2020 Honda CR-VAs one of the nation’s best-selling compact-crossover SUVs, the 2020 Honda CR-V makes life tougher for the competition this year, adding a turbocharged engine and more safety features as standard equipment. This year also marks the debut of the first Honda CR-V Hybrid, which has standard all-wheel drive (AWD) and earns up to 40 mpg.

The CR-V offers a ton of interior room, a comfortable ride and good fuel economy, yet its price remains well within most budgets, and its reliability and resale figures are the envy of the industry. Sure, the CR-V isn’t as off-road-capable as a Jeep Cherokee, and it’s not as quick as a turbocharged Hyundai Santa Fe or Ford Escape. But that’s the point. The CR-V strikes the perfect balance between extremes, which is why in 2019 it was named a KBB Best Buy.

Driving the 2020 Honda CR-V

As of this year, the 2020 Honda CR-V’s standard engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. We like this plucky little powertrain as it offers excellent fuel economy and loads of torque, helping it feel much livelier than its 190-horsepower rating might suggest. It can’t match the performance of the turbocharged Ford Escape and Kia Sportage, but the CR-V has never been about blistering speed. In the CR-V, acceleration builds steadily, with the continuously variable transmissions (CVT) simulating stepped gear changes that mimic a traditional 6-speed automatic.

The engine pulls well, even when performing low-speed passing maneuvers. It’s a much more satisfying experience than you’ll get from behind the wheel of a Toyota RAV4. The CR-V’s steering is nicely assisted, with enough feedback to make it enjoyable when the road starts to wind. The ride is compliant, softer than most but also less jarring. That said, if you’re looking for a more sporty compact-crossover SUV, the Ford Escape or Kia Sportage is probably going to be more to your liking.

All-new for 2020 is the Honda CR-V Hybrid, which pairs a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with an electrified 2-motor system. In addition to being the most efficient CR-V, thanks to its 40 mpg EPA rating, it’s also more powerful than the standard gasoline model: 212 horsepower. The CR-V Hybrid’s acceleration is similar to that of the conventional model, but it’s quieter thanks to the ability to operate in electric-only mode at city speeds. When the powertrain transitions to the gasoline engine, the handoff is seamless. The hybrid powertrain is among the smoothest and most refined we’ve experienced in an SUV. We also like its linear brake feel and steering wheel-mounted paddles that enable you to tailor how much regenerative braking you want.

Favorite Features

Now standard on every trim, the Honda Sensing suite of driver assists includes forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, low-speed automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, auto high beams plus adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow.

Honda has been making hybrids for decades, but the CR-V Hybrid is the first U.S.-spec Honda hybrid with all-wheel drive, too. In addition to having that standard, it has more power and the expected higher efficiency than the standard model. Yet it’s only $1,200 more than an AWD gasoline model.

2020 Honda CR-V Interior

As noted, the 2020 CR-V’s 2-row/5-passenger interior space is one of its best attributes — an impressive feat given that the previous generation was already among the most spacious in its class. In addition to its growth, the latest CR-V’s space is easy to utilize. The 60/40-split rear seats fold with a simple pull of a lever, and the rear cargo area has a 2-tier setup in which the floor can be flat or set lower to keep objects secure. EX and above models have a pair of useful rear USB ports to keep mobile devices juiced. Up front is the CR-V’s familiar and enviable seating position that is comfortable and provides a good view out.

For the most part, hybrid CR-V models are much the same. Differences include buttons for the transmission instead of a lever, and hybrid-specific drive-mode buttons and digital gauge cluster. Most importantly, it retains much of the standard model’s cargo capacity. The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid has 33.2 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 68.7 cubic feet with the seats folded, vs. a respective 39.2/75.8 cubic feet for the standard model.

2020 Honda CR-V Exterior

New this year is a revised front end, highlighted by a new front bumper and blackout grille as well as larger openings for the fog lights. EX, EX-L and Touring trims get new round LED fog lights, with the EX trims riding on new 18-inch wheels and the Touring rolling on 19s.

Though still unmistakably a CR-V, Honda’s best-selling SUV looks like it has hit the gym, with a long, wide stance and some very aggressive wheel designs. Ground clearance is a respectable 7.8 inches for front-wheel-drive (FWD) models and 8.2 inches for all-wheel drive. This is especially good news for CR-V owners who will contend with snow and other foul weather.

Here again, CR-V Hybrid models have some minor distinctions. They include 5-LED fog lights on EX trims and higher, a blue Honda badge and hybrid badging, and a slightly revised rear bumper with hidden exhaust.

2020 Honda CR-V Standard Features

The 2020 Honda CR-V comes in four flavors: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. The least expensive Honda CR-V LX includes Honda Sensing, single-zone automatic climate control, rearview camera, 6-way manual-adjust driver’s seat, cruise control, and a 4-speaker/160-watt audio system with 5-inch color screen and Bluetooth wireless connectivity.

Most buyers will likely opt for the EX, which includes rear privacy glass, a 12-way-power driver’s seat with 4-way-power lumbar, dual-zone climate control, moonroof, push-button start, heated front seats and 7-inch-display audio/infotainment system that’s Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatible. Also standard are heated side mirrors, variable wipers, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, LED fog lights and auto up/down power-front windows.

2020 Honda CR-V Options

Major options come by climbing trims. Step up to the EX-L and you gain leather seating, a power tailgate, 4-way power-adjustable passenger seat, HomeLink universal garage-door opener, auto-dimming rearview mirror and 8-speaker audio system.

Top-line Touring models add a hands-free tailgate, navigation, LED headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, roof rails, a heated steering wheel, wireless charge pad, dual chrome exhaust outlets, and a 9-speaker/330-watt premium audio system. All-wheel drive is optional on all trims of the 2020 Honda CR-V, and standard on the CR-V Hybrid.

2020 Honda CR-V Engine

The Honda CR-V comes standard with a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder good for 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque, the latter coming on at a very low 2,000 rpm. This engine was formerly available in every CR-V except the base LX trim, which used a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) 2.4-liter. With that engine gone for 2020, even the base CR-V now has the turbo. Highway fuel economy is 34 mpg on front-drive models, with the AWD version giving up just 2 mpg.

Unlike many of its rivals, the CR-V’s turbocharged engine runs quite contentedly on regular unleaded gasoline. The standard CVT automatic features a Sport mode for added responsiveness, although the CR-V has no illusions of being sporty. In both front- and all-wheel-drive models, towing is limited to just 1,500 pounds.

New for 2020 is the Honda CR-V Hybrid, which pairs a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors. Total output is 212 horsepower, and the hybrid has all-wheel drive standard (it’s optional on the gasoline-only models). The hybrid uses an electronic continuously variable automatic transmission (eCVT) and has the ability to run on electricity alone at lower speeds. Otherwise, the CR-V Hybrid operates similar to the conventional gasoline model. There’s no plugging in; just get in and go. Its best benefit is better fuel economy. It doesn’t quite reach the levels of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid or Ford Escape Hybrid but does attain up to 40 mpg in the city.

1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4 (LX, EX, EX-L, Touring)
190 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
179 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/34 mpg (FWD), 27/32 mpg (AWD)

2.0-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder, dual electric motor
212 horsepower total
232 lb-ft of torque total
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 40/35 mpg

How Much Does the 2020 Honda CR-V Cost?

Honda’s CR-V SUV for 2020 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting right around $26,145 for the base LX model, including the $1,095 destination fee. That’s just a $600 increase over last year’s model that didn’t include the turbocharged engine or Honda Sensing. The better-equipped EX starts at $28,655. Adding leather and the other features, the EX-L lists for $31,145, while a top-line CR-V Touring edition begins around $34,345. Adding AWD is an extra $1,500.

The Honda CR-V Hybrid starts at $27,750, which is only $1,200 more than a base CR-V with AWD (which is standard on the Hybrid). Similarly, each trim of the hybrid is $1,200 more than its gasoline twin with AWD. Given the potential savings in fuel costs over the years, we think the CR-V Hybrid is a very enticing value.

At these prices, the new CR-V is less expensive than the Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota RAV4, while others in this hot segment, such as the Chevrolet Equinox and Ford Escape, start slightly lower. Subaru’s Forester is slightly less expensive and comes standard with AWD and the EyeSight driver-assist system.

Another aspect the CR-V has going for it is high resale value. It has traditionally held its value very well, and we expect the same of the 2020 model.

Which 2020 Honda CR-V Model is Right for Me?

2020 Honda CR-V LX
1.5-liter turbocharged engine
Honda Sensing
Automatic climate control
Easy Fold 60/40-split rear seat

2020 Honda CR-V EX
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Integration
Power sunroof
12-way-power driver’s seat
7-inch display audio
Heated front seats

2020 Honda CR-V EX-L
Leather-trimmed interior
Power tailgate
Power-adjustable passenger seat
8-speaker/180-watt sound system

2020 Honda CR-V Touring
Hands-free power tailgate
LED headlights with auto-on/off
330-watt premium audio system
Navigation system
Heated steering wheel

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid LX
Similar as standard LX, plus:
All-wheel drive

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid EX
Similar as standard EX, plus:
All-wheel drive
5-LED fog lights

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid EX-L
Similar as standard EX-L, plus:
All-wheel drive
Heated steering wheel

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Touring
Similar as standard Touring plus:
All-wheel drive
Front and rear parking sensors

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