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.



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