There's a reason why this car is a top seller.
Compact crossovers are the hottest segment (aside from pickup trucks) in the United States. Just look at any manufacturer, luxury, or mainstream, and their best-seller is likely a compact crossover. Halfway through 2020, the Toyota RAV4 remains the best-selling non-truck in the United States, with 183,360 units sold, but the 2020 Honda CR-V keeps its second-place spot with 138,898 units.
Auto sales have taken a hit as a whole, but the CR-V is down a whopping 22 percent compared to 2019 (the RAV4 is only down nine percent). This could be because the CR-V has been around longer than the RAV4, but we believe Honda has given the 2020 model a few critical updates that help keep it relevant. Consumers agree, as it still outsells pretty much every other crossover on the market. Here are five features we love about the 2020 CR-V and one that we think Honda needs to fix ASAP.
Honda sent us a 2020 CR-V Touring trim with all-wheel-drive, which is the nicest of the four available configurations. But even this top-of-the-line CR-V only starts at $33,350, making it less expensive than the most fully-equipped RAV4. Inside, the CR-V's materials feel slightly more upscale than those found in the Toyota. Soft leather chairs are comfortable for long distances and are heated, but lack available ventilation like the RAV4. The CR-V's wood trim adds a unique touch of luxury to the cabin, making it feel like a quality item.
The CR-V center console is highly configurable with a sliding armrest that can tilt back to reveal a massive storage area. The console boasts three positions including a full tray, half tray with lower storage, and an exposed storage area for larger items. Some purses and bags may still have to sit in the back seat, but this area should prove large enough for the majority of female drivers.
Honda dropped the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, meaning all CR-V trims for the 2020 model year use a 1.5-liter turbocharged motor producing 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed to front- or all-wheel-drive through a continuously variable transmission, which allows the engine to accelerate smoothly without any gaps in power delivery. FWD CR-V models manage 28/34/30 mpg city/highway/combined or 27/32/29 mpg with AWD. We prefer the turbo engine and CVT's smooth power delivery over the RAV4's loud 2.5-liter four-cylinder and eight-speed automatic.
The CR-V's cabin is roomy, and its back seat ranks at the top of the compact class. Rear occupants get 40.4 inches of legroom, which is far more than you get from rivals like the Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, or Toyota RAV4. Not only are the seats comfortable and spacious, but rear passengers also get two air vents and USBs to charge their devices. Sadly, heated rear seats are not offered.
As with the back seat, the CR-V's trunk is massive. The crossover houses an impressive 39.2 cubic feet of space behind the second row (more than CX-5 and RAV4) and with the rear seats folded, space opens to 75.8 cubic feet. What's more, Honda included folding levers on the seatbacks and in the cargo area, meaning you can conveniently drop the rear seats from any position. Once folded, the seats lay nearly flat, creating a level load surface.
We only have one major gripe with the 2020 CR-V, and it's a gripe we have with many Honda models at the moment - infotainment. Honda's seven-inch touchscreen may finally have a volume knob, but on the CR-V, it still lacks physical buttons or a tuning knob, making basic radio functions a nuisance to use. The screen also looks small compared to rivals and is more sluggish to respond to touch inputs. Plus, when we tried the factory navigation, it got lost on a main road.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay make the system slightly better, but even here there is an issue. Several Honda/Acura press vehicles gave us trouble with our phone connection, forcing us to rely on the terrible built-in navigation.