2017 Honda CR-V Disappoints in Real MPG City Results, Exceeds EPA Highway Rating

Putting Into Perspective the 2017 CR-V's Underwhelming ... and Impressive Real-World MPG Results

Putting Into Perspective the 2017 CR-V's Underwhelming ... and Impressive Real-World MPG Results

One of the 2017 Honda CR-V’s many positive marks is its EPA-rated fuel economy — the best-selling crossover is quicker than almost everything in its class yet also manages respectable efficiency. But is it too good to be true? Yes and no. Running a 2017 Honda CR-V Touring AWD with the 1.5-liter turbo-four through the Motor-Trend-exclusive Real MPG tests yielded 21.9 mpg (10.7 L/100km)in the city, 34.2 mpg (6.9 L/100km)on the highway, and 26.1 mpg (9 L/100km) combined.

Those numbers are very disappointing and simultaneously impressive, depending on how you look at it.

First, though, a little about Real MPG. Our efforts with Real MPG involve hooking up a $150,000 USD gas analyzer on test cars on a set route that includes city and highway sections — the end result is another efficiency data point that provides a real-world look at how some vehicles perform, and it’s something you’ll only find at Motor Trend.

Most 2017 CR-Vs will be powered by the 1.5-liter turbo-four with 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque. Like the base LX model that uses the last-gen CR-V’s naturally aspirated 2.4-liter I-4, the turbocharged EX and Touring models use a CVT that makes for smooth driving. And with that turbo, the CR-V is remarkably quick for a spacious crossover — in fact, the 2017 CR-V would have been the second quickest model in that 2016 comparison, behind a six-cylinder Jeep Cherokee. EPA-rated fuel economy for the turbocharged CR-Vs is 27/33 mpg (8.7/7.1 L/100km) city/highway with all-wheel drive and 28/34 mpg (8.4/6.9 L/100km)with front-wheel drive. Our test vehicle was a loaded CR-V Touring AWD, so compare its 27/33 mpg (8.7/7.1 L/100km) EPA result with the Real MPG of 21.9 and 34.2 (10.7 and 6.9 L/100km).

That the 21.9 mpg number is so far below the 27 mpg (8.7 L/100km)estimate suggests how some small-displacement turbo engines may be especially sensitive to different driving styles. Again keeping in mind our comprehensive 2016 Big Test comparison of small crossovers, that result would have been mid-pack in the test. Add in the incredible Real MPG highway result of 34.2 mpg, and the combined 26.1 mpg number would have been second in that nine-vehicle matchup, ahead of every competitor except the 2016 Toyota RAV4 AWD that came in at 26.8 mpg (8.8 L/100km), actually above its EPA estimates. The 2016 CR-V Touring AWD in that comparison — using the 2.4-liter I-4 now powering the 2017 CR-V LX — put out Real MPG results of 21.8/28.2 (10.8/8.3 L/100km)( city/highway, and 24.3 mpg (9.7 L/100km) combined; so, about the same performance in the city as the 2017 CR-V’s Real MPG of 21.9, far below its 34.2 on the highway, and below its 26.1 combined figure.

Put it all together and the 2017 Honda CR-V is still spacious, quick, and more modern than before, but its real-world city mileage may be more “top half of class” than “class-leading.”