About three years ago, the Honda CR-V (Comfortable Runabout Vehicle) underwent a major transformation. Never known to rest on their laurels, engineers at the Japanese carmaker have refreshed the exterior of the popular compact SUV while enhancing it with more features. Trust us, the changes are all for the better.
Offered as a front-wheel or all-wheel drive (which was our test drive), the fifth-generation 2020 CR-V is available in a 1.5-liter direct-injection, turbo four-cylinder engine that develops 190 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 179 pounds-feet of torque at 5,000 rm. Your other choice is a hybrid/electric CR-V version also. Power is put to the road via a new continuously variable transmission. An independent MacPherson strut front and a multilink rear suspension isolates occupants from road noise and rough bumps. The motion-adaptive electric power steering, which nixes use of hoses and pumps, translates into gas savings.
The CR-V styling appears even more aggressive and sleeker than its predecessor. Tweaked LED headlights and wing-shaped daytime running lights flank a redesigned chrome-slathered two-bar grille while vertical darker LED tail lamps and dual chrome exhaust tips take up the rear. The 60/40 rear seat is easy to fold. Just pull the small levers located near the tailgate and you have a flat seat to haul cargo. Bins and cubbies are scattered throughout. Cargo space is with the second row down is a vast 75.8 cubic feet while passenger volume is also worthy at 102.9 cubic feet. Also standard are dual auto a/c, seven-inch display for audio/navigation system with voice recognition and rearview camera, leather on seats, shifter and the tilt/telescopic steering column, sunglass holder, 12-way driver and four-way front-passenger power seats, power tailgate and moon roof, push-button start and a driver information center.
Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag with rollover system, vehicle stability assist, traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, three-point seatbelts, front/rear crumple zones, blind-spot and rear cross traffic monitor, front-seat active head restraints, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.
The car-like CR-V boasts admirable passenger- and cargo-hauling capabilities. And you can count on the turbocharged power train to add more peppiness and fun to the ride. Besides, the practical and fuel-efficient SUV (averaging almost 30 mpg in combined driving for us) comes with Honda’s solid reputation for reliability and durability.
CR-V AWD (TOURING)
Tires: 235/55 R19
Wheelbase: 104.7 inches
Length: 182.1 inches
Weight: 3,569 pounds
Fuel capacity: 14 gallons
City: 27 mpg
Highway: 33 mpg
Base price: $34,750
Price as tested: $35,845
Web site: www.honda.com
Nitish S. Rele operates motoringtampabay.com and Khaas Baat, and was an automotive editor/columnist for the Tampa Tribune. Email him at email@example.com.