The Honda CR-V is one of the best-selling crossovers in the U.S. and every time I test drive one, I’m reminded why. The CR-V is comfortable and practical, gets decent fuel economy, comes standard with lots of driver assistance technologies, has a ton of cargo space, and comes at a competitive price. A couple downsides, though, are the infotainment system could use an upgrade and the base trim doesn’t come with a lot of features.
The five-passenger CR-V was introduced in North America in 1997. Now in its fifth generation, the latest redesign was for the 2017 model year. For 2020, the CR-V gets some exterior tweaks, and a turbocharged engine that used to only be available on the upper trims is now the standard engine. And the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance technologies is now standard on all trims.
The CR-V comes in four trims: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. Starting prices range from $25,050 to $34,750. There’s also a hybrid with starting prices from $27,750 to $35,950. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is available on all trims.
The CR-V is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque paired with a continuously variable transmission which is one of the best CVTs out there. The former base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine has been dropped.
The CR-V has a composed and refined ride. While it’s not as sporty as the Mazda CX-5, there’s enough power for everyday driving situations. Acceleration is quick, and the CR-V easily gets up to speed when merging and passing at freeway speeds. However, the engine can get loud when you try to accelerate quickly. The CVT shifts smoothly and quickly. Steering is precise and responsive. The ride is super smooth, even over rough pavement and bumps.
Fuel efficiency is good for a compact crossover. EPA ratings for my tester are 27 mpg highway and 32 mpg highway for a combined rating of 29. I got 30 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is attractive, comfortable and roomy. Materials are of good quality. Adults in both rows enjoy plenty of leg- and headroom, although the back seat will be most comfortable for two adults instead of three. Seats are supportive. Upper trims get leather upholstery and faux wood trim.
Standard features include a rearview camera, cloth upholstery, automatic climate control, five-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth, four-speaker audio system and a USB port.
All CR-V trims come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance technologies including collision mitigation braking system with forward collision warning and pedestrian sensing capability, road departure mitigation with lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow and lane keeping assist.
Available features include push button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated steering wheel, seven-inch touchscreen, navigation, audio system with six, eight, or nine speakers, satellite radio, HD Radio, additional USB ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, wireless device charging, and a moonroof.
Available driver assistance technologies include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors.
The infotainment system needs improvement. While Honda finally added a volume knob, there aren’t redundant knobs or buttons for other common functions. It can be annoying and distracting to have to use the small touchscreen buttons while driving for such common functions as tuning the radio. At least there are controls on the steering wheel.
The CR-V has a ton of storage for a small crossover. There are 39.2 cubic feet with both rows of seating in place and 75.8 cubes with the second row folded. There are also many bins and cubbies in the cabin for storing smaller items including a deep center console.
Roomy, classy cabin
Cavernous cargo space
Good fuel economy
Honda Sensing now standard on all trims
Not as sporty as some rivals
Clunky infotainment system needs updating
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay not available on base trim
My tester starts at $34,750. Destination fee is $1,095 bringing the grand total to $34,750.
If you’re shopping for a small crossover, you should consider the 2020 Honda CR-V. Consumers have a lot of great options in the class, but the well-equipped and well-rounded CR-V is simply one of the best.