What’s So Special About Honda’s Best-Selling Vehicle in the US?
A Review of the 2020 Honda CR-V Touring AWD
Today we’re talking about Honda’s best selling vehicle, the CR-V. The CR-V is Honda’s compact SUV and has a lot of competitors such as the Toyota RAV4, Chevy Equinox, and Ford Escape. According to Honda, CR-V stands for Comfortable Runabout Vehicle. The CR-V is slotted right in between the smaller HR-V and larger Pilot. Interestingly, the CR-V borrows the Civic’s platform. The CR-V has been the best-selling CUV in America for over 20 years.
Let’s hop in our time machine and head back to 1996 for a little history of the CR-V. The CR-V was Honda’s first in-house designed utility vehicle, and it was marketed as a luxury vehicle in Japan. Originally, the CR-V only came in one trim, the base model LX. Amazingly, the first two generations of CR-V came equipped with a factory picnic table. Even more amazing, they never offered it again. There have been five generations of CR-V and they are still going strong.
The fifth-generation CR-V was released for the 2017 model year. With it the CR-V brought four-way lumbar for the driver, and I like my lumbar. For 2020, Honda refreshed the CR-V, bringing the first Hybrid CR-V to ever be sold in America. They dropped the original 2.4L I4 for a 1.5L I4 turbo. There are minor exterior styling changes, but most importantly Honda Sensing is now standard for all CR-V’s
The CR-V Comes in Honda’s most basic four trims and starts out at $25k:
2020 Honda CR-V Trims
This is the $36k CR-V Touring with AWD in Platinum White Pearl with 19” wheels. All CR-V’s come with a 14-gallon fuel tank, CVT, and curb weight around 3,500 lbs. There are two engine options either a gas-only or a hybrid version:
2020 Honda CR-V Engines
The max towing capacity of the gas-only version is 1,500 lbs. Not sure how this helps you, but that’s about the same as two and a half pigs.
What It’s Like to Drive
It’s a very maneuverable car with an 18.7’ turning radius which is similar to other cars of its class. Like most Honda’s, this one drives great with a responsive steering wheel as well as excellent suspension. The 1.5T offers plenty of power for everything you need. Although I know it’ll never happen, I would love to see the CR-V with a V6. Because it is an SUV, you have great visibility on the road. It comes with Honda’s awkward conversation mirror which doubles as a sunglasses holder. All around the CR-V has LED lighting from the headlights to the foglights to the taillights. Inside, there’s a very Earthy feel with the woodgrain trim.
It comes with the hands-free liftgate, which works well once you get used to it. As well as a cargo area cover, which is great if you’re trying to hide something in the trunk, perhaps a body. The Touring trim comes standard with roof rails, which is great if you plan on using it to haul kayaks or maybe even a canoe. All hybrid CR-Vs come with AWD, on the gas-only versions, it’s merely an option. If you have AWD money, it’s worth noting that AWD CR-Vs come with an extra 6”, of ground clearance. For those who don’t want AWD but want six more inches, there are pills on the internet.
To keep everyone inside comfortable it comes with leather seats all the way around, and heated seats in the front. It comes with dual-zone climate, as well as a heated steering wheel. As if the driver’s seat isn’t already good enough with the heated steering wheel, it’s adjustable in 12 ways with two driver memory. Like every other new Honda I’ve done, it comes with Android Auto/ Apple CarPlay compatibility. Finally, if you have a modern phone, it comes with a wireless phone charger, which is kind of useless if you want to use Android Auto/Apple CarPlay because the phone has to be plugged in.
As we all know, Honda and safety go together like chokers and daddy issues. The CR-V doesn’t break this mold with an IIHS Top Safety Pick. As well as Honda Sensing Standard, check out the Pilot article which talks more about it. Unlike the HR-V this comes with Honda’s proper blind spot indicator. It also comes with an auto-dimming mirror, something I think all cars should have today. In addition to rain-sensing wipers, which work just as well as the ones we saw on the Accord. Finally, it comes with a multi-angle backup camera with dynamic guidelines.
Honda CR-V vs. Toyota RAV4
The CR-V’s rival is the Toyota RAV4. If it were the previous generation RAV4 I could do this blindfolded, but because Toyota decided to compete again it’s not that easy. The CR-V has the better interior of the two with soft-touch materials instead of Toyota’s hard plastics. Not only does the CR-V have more cargo space, it also offers a more spacious cabin for passengers. The CR-V offers a better ride, more selection of technology, as well as a more comfortable interior. Similar CR-Vs are about $1k cheaper than their RAV4 counterparts. Although the RAV4 offers the more powerful engine, is safer with a Top Safety Pick+, and JD Power predicts the RAV4 to be slightly more reliable. My winner is the CR-V because it has more space, a better interior, and drives better.
- The Engine is Nothing More Than Adequate
If you’re looking for a compact SUV, look no further, the Honda CR-V is as good as they come. With its plentiful cargo space, technology, and comfort, it’s truly a winner. No longer, am I surprised that this is the best-selling compact utility vehicle in America, let alone Honda’s best-selling car. The only problem I have with the new CR-V is that it doesn’t come with the factory picnic table like the first and second generations did. However, even without the table, the CR-V is a fantastic car.