Last year, the nation’s best-selling compact SUV, the Toyota RAV4, surged dramatically and chipped away at market share from several rivals, but not from its closest pursuer. Sales of the Honda CR-V have indeed increased slightly, although the current generation arrived in 2016 as a 2017 model.
Even having benefited from some touch-ups and improvements for 2020, the CR-V has something to be jealous of its great rival, which is really on the go and which is the best buy in its category according to the team of Car guide. If you missed our technical comparison between the RAV4 and CR-V, take a few minutes to take a look.
Recently, we tested a Sport version of the CR-V, which offers one of the best values in the lineup with its price tag of $ 34,990. It adds beautiful 19-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, power tailgate, cloth and leatherette seats with 12 power settings for the driver, a heated steering wheel, a passenger side blind spot display and more.
So here are five things we like and five we don’t like about the 2020 Honda CR-V.
We like: space
Practical, the 2020 CR-V? And how! Getting on board is easy and both the front seats and the rear seats offer generous space – enough to make mid-size SUVs jealous.
The storage spaces are numerous and well thought out, as in the central console. As for the trunk, it totals 1,110 liters (bonus points for the easily accessible spare tire under the floor) and 2,146 liters are obtained by folding the rear seatbacks flat.
We like less: the design of the seats
Despite their fairly good appearance, the front seats on the Sport model we tested provide disappointing comfort and support – especially for such a spacious compact SUV. It feels more like sitting in the seat than in it, the cushion is rather firm and short, while the side reinforcements for the shoulders are too tight. These reviews are valid with an average sized driver; if you are tall and stout, it may be more painful.
We like: fuel economy
Believe it or not, the 2020 front-wheel drive Honda CR-V has official fuel consumption of just 7.7 L / 100 km, a tenth less than its little brother, the HR-V. It thus ranks first among fuel-efficient compact SUVs… tied with the RAV4, which has an identical rating!
With all-wheel drive, the average increases to 8.1 L / 100 km. Our test, mainly on a street circuit, ended with a result of 8.8 L / 100 km, but it must be said that we did not really make an effort to save gasoline, and precisely did not used the stuffy Econ mode.
We like less: a single engine
The 1.5-liter turbocharged engine does a good job with its 190 horsepower and especially its 179 pound-feet of torque from 2,000 to 5,000 rpm, however, it is still noisy under acceleration (the continuously variable gears takes some of the blame), its pseudo Sport mode doesn’t change much and its reliability record hasn’t been great so far (issues with heating and mixing oil with gasoline) .
What also does not benefit the CR-V is that it does not offer a more powerful alternative or a hybrid version like several rivals. In fact, a 212-horsepower hybrid CR-V has been sold in the United States since 2020, but not in Canada (assembled in Indiana, it would apparently be too expensive once imported here). Consumers want choice, so it’s a mess here.
We like: standard security
For 2020, the Honda Sensing suite joins standard equipment on all CR-Vs. It’s great because it brings together various safety and driver assistance technologies: impact reduction braking system with forward collision warning and pedestrian detection, lane departure mitigation system with warning, adaptive cruise control with low speed adjustment as well as the lane departure assistance system.
We like less: random security
The system which keeps us in the center of the track would benefit from being reprogrammed, because it is sometimes too sensitive, sometimes not enough (three levels of adjustment are available). Furthermore, although we appreciate the blind spot display on the passenger side (connected to a camera under the mirror), it is only included in two versions and its use is limited. To get a true two-sided blind spot monitoring system with rear cross traffic alert, you have to pay top dollar.
We like: handling
True to Honda’s reputation, the handling of the 2020 CR-V is very pleasant. The suspension is firm but not too tight, the steering is straightforward and well balanced, while the braking is easy to mod and effective without causing excessive diving. As a result, the vehicle holds the road well and is maneuverable in most situations.
We like less: the infotainment system
Don’t you love screens that look like a simple electronic tablet stuck to the dashboard at the last minute? Neither do we, and that’s what we find in the CR-V. The interface design is misleading, as the display is actually limited to seven inches (no larger option elsewhere in the lineup). Worse still, the countless menus and settings are too distracting while driving.
We like: the manufacturing quality
Whether on the outside or inside, the Honda CR-V shows that it is a quality product and well built. We have no complaints in terms of assembly and the interior decor – in Sport version or higher – is an interesting amalgamation of materials and textures. If it weren’t for the engine, the interior would be nicely quiet.
We like less: the conservative side
Again and again, the CR-V is a rational and conservative vehicle. Controls and amenities are guided by practical considerations, such as ergonomics, on the other hand for daring and avant-garde, we will come back. A very good example is the ugly gear lever perched in the middle of the dashboard and unpleasant to handle. In the midterm update, Honda designers replaced it with buttons in the CR-V Hybrid… but not in the gasoline model we have here, unfortunately.