• Larry Weitzman

2020 Honda CR-V Touring Reviewed


2020 Honda CR-V Touring, a study as to why it is a bestselling SUV.


Words and Pictures by Larry Weitzman


Honda has some great selling cars, the new Civic, which now outsells every other compact and

the new CR-V which was also the best-selling compact CUV when it was introduced about three years

ago (It has been overtaken by Brand T’s RAV4). When Honda introduced a bunch of new rides in the last

three years (Civic, CR-V, Pilot, Passport, and Accord) they were all fantastic. The new Civic blew me

away, with performance, handling, phenomenal fuel economy and fabulous looks and I loved the

Passport.

For this Road Beat, the CR-V is now in the spotlight. And it almost duplicates its Civics’ attributes

(CR-V means Civic Recreational Vehicle). While the new Civic has an awesome design, the new CR-V

while clearly the best-looking CR-V ever, still needs some work to its body. Such as lightening the front

end and more aggression. However, Honda must be complemented for its new headlight design. But

when compared to the first, second and third generation, its light years ahead. The prior fourth

generation was a big improvement and this current fifth generation is another big step in the right

direction.

Announced today as I write this Road Beat is a hybrid version of the CR-V that will be in

showrooms any day now. It has a 212 hp combined power system with the same fuel capacity of 14

gallons. Weight goes up less than 200 pounds and it loses about seven cubes of interior volume behind

the front seats. But its fuel economy goes up by about 8-10 mpg overall with I suspect improved

performance. All this for about a $1,200 premium, a bargain. I can’t wait to test one.

Getting back to our regular programming, the high compression (10.3:1), 1.5L DOHC 16 valve,

turbocharged direct injected four is a pure gem. With 18.5 pounds of boost pressure this new mini-

mighty knocks out 190 hp at a low 5,600 rpm while generating 179 pounds of twist anywhere from

2,000 to 5,000 rpm meaning it pulls like a freight train from off-idle to near peak hp, especially with the

new CVT tranny that drives and feels like it is actually shifting. Best CVT in the business. Turbocharging

also means no loss of performance at high altitudes as in the mountains.

Size wise, the CR-V is the perfect compact CUV at 181 inches in length plus a generous width of

73 inches while standing 67 inches tall. It rides on a 105-inch wheelbase which is average for this class.

Performance remains outstanding considering its diminutive 1.5L inline four. Ah, but the miracle

of turbo charging takes what would normally be an engine of about 120 hp and perhaps 100 pounds of

twist at 4,500 rpm to the huge numbers above by using the exhaust gases to spin up a turbine

compressor to a maximum boost of 18.5 PSI. That’s a big number. But it works well pushing this 3,569

pound CUV to 60 mph in a quick average of 7.78 seconds. It also runs a 50-70 mph simulated pass in just

4.30 seconds and the same run up a steep grade (6-7%) in 6.39 seconds. It does have some turbo lag

(most drivers won’t notice) and the reality is that it feels quicker than the actual numbers and once on

boost the CR-V feels quite responsive. Those numbers are essentially identical to my CR-V test three

years ago when it produced 7.82/4.19/6.29 seconds in the same performance tests. That is consistent

build quality.

The benefit of the small turbo engine is improved fuel economy. EPA rates this CR-V at 27/32/29

mpg city/highway/combined. On the highway at 70 mph in a two-way run it averaged 35.3 mpg. Overall

in aggressive driving with no highway 26 mpg was more the norm. I suspect the hybrid to improve

normal driving numbers by about 10 mpg with the constant highway number improving by an MPG or

two.

Handling is excellent because of its great engineering. Steering is an extremely quick 2.3 turns

lock to lock. Track is a wide 63 inches. Tires are 235/55 series surrounding 19X7 inch alloys. Suspension

is a state of the art trick independent set up with MacPherson struts up front and a double wishbone

system holding up the rear with stab bars at both ends. And does it corner. Steering is nicely weighted,

grip is excellent while when pushed hard the attitude remains reasonable flat. It is a delight when the

road bends when doing the fast tango in the twisties. Honda has also given the CR-V good weight

distribution with the AWD model at 57/43 percent front and rear.

And it still rides with that mid-size quality of extreme smoothness and quiet. There is little head

tossing. Quiet is promoted with its low rpms at 70 mph of 2,000. And the body is vault tight.

Since there is no second place with respect to safety, my CR-V top of the line Touring had every

safety feature, never mind the usual acronyms. Standard in the EX, EX-L and touring are advanced

features such as Forward Collision Warning, Land Departure Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking, Road

Departure Mitigation, Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Auto High-Beam Headlights and

Blind Spot Information along with Cross Traffic Monitor. Headlights are also terrific.

Inside this Touring edition is a comfortable leather interior with soft touch materials

everywhere. Instrumentation is complete and clear with a trick trip computer and three different

mileage computers and readouts. A weakness is the touch screen to control the radio and HVAC. Simple

push buttons and knobs are more accurate and easier to use. I have commented on this issue before.

Seating is very comfortable and multi-adjustable. It is suitable for all day travel and rear seating

is good for three. Cargo space is a winner for Home Depot and Lowe’s shopping.

Honda has a great way to price their models in four trim levels of options with the top three

models getting most all the safety equipment mentioned above. All CR-Vs now use the same

powertrain.

Pricing for the Touring model AWD begins and ends at $34,750 plus $1,095 ($35,846 all in) for

the train/truck from Alliston, Ontario, Canada. There are no factory options, it already has everything.

An LX FWD starts at $26,145 all in and AWD will add $1,500 to all FWD models. Drive one and you will

understand why this CUV is a hot seller.




Specifications

Price $26,145 to $36,845

Engine:

1.5L turbocharged, DOHC, 16 valve, direct injected inline four 190 hp @ 5,600 rpm

179 lbs.-ft. of torque @ 2,000-5,000 rpm

Transmission: CVT

Configuration: Transverse front engine/FWD/AWD


Dimensions

Wheelbase 104.8 inches

Length 182.1 inches

Width 73.0 inches

Height 66.5 inches

Track f/r AWD 62.9/63.5 inches

Ground clearance 8.2 inches

Weight 3,569 pounds

Weight distribution f/r 57/43 percent

Tow Capacity 1,500 pounds

Wheels 19X7 inch alloys

Tires 235/55X19

Steering lock to lock 2.30 turns

Turning circle 37.4 feet

Fuel capacity 14.0 gallons

Cargo volume seats up/down 37.6/75.8 cubic feet

Passenger volume 102.9 cubic feet


Performance:

0-60 mph 7.78 seconds

50-70 mph 4.30 seconds

50-70 mph up a steep grade 6.39 seconds

Top speed Who cares but well into triple digits

Fuel economy EPA rated at 27/32/29 mpg city/highway/combined. Expect 26-27 mpg in rural suburban

driving and 35 mpg on a level highway at legal speeds.

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