The Honda CR-V is one of the most recognizable vehicles on the road today. After more than 20 years on the market, Honda has given the CR-V a hybrid powertrain and the latest technologies. However, it’s still the reliable and comfortable family hauler that we’ve all come to love. Competition in the compact crossover segment is fierce, especially from Toyota with hybrid and an upcoming plug-in hybrid version of its RAV4; but the CR-V has just enough in the way of new features to keep it competitive.
I was given the opportunity to test the 2020 Honda CR-V Touring and jumped at the chance to put it through its paces with my two children and daily family duties. After a week in the Honda, it’s easy to see its appeal, though my heavy-footed enthusiast driving style is at odds with the CR-V’s calm and smooth demeanor. That’s fine, because the crossover does its job without complaint, and made for an excellent companion for my family. Here’s why I think it’s an excellent choice for your family, no matter the trim.
Comfortable and Upscale Interior
The CR-V, in its higher trims, does everything it can to make passengers feel special. From the synthetic but realistic wood trim to the excellently appointed seats, it’s a nice place to be for long periods of time. Even in lower trims with cloth upholstery, the seats and interior feel premium and well put-together. The dash is laid out intuitively and makes it easy to find the setting, button, or control you’re trying to locate.
The back seat is spacious and comfortable, with more padding than we’re used to seeing in second-row seating accommodations. Parents will love the CR-V’s large door openings, high roof, and generous second-row legroom because all of those factors work together to make it easy to load and unload kids from car seats. Slightly older children can easily climb into the CR-V and into their booster seats, but shorter parents may have difficulty lifting kids into seats because of the crossover’s height.
Standard Safety Equipment
Honda Sensing is standard equipment for the 2020 CR-V. That means standard collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist. Blind spot monitoring is also standard for all but the lowest trim level. Automatic on/off headlights are standard for the Touring trim level that we tested. Those features were good enough for the CR-V to earn a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Large Cargo Area
Nothing puts a damper on a family road trip faster than running out of room. The CR-V combats this problem by bringing a cavernous back cargo area to the mix and does so without impeding on the comfort of passengers. The CR-V bests its competition in both measurable cargo space and in the way that space is configured. Behind the rear seats, the Honda can squeeze in several suitcases, and the low load floor makes it easy to lift in heavy items. With the rear seat folded down, the Honda could almost pass as a cargo van.
Honda’s infotainment system can be frazzling at times, as it’s slow and not particularly intuitive. Even so, the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in all but the lowest trim means that owners won’t have to contend with Honda’s stock system for long. Beyond that, the available SiriusXM Radio, navigation, nine-speaker audio system, and wireless device charging all combine to make the CR-V a tech winner. At the highest trim level, the available tech features work together to create a wonderful experience that “just works.” Shifting to Apple CarPlay is a smooth transition, and the nine-speaker sound system fills the cabin with rich audio.
The CR-V can hit 30 MPG combined without breaking a sweat, making it one of the most efficient crossovers on the market today. That efficiency is good enough to push the vehicle well into the 400 miles per tank club, and greatly increases the CR-V’s value proposition for families that want a road trip machine.
Smooth Driving Experience
If we were talking about a sportier vehicle, the inclusion of a continuously variable transmission would be a big no-no, but here it helps keep the CR-V’s engine right where it needs to be to provide decent acceleration and fuel economy. The 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder produces 190 horsepower and is more than enough for the CR-V’s docile nature. There won’t be any drag racing trophies on your shelf as a CR-V owner, but the powertrain is more than well-matched for the vehicle.
On the road, the Honda has a refined, calm driving demeanor, making it ideal for families with small children. It handles the dreaded “nap-lap” with ease and is quiet enough to keep the little ones asleep for the long haul. On rough roads, the Honda maintains its composure, gliding over cracks, potholes, and bumps without becoming unsettled.
The bottom line, you can’t go wrong with a 2020 Honda CR-V. It’s a great option for families and those who want a quiet ride with plenty of room for cargo.