2020 Honda CR-V 1.5T AWD TOURING Review By David Colman +VIDEO
It's a winner in every regard
By David Colman
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
As soon as our Aegean Blue Metallic Honda arrived, it merited appreciative glances. In a crowded marketplace teeming with SUVs uglier than gargoyles, the simplified shape of the CR-V stands clear of every competitor. The slippery profile of the Honda was further enhanced by the stunning shade of grey-blue paint that graced the exterior. When I photographed the CR-V at both dawn and dusk, its pleasing contour, scintillating color and tasteful integration of chrome trim worked together so harmoniously that it was hard to stop taking shots. Can the CR-V really be the product of the same styling studio that has foisted the eyesore Honda Civic on the buying public?
From the outside, the CR-V looks too small to allow transport of a bicycle. But those svelte exterior contours belie this SUV's boxy interior, which can transport 36 cubic feet of goods. Even with the second row 60/40 split bench folded flat, I still had my doubts about whether the bike would fit. But once the luggage compartment screen is removed and stowed, an inviting flat floor makes bike insertion a cinch. Even with the rear seat backs raised, the CR-V affords seating for 5, with plenty of legroom all around thanks to its 105 inch long wheelbase.
The Touring model we drove was particularly well equipped. Its 19 inch alloy rims were shod with Continental ContiContact L/X all season tires (235/55R19). The hands-free rear liftgate also opened and closed at the touch of a button. The rain sensing wipers self activated when needed. The red trimmed black leather front and rear seats offer not only good looks, but surprising support and comfort as well. The driver's seat is 12-way power adjustable, with 4 options available to the front seat passenger. The Touring package also provided 3 stage heating for the front seats, plus a heated steering wheel as well. Tribute to the Honda engineer who decided to place the steering wheel heater button on the spoke of the wheel itself, rather than bury this feature in an obscure spot on the dash. The space between the front seats combined a phone recharging platform with a couple of beverage holders and an open fronted storage compartment. The layout utilized the available space well.
The shift stalk for the continuously variable transmission (CVT) is elevated atop its own podium, which projects from the lower fascia of the dash. Auburn shaded wood-like inserts provide door and dash panels with some visual pizzazz. The CVT is one of the best we have experienced, with responsive but silent changes to driving demands, offering a sport (S) gate to maximize engine performance. However, the selected position of the shift lever is difficult to determine since Honda has chosen not to illuminate your choice on the lever mechanism itself. For confirmation of position, you need to refer to a letter call out on the face of the dashboard. This situation is unfortunate, because you are looking at the shift lever, not the instrument panel, when making gear changes.
We tried the adaptive cruise control (ACC) on a freeway run and found it to be smooth, predictable and clearly labeled on the right spoke of the leather-trimmed steering wheel. Honda Sensing is standard on the CR-V. In addition to the ACC, you can look to collision mitigation braking system (CMBS) and lane keeping assist system (LKAS) to keep you more centered than a Yoga practitioner. Road departure mitigation (RDM) might prove to be a life saver if you nod off while driving, but for our short haul trips, we decided to deactivate RDM when it kept flashing warnings that weren't proving useful.
The handsome and well constructed CR-V is a winner in almost every regard. It's faster than you think, stable enough to challenge twisty back roads, and handsome enough to win first prize in any SUV beauty contest.
2020 HONDA CR-V 1.5T AWD TOURING
ENGINE: 1.5 liter inline 4, direct injection, turbocharged
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 27MPG City/32 MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $35,845
HYPES: Intelligent Interior Layout, Good Performance
GRIPES: Light the Transmission Position
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10