Great people (and cargo) mover. The 2020 Honda CR-V is extremely comfortable and spacious, making it perfect for carrying families around. Up to five adults fit inside with 40.4 inches of rear leg room, while front seats are adjustable up to 12 ways on most models.
Additionally, the cloth seats available on the LX and EX trims clearly puts an emphasis on durability, while the leather on the higher trims falls just short of most luxury brands.
The CR-V can also pack a lot of stuff. Cargo capacity behind the rear seats is 39.2 cubic feet, which is approximately the same as a Volkswagen Golf with the seats folded, while a whopping 75.8 cubic feet of space is available with the rear seats folded. The CR-V also includes tons of small storage options throughout the cabin, like a deep center console and plenty of cupholders.
Pleasant to drive. The CR-V is well-suited for our country's neglected streets, with a comfortable suspension tuning that feels better than any other competitor under $30,000. Amazingly, the ride remains comfortable even when equipped with 18- and 19-inch wheels.
Additionally, the steering is light and equipped with a large center zone that prevents any weaving within lanes, diminishing the likelihood of carsickness for passengers. Overall, the CR-V inspires confidence in most driving situations.
Surprising capability. The CR-V isn't underpowered with its 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque, which provide it with plenty of low-end grunt. Don't mistake it for a barn burner though, as the engine and continuously variable transmission it's paired with both strive for maximum fuel efficiency.
The effect pays dividends though, with EPA fuel economy ratings of 28 miles per gallon city, 34 mpg highway, and 30 combined. That's praiseworthy value among its heavy, brick-shaped competition.
Additionally, all models are available with all-wheel drive that makes navigating through snow and heavy rain a bit easier. It's by no means as capable as a Subaru Forester or Subaru Outback, but the CR-V's 7.8 inches of ground clearance allows it to clear obstacles that would give most other compact crossovers pause.
Excellent safety record. We give the CR-V top marks in the safety category. It received a five-star overall safety rating from NHTSA, and aced all of the IIHS' crash tests.
It failed to earn an IIHS designation, however, due to its headlights. They rated "Marginal," which is second from the bottom on their scale. Only the range-topping Touring trim gets LED headlights.
Still, every model comes standard with the Honda Sensing suite of active safety equipment. This brings automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and more.
Styled for the masses. We certainly don’t expect the CR-V to turn any heads, at least in this iteration. While there’s nothing that's inherently offensive about the styling, nothing really inspires us to look back as we're walking away. There’s nothing flashy about it inside and out, like you’d expect from a washing machine.
It doesn’t have to be like this. The Mazda CX-5 and the Toyota RAV4 both manage to be great compact crossovers with styling that draws your eye. The Honda, on the other hand, fades into the background effortlessly.
Final thoughts. The 2020 Honda CR-V absolutely nails many of the top items on the average car buyer’s shopping list. It’s comfortable, roomy, practical, affordable and efficient, making it a must-see for anyone shopping for a compact crossover.
The CR-V is also safe, with great crash test scores and highly-desired active safety features like adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. All in all, it’s nearly a perfect vehicle for young families.
The only downsides are the marginal headlights and the forgettable styling, but only one of these issues is something most buyers care about.
The CR-V is fantastic in most instances, but buyers that want something a little more beautiful should check out the more aggressively-styled RAV4 and attractive CX-5. While the Honda is surprisingly capable in snow and light off-road applications, those who expect to regularly go beyond the pavement should look at the Forester instead.
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