Are you looking to purchase a refined, practical and efficient compact SUV? If so, be prepared to do some homework.
The decision is difficult to make because the list of competent small SUVs continues to grow. When it debuted in 1997, the Honda CR-V was a trail blazer, a car-based sport utility vehicle that people instantly loved. And because the CR-V was universally admired, it quickly placed other manufacturers in copy-cat mode.
The competition has grown over the past two decades and has always included the Toyota RAV4, the CR-V’s primary rival. However, the list also features the Ford Escape, Kia Sportage, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, Chevrolet Equinox, Volkswagen Tiguan, and Subaru Forester.
The popular CR-V received its last major redesign in 2017, when it got slightly taller, wider and longer. The 2020 Honda CR-V arrived with some revisions, among them a standard turbocharged engine, improved interior storage, sleeker styling, and additional driver safety features.
The Honda CR-V has a tremendous reputation and has been the top-selling compact SUV for more than two decades. A year ago, Honda sold 384,168 CR-Vs, second only to the RAV4. The 2019 CR-V sales represent the most in its history. The legendary compact SUV hasn’t reported sales of less than 300,000 since 2013.
Offered in four trim models (LX, EX, EX-L, Touring), the 2020 CR-V has one engine choice after this year abandoning its four-cylinder version. That engine provides a nice blend of performance and fuel efficiency, two qualities often high on the list of compact SUV shoppers.
The 2020 CR-V has a turbo 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque. While not the quickest SUV in its class, the CR-V does go 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds, so it can hang with any rival. It performs well around town and provides sufficient power in challenging stretches of mountainous terrain where some extra power is welcome.
We’re fans of turbo engines because they deliver both power and fuel efficiency. The CR-V doesn’t disappoint, getting an estimated 28-34 mpg, which means it can take a road trip and not need refueling for quite a while.
At a Glance – 2020 Honda CR-V
- Performance: turbocharged 1.5-liter, four-cylinder, 190 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 28-34 mpg
- Estimated price: $25,200 to $34,9000
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited
One always feels safe behind the wheel of a CR-V. It’s known for its handling, ride quality and the steering is precise, even when traveling over bumps and irregular road surfaces. It can tackle a curvy road with confidence and is compact enough to fit into tight parking spaces. Standard safety features include lane departure warning, adaptive lane keeping assist, and forward collision warning with automatic braking.
The CR-V accommodates five people and gives each one a solid degree of comfort. Up front, the seating affords better than average head and leg room. Since this is not a cavernous SUV, don’t expect tons of room in the back seat. Yet it’s good enough to provide a comfortable stay on long rides
Where the CR-V really stands out is behind the back seat, a huge cargo area for the class – 39.2 cubic feet. The second row easily folds down, increasing the storage to 75.8 cubic feet. Small-item storage throughout the vehicle is also a major plus.
One knock against the interior is the small 5-inch touchscreen can be fussy to use and doesn’t include a separate tuning knob. Also, Apple CarPlay and Android capability must be added on as an option.
Even with the pandemic coronavirus initially interrupting car sales, expect the capable 2020 Honda CR-V to enjoy another year among the top of its class.
Weidel on Wheels is featured regularly on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.