Feb 132017

The reasons why the CR-V and Civic have been top sellers for Honda are many. Offering families the versatility they need as well as value they seek explains how the CR-V became the best-selling SUV in America for the past 20 years, selling nearly four million models in the United States since it was introduced in 1997. For its part, the Civic offers an affordable and fuel-efficient option for a daily driver. Honda chose to introduce the all-new 2017 version of the CR-V in Monterey, California, a fitting backdrop for its popular compact sport utility vehicle (SUV). For the Civic, also a favorite among Latinos, Honda marked the return of a body style that has been anticipated for years, the hatchback. Latino Traffic Report attended the launch of both, beginning with the 2017 Civic Hatchback in San Francisco.

Honda Civic Hatchback

It’s been more than 25 years since the Civic offered a hatchback version, some would say its return has been long overdue. Available in five trims: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L Navi, and Sport Touring, the body style will be added to the tenth generation of the Civic, joining the sedan and coupe.

As a five-door hatch it offers more versatility than a coupe or sedan, including a best-in-class cargo capacity of 25.7 cubic feet of room and an innovative cargo cover that retracts to the side rather than from the top for added convenience.

Happily, it comes with a six-speed manual transmission, as well as a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Both are matched to the same 1.5-liter in-line four cylinder turbo with 174 horses (horsepower jumps to 180 on the Sport and Sport Touring trims) that also powers certain CR-V trim levels.

The best fuel economy comes from the CVT matched to the turbo with an EPA estimated fuel economy of 31 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. The base model manual should achieve one mpg less. The Sport and Sport Touring versions will achieve a little less than that. The model I drove, however, achieved an average fuel efficiency of 39.3 mpg.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback

The six-speed manual, however, really ramps up the fun-to-drive experience of the hatchback, but what’s even better is that it’s available on two trim levels, the base (LX) and the Sport. That means that while one version may be fairly basic, the second can be upgraded with more technology and options, like Honda Sensing on the LX, a suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies that includes the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Forward Collision Warning integrated with the CMBS, and Adaptive Cruise Control  with Low-Speed Follow or steering wheel paddle shifters and 18-inch alloy wheels on the Sport. Honda’s version of a blind spot monitor, LaneWatch, is standard on the EX trim and above, which excludes the LX and Sport.

Still, standard features on all hatchbacks include the Eco Assist system to improve fuel economy, a multi-angle rearview camera, cruise control, and a 60/40 split rear seat that folds down, among other features.

Pricing for the 2017 Civic Hatchback starts at $20,575.

Honda CR-V

For 2017, Honda designers opted to sharpen design cues on the CR-V’s extrerior rather than take a radical approach, starting with the headlamps. The hood is also longer while the rear receives a shorter overhang, elongated LED taillights, and new dual exhaust outlets. Its wheelbase also grows by 1.6-inches.

No family vehicle is complete without a discussion of safety features and the CR-V has a story to tell. For the first time it will offer (except on the base model) both Road Departure Mitigation and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow. Additional new available driver-assistive features that could be considered must-haves include a Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, Blind Spot Information System, Auto High-Beam and the all-new Driver Attention Monitor.

Adding convenience, the available Hands Free Access Power Tailgate that automatically opens and closes the tailgate by simply swiping your foot to activate a sensor under the rear of the vehicle is a Honda-first. Hauling is made easier with the new one-motion dive-down 60/40-split rear seat that falls softly when deployed rather than slamming down like so many others.

Honda offers two available engines on the 2017 CR-V beginning with its first ever turbocharged, 1.5-liter in-line four-cylinder engine with an EPA estimated fuel economy of 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway when equipped with front wheel drive (FWD). The second engine option, a 2.4-liter direct-injected i-VTEC with Variable Timing Control powers the base model and should earn an EPA city/highway estimated fuel economy of 26/32 mpg when equipped with FWD. Both engines are mated to a CVT with Honda G-Shift control logic. The Active Shutter Grille system that lowers aerodynamic drag and helps improve fuel economy is another Honda-first. We averaged 31.3 mpg on the test drive.

Like the Civic hatchback, every 2017 CR-V is equipped with a green ECON button located on the center console near the shift lever. Activating the ECON mode helps improve fuel efficiency by modifying throttle mapping and HVAC operation.

All-wheel-drive (AWD) models feature an upgraded Real Time AWD system with a significant increase in maximum rear-wheel torque delivery.

Pricing for the 2017 CR-V starts at $24,985.

The redesigned CR-V and all-new Civic hatchback will please their enthusiastic and loyal customers as well as appeal to new fans.


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