2020 Honda CR-V

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Updated: March 23, 2020

2020 Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is a compact crossover that is comfortable, composed, practical, and spacious. Not many vehicles can carry cargo and five adults as smoothly as the CR-V, and those that can are generally in the luxury category.

The CR-V is spruced up a bit for 2020, front and rear. The prior base engine has been dropped, leaving the better 1.5-liter turbo-4. But the bigger news is that a CR-V Hybrid will be joining the fleet soon. 

The CR-V is rated by the EPA at 28 mpg city, 34 highway, 30 combined with front-wheel drive, and just 1 mpg less with all-wheel drive. As for the upcoming hybrid, Honda says the gas mileage will reach 38 mpg combined. 

The NHTSA gives the CR-V five stars overall in its crash tests, including five stars in front impact and side impact. The IIHS calls the CR-V a Top Safety Pick, thanks to top “Good” scores in all its crash tests, and a “Superior” score for its frontal crash prevention. 

Model Lineup

The CR-V is available in LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring trims, with standard front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is a $1,500 option on all models.

The LX comes fairly well equipped for $26,145. It gets standard active safety features, as well as cloth upholstery, power features, 17-inch wheels, Bluetooth, a 5.0-inch display for infotainment, and one USB port. 

The EX for $28,655 adds a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 18-inch wheels, blind-spot monitors, keyless ignition, power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, a better audio system, and more and faster USB charging ports. The EX-L simply adds leather. 

At nearly $36,000, the Touring also has leather, plus better headlights, a wireless smartphone charger, premium audio, and 19-inch wheels.

Exterior

The 2020 CR-V’s styling changes are slight. The CR-V remains conservative, maybe more so. There’s less chrome in front, making it cleaner. The lower front bumper was slightly tweaked. The rear bumper was changed even less, but it too is cleaner above the exhaust tips.

The CR-V looks best in profile, with an upwardly swooping character line that connects nicely with the rear hatch. Big 18-inch wheels fill the arches, and the new 19-inch wheels on the Touring model look positively premium. 

Interior

Keeping with the character of the car, the CR-V cabin has a practical layout, with controls that are located high on the dash. The storage spots are thoughtfully located just below the dash, while there’s a deep center console with cupholders galore. The CR-V offers high-quality plastics and soft-touch materials. The LX and EX get rugged cloth upholstery, while the EX-L and Touring get leather. 

The excellent front seats feature 12-way power adjustment in the EX and Touring. They’re mounted fairly high; combined with the low dash, thin windshield pillars and low window line, forward vision is unfettered. 

The interior is spacious and comfortable for five adults, with more than 40 inches of rear seat leg room, plus wide rear doors making it easy for passengers to climb in and out.  

There’s an amazing 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. When they’re folded down, that space expands to 75.8 cubic feet. The rear hatch is wide and the floor low, and the carpeted floor panel lifts for hidden storage of valuable things. 

Driving Impressions

The 1.5-liter turbo-4 makes 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque, mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), with standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. It’s quite responsive from low revs, which makes around-town driving enjoyable.  The CVT does a good job keeping the engine in its powerband, while delivering 30 mpg combined fuel economy. The turbo-4 is rated to tow up to 1,500 pounds, when properly equipped.

The CR-V’s steering is light, with a generous on-center spot that helps it stay straight at highway speeds. But it’s the composed ride that is the CR-V’s best dynamic feature. Even on the 18- and 19-inch wheels, the CR-V absorbs ruts very well, providing confidence that you don’t often find in cars at this price. 

The CR-V’s 7.8 inches of ground clearance is good for whatever weather lands on the street. This small crossover is far more capable than most owners will expect it to be. 

Final Word

If it’s a compact crossover you’re looking for, there isn’t a single objective reason not to buy the 2020 Honda CR-V. Take the optional all-wheel drive, because it’s cheap and doesn’t lower gas mileage. Its engine brings good power and 30 mpg, the CVT is smooth, and the ride is great. It’s comfortable for passengers and awesome for cargo.

 

—By Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection