After conversations with Honda Motor Corporation we found that the 2017 Honda CR-V is really a 4-passenger instead of 5-passenger vehicle.  Evidently  this design was intentional.
If you already have, or are shopping for a  2017 Honda CR-V, be aware that the rear seat belt buckle is fixed next to the center seat anchor buckle, making it nearly impossible to properly buckle 3-passengers in the back seat. Essentially it becomes a 2-seater vehicle in the back seat.
The 2017 Honda CR-V has the vehicle seat belt anchors switched in a way making it difficult to properly seat 3-passengers in the back seat.

Having one passenger buckled behind the front passenger is fine. However the center and left side passenger (behind driver) is the issue. When following the instructions, according to the vehicle owner's manual, and buckling passengers and/or installing a child restraint system in either of these two locations, becomes a problem because it clearly indicates to not have any seat belt get "caught on anything". Unfortunately because these two fixed buckles are located on the opposite side of each other, the seat belts catch on each other. Either with a passenger and even more difficult with a child restraint system (car seat or booster seat). 
Is this a manufacture defect or poor design on the 2017 Honda CR-V?
  1. The existing design configuration seems to conflict with the owner’s manual. Whereas it specifically indicates that the belt must not catch on anything, which is does catch on the left side seat belt.
  2. The existing configuration in the vehicle is also different than what is described by the image in the owner’s manual. In that the existing configuration has the left rear-passenger seat belt buckle fixed next to the center-position side buckle, but are located on opposite sides.  Causing the belts to cross over and catch on each other.  In the owner's manual, the image illustrated these are on opposite sides as well, however in the owner's manual image the center buckle is also fixed at a 45-degree angle, allowing the center belt to buckle over the left passenger seat belt without it catching on any other seat belt. It is unclear if this was done intentionally or if a manufacturer defect.

What does the owner's manual recommend?


According to the owners manual, it specifically indicates to “Make sure that the belt is not twisted or caught on anything.” (See page-10 of the 2017 Honda CR-V owner's manual). However when the “Small latch plate” is fastened onto the “Anchor buckle”, the seat belt is caught on the left rear-passenger belt, when both are being used, as shown in this image.


The owner's manual
(See page-11 of the 2017 Honda CR-V owner's manual) has a image significantly different from that of what is in the vehicle, as shown in these images.
a). In the vehicle, the center “anchor buckle” is fixed in the vehicle, side-to-side, next to the left passenger seat belt buckle. In this case, the “small latch plate is attached to the “anchor buckle” and is buckled for the center position, the seat belt then catches onto the belt of the left passenger when both are used. This is shown in the two photographs below.
Photo of existing configuration, Honda CR-V, 2017
b). While in the owner's manual the image shows that the "anchor buckle" is angled above the left passenger seat belt. In this case the center seat belt would simply be pulled over and above the left passenger seat belt buckle. This would allow for each belt to not get caught on each other.
Photo credit: 2017 Honda CR-V Owner's Manual. Note: Image expanded for clarification purposes.

Be aware of this design

We have made this to attention at Honda dealerships, and to the Honda Corporation, but they informed us that this is the way it was designed, with no further details.  If this was designed as shown in the "edited" photo below 3-passengers could be seated while properly buckled. However with the existing configuration this is difficult. In addition for properly installing a child restraint system (car seat or booster seat), is  the choice of having a center or left passenger. Meaning that the back seat has two passengers, not three. Either way just be aware of this issue if you need a 5-passenger vehicle or having the back seats with child restraints.
This image is a photo of the existing 2017 Honda CR-V configuration of the center Anchor buckle and left passenger seat belt buckle. This illustrates how these are located on the opposite side making the vehicle seat belts catching on each other. Of which the Owner’s manual clearly specified to not have “anything catch” on the seat belt.
Image has been photo edited to illustrate how if existing center Anchor buckle and left passenger seat belt buckle were configured, then the back seat of the 2017 Honda CR-V could seat 3 passengers while buckled properly.

Have people noticed this problem?

Have people noticed this problem? Yes. From Honda customers to Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST). The following are others who have noticed this problem.

Thinking about Christmas gift ideas for your children? Did you know children will likely have forgotten about what they got for Christmas by summer, even though it was something they really wanted badly. But what if there is something you can give that they will give them something they will cherish, will remember and at no financial cost?
As the holidays approach and children start their Christmas lists, they are quickly bombarded by advertising on products they need. Well not "need", but marketers make them feel like everyone have this new item and they must have it too. But by summer it is likely they will have forgotten all about that gift you got them. It is not their fault, as they have been marketed in ways that primes them and modifies their behavior. Sometimes however, children need something more meaningful to remember, and to appreciate the things they have. Of course physical gifts for smaller children are often necessary, but with older children and younger teens, if you do a twist this year, it can give them something to remember and appreciate even more. And it might even start a new family tradition.

Start early, by talking with your older children and teens. Reminding them that there are children that do not have the things they have. You can even bring this topic up as you drive by families and homeless children you might see by the road. Or let them know there are homeless children, children at shelters, foster care, hospitals, etc. that would be grateful to have something on Christmas morning. Because some do not even have families or homes. Let alone gifts. Let them know that you have a great idea, that this year, as a parent, "I plan to give all of my wrapped gifts that I receive this Christmas, to those in need and less fortunate than me".

By you modeling this behavior will help them begin to think more about it. Let them know of your idea and maybe they too, on Christmas Eve they can bring their wrapped gifts and personally give it to a child in need. Then let them know that once we deliver all of our gifts to those in need, that you will have something special for them on Christmas Eve or Christmas night. It will be something that no other child will receive and something they can take part to enjoy and will always remember.

Give them some time to think about it and allow them to ask questions.
Let them consider how good it will make them feel to give on this night to those less fortunate. A feeling that one cannot buy.  They will feel so empowered, helpful and understand how fortunate they are to have the things they have.  Especially if you take the children with you to a  shelter to ask how and where you can bring your gifts (call before but later bring the kids with you). Then, let your children know that later on Christmas Even or on Christmas night you will have a special gift for them. But let them know they can also take part in the planning their special activity.

Before that night:

  • KIDS: Have them choose the snacks they would like, such as hot chocolate with peppermint, special foods, etc.
  • KIDS: Have them make a gift for each of you or for the whole family, but each child must give at least one gift. The only rule is-it cannot be purchased. It can be something they have made, or a play they make up, a poem, a song they recite, or a card they made, or a game or activity they make up that night or before.
  • PARENT: As the parent, make their activity gift. You can make one for each but its best to have one for the entire family gift for this year. For example, if the night is clear and the stars are out, find some stars and make the formation into a constellation. Look at the night sky weeks before by picking start formations and describe what that formation of stars means in the form of a story. You can check online on constellations. Then on a paper place the stars and explain what this formation means. Roll it up and tie it with a ribbon. This is helpful in case the weather is cloudy so you can use as a reference. But also as a gift itself so they can have.

On Christmas Eve or Night:
  • Bundle up warm even if you have to wear ski wear. Take their snacks and sit outside with the children and teens. Sit in a circle. Start with sharing hot drinks and snacks. Let them know how thankful you are to have such wonderful children and how proud you are of them, for giving their gifts to those less fortunate. Ask them how giving to children less fortunate this year, made them feel. Take turns with each child. Also, share how it made you feel, as a parent to give your gifts as well.
  • Have them exchange their gifts to each other.
  • Now its your turn. Give them the story you rolled up and tied with a ribbon, but do not have them open it. 
  • Before they open it have them look up and you explain the star formation, describe the story in great detail (make it unique) and let them know this is their gift this year. Let them know this is a special gift from you. It is a gift that you made up for them, that every year this gift will always be here. And each Christmas night when you look up at the night sky, even when you have children it will still be here on Christmas night when you look up.
  • After you are done you can sing a song, prayer or whatever you like to end the night. And you can have the kids decide of a song or how to end it as well.

Whether it is a formation of stars, formation of clouds floating by, or or the sound of the wind on that night, this gift they will remember. It might even start a new tradition, where the each year the kids make up their own gifts, snacks and stories similarly. The best thing is, that it can change each year. And as the children get older they can take part in making it even more special and unique. It is something they will remember and cherish, all because you took the time to share with them.

The following are additional helpful tips, as planning activities begin, to help keep your holidays safe and cheerful.