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A redesigned fifth-generation Honda CR-V will be available in dealerships this winter — a vehicle Honda says will have better fuel economy, performance and function to help it stay atop the highly competitive compact SUV segment.

American Honda Motor Co. Inc. chose Eastern Market in Detroit to reveal the new 2017 CR-V to media on Wednesday. Honda is showing the new small SUV about two years after the popular seller was refreshed. It was last fully redesigned in 2011.

On the outside, the CR-V is wider and has a more athletic-looking stance than the current model, with a longer wheelbase. It also features LED headlights and taillights in new front and rear styling. The interior includes upgraded materials, including a soft-touch instrument panel, and a new infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay function. And back by customer request, Honda has added a volume knob.

The expanded wheelbase allowed Honda to add two inches of rear seat legroom for what it says will be best-in-class levels. Rear cargo space with the back seats folded flat, folding with a new single motion, gains nearly 10 inches over the current CR-V. Honda benchmarked luxury vehicles such as the BMW X3 for quality, steering, control and noise as it developed the new SUV.

“This new CR-V raises the bar in every imaginable way, delivering more performance, space and premium content together with higher fuel economy and value than ever before,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president of the Honda division for American Honda Motor Co.

Conrad said Honda is adding more value and features on the SUV, including a new hands-free power tailgate, remote engine start and heated side mirrors. Honda Sensing safety and driver-assistive technologies will come standard on EX and higher trims. Pricing has not been announced but the 2016 CR-V starts at just less than $25,000 including destination charge.

Honda also for more flexibility will add a third North American production location for the CR-V at the Greensburg, Indiana, plant. It currently builds CR-V in East Liberty, Ohio, and Alliston, Ontario.

Conrad would not say what Honda’s production volume targets are for CR-V but he said Honda intends to sell more next year than it did this year.

Honda CR-V sales each of the past three years have been above 300,000 and since the SUV’s introduction in 1997, CR-V has been the best selling SUV in America, with sales nearing 4 million. Through September, CR-V sales in the U.S. this year are up 1.5 percent to more than 263,000.

“CR-V has become a true staple of the American SUV diet and a real bread-and-butter model in our Honda lineup, roughly a quarter of total sales and now virtually on par with Civic and Accord in terms of volume,” John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co.

The new CR-V rides on a new architecture and has new engine offerings, including the first use of turbo-charging. A 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine powers the base LX model. And for EX and higher trims, which account for about three quarters of sales, the CR-V gets an upgraded 1.5-liter turbo that debuted in the new Civic. It puts out 190 horsepower. Both engines work with a continuously variable transmission.

Fuel economy estimates are not yet available but Conrad told reporters he expects best in class EPA fuel economy ratings. The 2016 CR-V with front-wheel drive is rated at 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.

The compact SUV segment has several players including the Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape and the Chevrolet Equinox, among others. Chevrolet’s redesigned 2018 Equinox will hit dealerships in the spring and will offer a turbodiesel engine variant with an expected 40 miles per gallon highway.

mburden@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2319

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