2020 Honda CR-V

2020 Honda CR-V Review: Jack Of All Trades

by Deiondre van der Merwe

While the Civic used to be the staple of the Honda lineup, the changing automotive landscape has seen the CR-V become arguably the most pivotal model for the brand. In a crowded compact crossover segment, the Honda CR-V stands head and shoulders above most of the competition with its versatility and a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS, but against fierce competition like the best-selling Toyota RAV4 and demi-luxury Mazda CX-5. being good at what you do simply isn't enough. Thanks to a full redesign in recent years, however, the CR-V is spoiling for a fight, with a 1.5-liter turbo engine now standard across the range developing 190 horsepower and the choice between front- or all-wheel-drive. Add one of the most spacious interiors around, high-end materials, and solid reliability, and there's no reason the CR-V shouldn't be on your shortlist.

2020 Honda CR-V Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 CR-V?

For 2020, the CR-V gets some edited exterior styling and along with the fresh face, Honda has chucked the 2.4-liter four-pot in favor of the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine that was previously available as an option. New for this year, the CR-V also gets some upgraded driver-assist features as standard under the Honda Sensing Suite. These include pedestrian monitoring, automatic emergency braking, and lane keep assist, and the suite is ended off with adaptive cruise control. Individual trims receive minor updates as well, and the EX trim comes standard with HD Radio. The top of the range Touring model gets bigger 19-inch wheels, new high and low-beam LED headlights, a heated steering wheel, and wireless charging.

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent interior space
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick award
  • Great handling abilities
  • Comfortable ride
  • Impressive standard safety features
  • Standard turbocharged engine has plenty of poke
  • Base model too bare-bones
  • Expensive upper trims
  • Infotainment still a Honda sore point
  • Rivals tow more

2020 Honda CR-V Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
LX
1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$25,150
EX
1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$27,660
EX-L
1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$30,150
Touring
1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$33,350

CR-V Exterior

The CR-V sets itself apart from rivals by adding sharply designed lighting elements and subtle creases to its body. The first three trim levels use halogen bulbs with LED daytime running lights to illuminate the road, while full-LED headlights are reserved for the apex Touring trim. The rear is dominated by the L-shaped taillights, and wheel sizes vary in size according to trim level. The base LX gets 17-inch wheels, the next two get 18-inch wheels and the top trim sits on a set of 19-inch wheels. The Touring is undeniably the most attractive of the lot, mainly due to the combination of bigger wheels, roof rails, and chrome-licked tailpipes. The top three trims get a standard sunroof, too.

2020 Honda CR-V Front Angle View Honda
2020 Honda CR-V Rear Angle View Honda
2020 Honda CR-V Front Angle View 1 Honda
See All 2020 Honda CR-V Exterior Photos

Dimensions

In terms of size, the Honda CR-V shares similar dimensions with the Toyota RAV4 and is slightly bigger than the Mazda CX-5. All models have a total length of 182.1 inches and a maximum width of 73 inches. Wheelbases vary from between 104.7 inches to 104.8, with the former measurement belonging to the FWD model. Heights and ground clearances also vary according to your choice of drivetrain, with FWD models standing 66.1 inches and AWD models at 66.5 inches tall. An FWD-equipped CR-V has a ground clearance of 7.8 inches, and AWD models bump the figure up to 8.2 inches. Yet another element dependent on drivetrain choice is the curb weight of the CR-V, with weights ranging from between 3,337 to 3,455 pounds and the approach and departure angles vary, too. FWD CR-Vs have an approach angle of 18.1 degrees and a 25.3-degree departure angle, while the AWD-equipped version ups these figures to 18.9 and 26 degrees respectively.

  • Length 182.1 in
  • Wheelbase 104.8 in
  • Height 66.1 in
  • Max Width 73.0 in
  • Front Width 63.0 in
  • Rear Width 63.7 in

Exterior Colors

An eight-color palette is available for the CR-V, though two of these are exclusive to the EX, EX-L, and Touring trims. These two include the pearlescent Sonic Gray and a metallic Aegean Blue. The other six hues can be had with all trims, starting off with the pearlescent shades of Crystal Black Pearl, Obsidian Blue and Platinum White. The other three paint options are great for those who want some added sparkle, and the metallic range includes Lunar Silver, Modern Steel, and Radiant Red. The latter is our favorite shade of the lot as it adds some extra boldness to the CR-V.

  • Lunar Silver Metallic
  • Modern Steel Metallic
  • Crystal Black Pearl
  • Platinum White Pearl
  • Radiant Red Metallic
  • Obsidian Blue Pearl
  • Sonic Gray Pearl
  • Aegean Blue Metallic

CR-V Performance

Swapping out the 2.4-liter engine for the turbocharged 1.5-liter now standard on all models was a wise decision, making the CR-V lively enough to at least try and stick with rivals that host bigger engines. A run from 0-60 mph will take around seven and a half seconds in independent testing, which is slightly faster than the eight seconds that the Toyota RAV4 takes. It also trails behind the Mazda CX-5's six-second accomplishment, although the latter is achieved with 250 hp. While 0-60 times are undeniably important in certain segments, it's not the be-all and end-all in the crossover segment where comfort and durability are prioritized over speed. Still, the CR-V has enough determination to make merging onto highways and overtaking slower cars a relatively easy task. It's most capable in the city thanks to its punchy little engine, and the option of all-wheel-drive is available for those who are regularly caught in the rain. Notably, the front-wheel-drive is perfectly capable on any given day, so the AWD is only worth opting for if really necessary for all-weather capability.

2020 Honda CR-V Rear View Driving Honda
2020 Honda CR-V Rear View Driving 1 Honda
2020 Honda CR-V Gear Shifter Honda

Engine and Transmission

Once available with two engines, the CR-V has bid the 2.4-liter farewell and replaced it with the once optional turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. This is a welcome change as the 1.5-liter turbo produces 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque and does a better job of zipping in and around the city. A negative side-effect of the newly-standard engine would be that it runs out of breath slightly when you're cruising on the highway, but if you can get past that, the engine is a breath of fresh air. The CR-V is home to a (dare we say it) pleasurable continuously variable transmission, and while it unsurprisingly limits the engine from revving freely, it doesn't do much harm otherwise besides the accompanying drone when trying to accelerate. The CR-V has a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 pounds, which is around average for the segment, although the RAV4 can tow substantially more.

  • Engine
    1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Here is where the CR-V starts to make up for any shortfalls from the engine, and while it's no track hero, it's rather entertaining to drive. In fact, it almost seems chuckable from behind the wheel. Almost. Enthusiastic and solid steering make the CR-V a joy to maneuver despite its chunky demeanor, and the ride quality is merciful enough to ensure comfort on both short and long journeys. Piloting the CR-V is a refined experience, and the crossover shows little to no hesitation when it needs to get moving from a standstill. If you do decide to get moving with a little too much commitment, the brakes are strong and dependable enough to stop the Honda in its tracks. Bearing a similar appearance to an expensive lunchtime on stilts, you'd expect the CR-V to exhibit a large amount of body roll when taken through the corners, but the dynamics of the car come together perfectly to mitigate that without sacrificing any plushness. It must be said that the Mazda CX-5 offers more agility, but hardly any other rivals combine merits like the CR-V does in terms of handling dynamics. The Japanese crossover manages to deliver a cushioned ride, minimal body roll, and responsive steering all under the same roof.

CR-V Gas Mileage

A category in which the CR-V truly shines is fuel economy. The frugal crossover delivers excellent EPA estimated figures regardless of drivetrain choice, and the FWD-equipped CR-V has estimated figures of 28/34/30 mpg city/highway/combined. These figures are marginally more economical than the Mazda CX-5's 25/31/28 mpg offering. The AWD-equipped version of the CR-V is slightly thirstier thanks to extra weight and has estimates of 27/32/29 mpg. When the 14-gallon fuel tank is full, the FWD CR-V will allow for 420 miles, and you can expect around 400 miles from the AWD-equipped version.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    14.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 28/34 mpg
* 2020 Honda CR-V LX 2WD

CR-V Interior

The inside of the CR-V is a definite strong point, and this is attributable to the premium feel that's only absent from its most basic trim. Materials used for the interior vary throughout the different trim levels, but even the more affordable materials are durable. Also offered by the CR-V is class-leading practicality thanks to an abundance of passenger and cargo capacity, and the standard-fitted tech and convenience features are generous. The CR-V offers one of the nicest cabins in the segment at its price point, but it gets nudged off the podium by the Mazda CX-5 in this regard.

2020 Honda CR-V Dashboard Honda
2020 Honda CR-V Steering Wheel Details Honda
2020 Honda CR-V Infotainment System Honda
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Seating and Interior Space

Honda is the king of practicality for a reason, and the CR-V is one of the reasons why. In a segment that values space and versatility, it's catapulted to the top of the list. An abundance of space is offered in the front and the rear real estate is just as impressive. Six-footers are highly unlikely to find any discomfort whether they're driving or sitting in the back, and the cavernous cabin allows for spacious long-distance traveling for a young family. The seats are comfortable and supportive up front, with trims from the EX upwards boasting a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat and heating for both front seats. The EX-L sees minor upgrades to seating with the addition of a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat and a memory function for both.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.3 in
  • Front Head Room 40.1 in
  • Rear Leg Room 40.4 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.2 in

Interior Colors and Materials

One half of the CR-V lineup comes standard with cloth upholstery, and the other gets upgraded to leather. The LX and EX come standard with black cloth upholstery, although depending on your paint choice, gray and Ivory are also available. Buyers get the option between black, gray, or ivory leather upholstery when opting for the EX-L or Touring trims, with the same paint-specific combinations applicable here. The base-level LX model is the only CR-V that has aluminum-look trim inserts in place of wood, attesting to its lower budget.

CR-V Trunk and Cargo Space

It comes as no surprise that the CR-V offers class-leading trunk and cargo space. The Japanese crossover has 39.2 cubic feet to offer behind the rear seats. This means that it has slightly more space than the RAV4's 37.6 cubic feet, and the CR-V leaves the Mazda CX-5's 30.9 cubes for dead. The total cargo space is also impressive and if you fold all of the seats down, the CR-V makes 75.8 cubes available.

Deep door pockets are great for storing small toys on the way to school or the odd water bottle, and the center console is deep enough to store items ranging from glasses cases to smartphones and tablets. A decently-sized glovebox seals the deal.

2020 Honda CR-V Front Seats Honda
2020 Honda CR-V Rear Angle View 1 Honda
2020 Honda CR-V Front Angle View 2 Honda

CR-V Infotainment and Features

Features

As far as features go, the base-level LX model is absent of quite a few conveniences found on higher trims and includes a tilt-and-telescopic multifunction steering wheel, a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat, automatic climate control and cruise control. The three upper trims welcome push-button start and dual-zone climate control. Exclusively standard from the EX-L is a power tailgate and along with the Touring, offers a heated steering wheel with a leather-wrapped gearshift and a HomeLink remote system. The Touring is the only trim that comes with ambient lighting as standard and a hands-free tailgate. The standard safety features on the CR-V are impressive regardless of which trim level you opt for and all models come with a multiangle rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, brake assist, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and collision mitigation. Also included is a road departure mitigation system, but blind spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert are reserved for the upper three trims.

Infotainment

The same concept of keeping the LX bare-bones to save costs applies to the infotainment. The LX is the least impressive in terms of technology and comes standard with a five-inch screen that enables Bluetooth connectivity and sound through a four-speaker sound system. One USB port and a 12V outlet are standard on the base model. The rest of the trims get access to the same suite of technology features including the upgrade to a seven-inch high-resolution touchscreen that enables full smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also allows for SiriusXM and HD Radio, and if you're opting for the EX-L, an improved eight-speaker sound system. The Touring trim adds navigation, a premium nine-speaker sound system, and wireless smartphone charging.

CR-V Problems and Reliability

For the 2020 model, one recall has been issued for the possible separation of the rear subframe reducing the vehicle's handling capability. To reassure customers, Honda offers a three-year or 36,000-mile basic warranty and a powertrain and corrosion warranty that is valid for five years or 60,000 miles. Roadside assistance is standard for the same time period and mileage limit as the basic warranty.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

CR-V Safety

It can be said with confidence that the CR-V prioritizes safety and thanks to its array of standard features and solid build, the crossover bagged a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS and scored six top ratings of Good in testing. The CR-V also earned five out of five stars from the NHTSA.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

Honda bestowed an extensive list of safety features upon all models in the CR-V range, even at base level. All trim levels come standard-equipped with a six-airbag system that makes use of front, front side, and side curtain airbags. Traditional features are inclusive of a rearview camera and an anti-locking braking system. The driver-assist suite is impressive for the segment, and all models come standard with forward collision warning, lane departure warning, collision mitigation braking, and a road departure mitigation system. Lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control join the list and blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are reserved for the top-level Touring trim.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Honda CR-V a good SUV?

The Honda CR-V is just what it needs to be and more. A spacious compact crossover that will get families from A to B safely, Honda's flagship crossover boasts a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. It doesn't end there, the 1.5-liter engine coupled with the CVT transmission returns impressive fuel economy figures from the EPA. While the base models are relatively unimpressive in comparison to the upper trims, the most affordable CR-V comes with almost all of the same safety features as the apex trim. The absence of features on lower trim levels is only realized when you have a look at the tech and convenience features. Upper trim levels come with impressive standard features and up the luxury of the cabin significantly, making them worthy of your consideration even if they're slightly more expensive. The CR-V offers class-leading space figures and a large trunk that overtakes certain rivals in the segment. It's a fantastic all-rounder and deserves to be at the top of your shortlist.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Honda CR-V?

Four trims are available for the CR-V range with one powertrain and the option of all-wheel-drive can be added to any model for an additional $1,500. The skeletal base model LX has an MSRP of $25,050 in FWD guise, and the EX will cost you $27,560 with the same drivetrain. The upper trim levels increase the price by a slightly bigger leap, with the EX-L's sticker reading $30,050. The top of the range Touring trim has an MSRP of $33,250. All of these prices are applicable to FWD models and exclude the $1,120 destination and handling fee.

2020 Honda CR-V Models

The 2020 Honda CR-V range comprises four trims, these are the LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring models. All models come standard with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but AWD can be added for a price to any of the trim levels.

The base model LX sits on a set of 17-inch wheels and has halogen headlights as standard. Its convenience features are inclusive of cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel and a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat. Cruise control joins the list along with automatic climate control. Infotainment is basic for the entry-level trim with a five-inch LCD infotainment screen. Bluetooth, an aux input, and one USB port are standard, and audio is pushed out through four speakers. Standard safety features are impressive for the most affordable trim and include a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, brake assist, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and collision mitigation.

The EX adds some extra features and convenience in the ways of 18-inch wheels, push-button start and dual-zone climate control. Infotainment also sees a significant upgrade with the addition of a seven-inch touchscreen that allows for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM and HD Radio. This trim also adds blind spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert.

Added to the EX-L is a power tailgate, leather upholstery, and a heated steering wheel along with a leather gearshift. This model also upgrades the sound system to an eight-speaker sound system.

The top of the range Touring trim rests on 19-inch wheels and adds a hands-free liftgate. Ambient lighting is added to this model as standard and the infotainment suite is upgraded with the addition of navigation, wireless smartphone charging, and a premium nine-speaker sound system.

See All 2020 Honda CR-V Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Honda doesn't offer many additional packages for the CR-V range, so if you're after upgraded gear, you'll have to move up a trim level or two. The main add-on would be all-wheel-drive for an additional $1,500. To add to the safety of the CR-V, parking sensors can be added to any trim for $514. A hands-free power tailgate can be added to the EX-L for $390.

🚗What Honda CR-V Model Should I Buy?

We'd recommend ignoring the LX completely if you're after a crossover with a respectable number of standard features, and budget-oriented shoppers should at least look at the EX model. It adds valuable features inclusive of full smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. SiriusXM and HD Radio are also standard on this model, and all of the above are enabled through an upgraded seven-inch touchscreen. This trim level also bumps up the safety features suite with the addition of blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. If you'd like some extra lushness, it's best to jump straight to the Touring trim, as the EX-L only adds minor upgrades. The top of the range model is worth considering for its hands-free tailgate, upgraded sound system and navigation system.

Check out other Honda CR-V Styles

2020 Honda CR-V Comparisons

Toyota RAV4 Toyota
Honda HR-V Honda
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Honda CR-V190 hp28/34 mpg$25,150
Toyota RAV4 203 hp26/35 mpg$25,950
Honda HR-V 141 hp28/34 mpg$20,920

2020 Honda CR-V vs Toyota RAV4

You really can't go wrong with either of these two. There's a reason that both of these crossovers lay claim to some of the highest sales for the segment. The 2.5-liter engine found in the Toyota offers slightly higher power outputs of 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, and it doesn't sacrifice on fuel economy either, with the FWD-equipped base model returning EPA estimates of 28/35/30 mpg. The Honda offers an arguably more premium interior from its upper trim levels, and also offers a near-unbeatable suite of standard safety features that greatly outshines the RAV4's standard offering. Both crossovers share a similar convenience and tech offering, but the RAV4 does lack the character of the CR-V on the road and isn't as thrilling to drive. One thing the RAV4 does cater for is some serious off-roading capability from its TRD Off-Road trim, something the CR-V doesn't cater for. The CR-V would be the better choice of the two.

See Toyota RAV4 Review

2020 Honda CR-V vs Honda HR-V

Quite a few thousand dollars separate the CR-V and the HR-V, with the former bearing the heftier price tag. The latter is considerably smaller than the CR-V and ultimately offers less interior space and a much smaller trunk. The inside of the HR-V is noticeably more discounted and offers less comfort than the CR-V, but its smaller size affords it some extra agility and nimbleness over its larger relative. The two share similar estimated fuel economy figures from the EPA, so you'll be getting excellent fuel economy regardless of which Honda you opt for. What the CR-V excels at is its extensive list of standard safety features that is absent from its little brother. Ultimately, the better one comes down to what your needs are, and a larger family would be most at home in the CR-V.

See Honda HR-V Review

Honda CR-V Popular Comparisons

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2020 Honda CR-V Video Review

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