2019 Honda CR-V

By September 9, 2019

The 2019 Honda CR-V sets a few benchmarks for affordable compact crossover SUVs. It’s popular, it’s versatile, it’s useful, and it’s good on gas.

With seats for five to go with a great ride and strong cargo space, the CR-V doesn’t need to change to keep its sales streak intact—and it doesn’t change much at all for the new model year.

The base engine is a 2.0-liter 184-horsepower inline-4, paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The CR-V EX and higher trims get a 1.5-liter turbo-4 making 190 hp with significantly better acceleration and more refinement. 

CR-V EX crossovers and more expensive models also get standard automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and active lane control, as well a larger 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available. The CR-V steers better and feels more natural with all-wheel drive, especially with the turbo engine. 

Base models earn EPA ratings of 26/32/28 mpg with front-wheel drive and 25/31/27 mpg with all-wheel drive. The turbo-4 CR-V gets 28 mpg city, 34 highway, 30 combined with front-wheel drive, and 27/33/29 mpg with all-wheel drive.

The NHTSA rates the CR-V at five stars overall for safety, while the insurance industry-funded IIHS says it’s a Top Safety Pick when fitted with advanced safety gear.

Model Lineup

The 2019 CR-V comes as an LX, EX, EX-L and fully loaded Touring model. Each is available with front- or all-wheel drive.

The LX may be the least expensive, but it comes with standard power features, Bluetooth and alloy wheels. Its touchscreen is 5.0 inches and doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This model does not come with automatic emergency braking. 

The EX adds the turbo engine, a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple and Android interfaces, heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, a power moonroof, and 18-inch alloy wheels, as well as automatic emergency braking. The EX-L adds leather upholstery, a power tailgate, and an optional navigation system.

The CR-V Touring features an upgraded sound system and LED headlights. 

Exterior

The CR-V pairs Honda’s busy front-end style with a more sedate SUV body. Up front, a chrome grille sits high, framed by wide headlights. A chrome line swoops to the rear roof pillar. At the rear, the taillights bump up against a chrome strip on the liftgate.

Even the CR-V has an attractive look, with 17-inch wheels that grow to 18-inchers on the EX model and higher trims.

Interior

The CR-V’s cohesive cabin favors function over form. The controls are high on the instrument panel, while the gear lever sprouts out like a van and is easy to reach. The plastics are soft to the touch, while fit and finish is solid. The Touring model has a gold-tinted wood-like trim that adds a pleasant glow. 

With the CR-V’s narrow pillars, low window line, high seating position, and low dashboard, the driver has a commanding view of the highway especially for the size of the vehicle. 

The 5.0-inch touchscreen on the LX is very basic. The 7.0-inch touchscreen on all other models only has one button and a big volume knob, for streamlined operation.

The front seats–cloth on LX and EX, tough leather on EX-L and Touring—have good support and plenty of adjustment. EX and higher trims feature 12-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat and heating for both front seats. The center console has cupholders and storage bins.

The relatively roomy second row has wide doors for easy entry and exit, and excellent space for outboard passengers. The rear seat folds 60/40 to grow the cargo area from 39.2 cubic feet to a hefty 75.8 cubic feet, although the Touring has a subwoofer that takes some space. A low load floor makes lifting big items into the back easier, while the carpeted floor panel pulls up to reveal a large hidden storage compartment.

Driving Impressions

The 2.4-liter engine in the LX makes 184 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Acceleration is adequate, but the 1.5-liter turbo-4 in the EX feels much stronger at 190 hp and 179 lb-ft. Its CVT works to keep it in the power band when needed and stays out of the way the rest of the time. 

The thick three-spoke steering wheel hints at sporty driving that the CR-V, but it’s a more sedate, predictable affair, just right for a family wagon. It cuts cleanly into corners and is nimble around town. The steering is fairly quick and light, yet it settles in nicely for straight-line highway cruising.

With 7.8 inches of ground clearance, the CR-V is ready for a snowy commute or a dirt road to a trailhead, if not a day of hard-core off-roading.

We’ve saved the best for last: the CR-V’s ride. Even with 18-inch wheels, the solid structure and suspension absorb rutted pavement with ease, and the ride remains composed.

Final Word

The 2019 Honda CR-V imparts a high-quality feel you don’t often find with crossovers that cost less than $30,000. We especially like the roomy rear seat with versatile cargo capacity and low loading floor, as well as the commanding driving position. The 1.5-liter turbo delivers good power and fuel economy. Whether it’s in performance or comfort or safety, it’s hard to go wrong with what’s arguably Honda’s best SUV.