2020 Honda CR-V Review
  • Car Review

2020 Honda CR-V Review

By Autolist Staff | June 5, 2020

Pros:

  • Interior quality and space is top-notch
  • Hybrid models undercut rival pricing
  • Ride comfort and passenger seating is a comfortable plus

Cons:

  • Overall performance is better found in competitor models
  • New hybrid models score below rivals in fuel efficiency
  • Fewer standard features than some competitors

More Photos

See more 2020 Honda CR-V photos here.


Overview:

The 2020 Honda CR-V is a compact crossover SUV that has been given a mild refresh for the model year. It is one of the longstanding members of the SUV community and is currently in its fifth generation of production. Despite this, Honda has continued to improve its excellent small SUV and keep it relevant amid harsh competition.

The CR-V goes up against the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tuscon, Kia Sportage, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, Nissan Rogue, GMC Terrain, Subaru Forester, Volkswagen Tiguan, and the Jeep Cherokee.

Like many other compact SUVs, the CR-V is built to allow it to give passengers a comfortable ride. Not only is the CR-V known for its comfortable ride, but it also provides functional interior space and quality materials.

In addition to those things which make the CR-V a staple product in the industry, Honda has released a hybrid CR-V for the first time, increasing its customer base to those who might be interested in a hybrid SUV. Honda has also given the CR-V an increased amount of standard features across its trim levels, including an updated center console design.

Although it does not offer a third-row seat like the larger Pilot and is smaller and lacks a V6 like a Passport, the CR-V and the smaller HR-V offer lots of versatility. The CR-V is considered to do almost everything well, a trait that has kept it high on many reviewers' lists as one of the best compact SUVs.


Exterior

TLDR: Styling is modern, handsome, and not overly complicated.

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The CR-V has a very modern design, especially with its recent refresh. Its overall shape is very curvaceous with very few sharp or aggressive lines. Top trim levels equipped with LED headlights, larger wheels, and chrome exhaust tips give it quite a luxurious appearance while the lowest trim models do not look cheap and unbalanced.

Its front fascia is unique in that there is no oversized grille as on so many different cars and SUVs today. The headlights are large, extend around the side of the CR-V, and come to point. The hood slopes gently and helps keep the grille and headlight size to reasonable levels. Small foglights dot the bottom corners of the face, but another, smaller grille below the bumper reduces ground clearance overall.

The rear taillights extend up the hatch of the CR-V on either side of the back window to complete its signature look. Dual exhaust tips on the highest trim levels give the CR-V a sporty and clean look while the rear spoiler adds a nice touch.

The side profile is clean and free of any strange character lines. The roof is also not as raked toward the rear hatch as some other SUVs. Large wheel wells and large wheels on top trim levels fill out its side profile to make it look lower than it is. Black trim pieces along the bottom of the SUV add dimension, and its tapered hood makes it look ready to go, even when not moving.


Interior Quality and Comfort

TLDR: Interior quality and comfort are some of the CR-V's best features with handsome styling and best-in-class space.

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The CR-V has one of the nicest interiors in the compact SUV segment. Not only are high-quality materials used throughout, according to reviewers, but the overall interior space is also class-leading.

The cabin space is also plentiful. It offers seating for five, but adult reviewers have no issues with rear-seat legroom, rear-seat headroom, or getting into the SUV. Once inside, there is plenty of room for both front and rear passengers, according to testers.

Ride quality is also a high point for reviewers. The CR-V's suspension soaks up bumps in the road to provide one of the better rides in the segment. Reviewers note that even the Hybrid's stiffer suspension does well across rough surfaces, but it is noticeably different than the regular CR-V.

Reviewers agree that cabin ergonomics are also generally exceptional, though many are disappointed in the touchscreen infotainment system. Improved in recent years as in other Honda vehicles, it's considered to be slightly distracting because so many adjustments for audio and navigation use too many steps.


Utility & Practicality

TLDR: Utility and practicality are strong points for the CR-V.

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Another high point of the CR-V is its usability. Reviewers agree that the CR-V is so popular because it offers plenty of cargo space, is easy to work with, and even provides some towing capability when necessary.

The CR-V's cargo space is one of the best in its class. It offers just over 39 cubic feet with the rear seats in place and almost 76 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat. For comparison, the Toyota RAV4 offers nearly two cubic feet less space behind the rear seats, and six cubic feet less with the rear seats folded flat.

In addition to its spacious cargo area and passenger room, the CR-V also offers all-wheel-drive on all models. While the CR-V was never designed to take serious off-road adventures like a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, buyers can enjoy the added poor-weather usability that this provides.

The CR-V Hybrid loses a little bit of cargo capacity because of the battery under the cargo floor. But the space lost is not so significant that it would prevent most buyers from still considering it, according to reviewers. Additionally, the CR-V Hybrid uses the same all-wheel-drive system.

With just 1,500 pounds of maximum towing capacity, the CR-V falls behind many others in the class, but CR-V owners will most likely not be towing too much more than a small camper or trailer. The Toyota RAV4 can tow an impressive 3,500 pounds when appropriately equipped.

Getting in and out of the CR-V is a breeze for testers. Wide door openings allow even larger adults to slide into both the front and rear seats comfortably. A low step-in height aids further with getting in and out.

Some additional convenience and practicality features available on the CR-V include a hands-free power tailgate, roof rails, and fold-flat 60/40 split rear seats.


Technology & Infotainment

TLDR: Technology and infotainment systems are average compared to rivals, but higher trim levels include more for the money.

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The CR-V offers a reasonable amount of technology and infotainment features as standard, though some rivals like the Toyota RAV4 deliver more. Moving to the higher CR-V trim levels provides a variety of options and features that outshine many competitors, but Honda limits the customizability of each trim with set options.

Standard infotainment features include a 5-inch infotainment display screen, four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, USB port, and automatic climate control.

Optional infotainment features and other technology features standard on higher trim levels include a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD radio, satellite radio, wireless device charging, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, and the choice of upgraded stereo systems.
Other optional technology features include push-button start, moonroof, hands-free power tailgate, LED headlights, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, memory driver seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and ambient lighting.


Safety & Driving Assistance

TLDR: The CR-V is one of the safest SUVs on the market, earning top marks from the IIHS and NHTSA.

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The Honda CR-V maintains its reputation as a safe vehicle by earning a five out of five-star crash test rating from the NHTSA. The IIHS also rated the CR-V highly with a Good overall rating. With the standard driving assistance features equipped, its frontal crash avoidance receives a Superior rating, the highest.

Honda Sensing comes standard on all CR-V models and includes Collision Mitigation Braking System, Road Departure Mitigation System, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist. Other standard features include ABS, electronic stability control, traction control, a rearview camera, and brake assist.

Optional safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beam headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED headlights, and rear parking sensors.


Driving Experience

TLDR: The CR-V is neither the worst nor the best-in-class when it comes to performance, but the Hybrid offers a more engaging overall experience due to a stiffened suspension and electric motor assistance.

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According to reviewers, the Honda CR-V is neither the most engaging nor the most uninteresting SUV to drive in the segment. It's responsive steering, capable braking, and comfortable ride are the most cited high points for reviewers. Its loud transmission during hard acceleration, adequate handling, and middle-of-the-road fun factor are all areas in which reviewers have noted to be farther down the list.

The only powertrain option for non-hybrid models is a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission. This engine produces 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque.

Hybrid models use a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that pairs with two electric motors and a continuously variable automatic transmission. Combined, they produce a total of 212 horsepower and 232 lb-ft of torque, the same as in the Honda Accord Hybrid.

According to reviewers, power is more readily apparent in the hybrid CR-V, though most also say that non-hybrid turbo CR-Vs have adequate, steady acceleration when necessary. Neither model blows any testers away, but the Hybrid's sport mode is surprisingly peppy, according to testers' experiences. Additionally, the CVT transmission, standard on every CR-V model, is considered to be among the best that many testers have experienced.

Braking is also a strong point for the CR-V. Reviewers note that the brakes are responsive, have a solid feel, and are very capable, even for the heavier Hybrid. Acceleration is steady, but testers note that the CVT automatic transmission can have some drone when pushed. It is more apparent in non-hybrid versions, according to most reviewers.

Most also agree that handling is generally on the bland side when compared to the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape. Though the Hybrid has more power, more readily available acceleration, and stiffer suspension, most agree that CR-V buyers will gravitate away from the Honda if they are looking for something with a more engaging driving experience.


Fuel Efficiency

TLDR: Non-hybrid CR-V models offer best-in-class fuel efficiency while hybrid models fall behind competitors but at a lower price point as well.

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Fuel efficiency is one of the many high points the CR-V has to offer, especially non-hybrid versions. Hybrid models return excellent fuel economy by default, but they fall behind other close competitors.

Front-wheel-drive, non-hybrid models return Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates of 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg for a combined 30 mpg rating. Along with the Ford Escape, this is a best-in-class fuel economy. Choosing an all-wheel-drive model brings the fuel economy down to 27 in the city and 32 on the highway.

CR-V Hybrid models return estimates of 40 mpg city and 35 mpg highway for a combined 38. Though this is good, it falls behind both the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Ford Escape Hybrid. The RAV4 returns close EPA estimates of 41 mpg city and 38 mpg highway, but the Escape outshines others in the class with 43 mpg city and 37 highway.


Trim Levels & Pricing

TLDR: The CR-V offers various trim levels at reasonable pricing, though reviewers note that options and customizability are relatively limited compared to rivals.

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Trim levels and pricing of the CR-V are pretty straightforward. The CR-V's starting MSRP sits in the middle of the segment along with its standard features and available options. One issue may be the lack of flexibility with specific options.

All non-hybrid CR-V's come standard with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine while hybrid models come standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to two electric motors. Both hybrid and non-hybrid CR-V models come standard with a continuously variable automatic transmission.

Non-hybrid CR-V models come standard with front-wheel-drive and hybrid versions come standard with the same all-wheel-drive drivetrain that is optional on non-hybrid versions.

All CR-V models and trims come standard with Honda Sensing safety suite that includes Honda's forward collision warning system, lane departure warning system, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist.

The Honda CR-V and Honda CR-V Hybrid are available in the same four different trim levels:

Honda CR-V LX: The CR-V LX starts at an MSRP of $26,170, including the destination fee of $1,120. Adding all-wheel-drive brings the price up by $1,500, and opting for the base CR-V LX Hybrid brings the starting price to $28,870.

The LX model comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, a four-speaker stereo system, Bluetooth, a 5-inch infotainment display, automatic high-beam headlights, remote keyless entry, automatic climate control, and an electronic parking brake.

Hybrid LX models come equipped with mostly the same equipment. Additional features include push-button start, LED headlights, and other drive modes, including ECON, sport, and EV modes.

Honda CR-V EX: The CR-V EX starts at $28,680. CR-V EX Hybrid brings the starting price to $31,380.

Standard EX and EX Hybrid features include a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 6-speaker audio system, XM and HD radio, push-button start, remote engine start, heated front seats, power-adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, LED foglights, and a power moonroof.

Additional safety features include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Honda CR-V EX-L: The CR-V EX-L starts at $31,170, and the EX-L Hybrid starts at $33,870 with the destination fee included.

CR-V EX-L models come standard with leather-trimmed seating, power-adjustable front seats, an 8-speaker audio system, power tailgate, memory driver's seat, and an automatic-dimming rearview mirror.

The CR-V EX-L Hybrid also comes with a heated steering wheel and ambient lighting.

Honda CR-V Touring: The CR-V Touring is the top trim level CR-V. It starts at $34,370, while the Hybrid starts at $37,070.

The Touring trim comes standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, a navigation system, a 9-speaker stereo system, wireless device charging, a heated steering wheel, LED headlights, roof rails, ambient lighting, hands-free power tailgate, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

The CR-V Touring Hybrid adds parking sensors to the list of standard features.


Value

TLDR: The CR-V offers excellent value for the money, is versatile, and practical, offering a hybrid version for 2020 is a welcome addition.

The CR-V treads the middle ground well. It offers stellar fuel efficiency, safety, interior quality, cargo capacity, interior space, and comfort while providing an adequate driving experience, average pricing options, and enough technology features to keep the whole family happy.

This year's redesign ensures that the CR-V stays fresh. Even if it is only a minor refresh, Honda continues to maintain its modern look and adds dynamic styling to the mix. The addition of a hybrid model this year also adds another element of flexibility to the CR-V lineup. The option to include all-wheel-drive adds yet another aspect of utility and practicality.

Even though the CR-V Hybrid does not offer the fuel efficiency that the RAV4 or Ford Escape does, it comes out ahead by undercutting both models in price. In addition to this, the non-hybrid CR-V returns the best-in-class fuel economy for those not looking to purchase a hybrid.


More Photos

See more 2020 Honda CR-V Photos.