economy figures, tech offerings, interior space, and—if the new Civic’s great chassis is any indication—driving dynamics. It’ll have to beat the Mazda CX-5, our current favorite among small crossovers, in that regard.
Platform: The new Honda Civic’s modular chassis, which will also underpin the next-generation Accord sedan. The current CR-V’s 103.1-inch wheelbase will likely grow, possibly to match the 2016 Civic sedan’s 106.3-inch wheelbase. Also expect changes to the Civic’s basic architecture to accommodate mechanicals for the all-wheel-drive system that will be optional for the CR-V.
Powertrain: With Honda’s push into turbocharged technology, the Civic’s new 174-hp 1.5-liter turbo four will probably be the CR-V’s standard engine. It may be tuned for more emphasis on low-rpm torque for use in the heavier CR-V (the current model’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder makes 185 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque). Although the Civic lineup will soon offer a six-speed manual paired with this engine, a continuously variable automatic transmission will likely be the only choice for the CR-V. As before, front-wheel drive will be standard with all-wheel drive available as an option.
Competition: Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester
Estimated Arrival and Price: Look for the new CR-V to arrive sometime in 2017 as a 2018 model. Pricing shouldn’t change much compared with the current CR-V, which starts at $24,645 for a FWD LX and ranges up to $34,295 for a loaded, AWD Touring model, although the possible third-row option could drive the stickers higher for those packages that include it.