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2020 Honda CR-V Chicago-land Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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2020 Honda CR-V
One of the best gets better

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

My last drive in a Honda CR-V was the 2017 model which at that time was all-new. Riding on a new platform with longer wheelbase and wider track the CR-V had been completely redesigned with more style and flair. The interior had been revised and made more spacious, and there was a new turbo engine.

Now for 2020 this fifth-gen CR-V has been freshened with a new look up front featuring a new grille and fascia. In back there’s new taillights, and new 19-inch wheels as well as new designs for the 18-inch wheels to round things out.

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Four trim levels continue to be offered, namely LX, EX, EX-L and Touring and all are powered by the same 190-horsepower 1.5-L turbo engine mated to a CVT automatic. Either front-wheel or all-wheel drive are offered in each trim.

Also new is the standardization of Honda’s suite of automatic driver-assist safety (ADAS) features, under the moniker Honda Sensing.

A recent addition to the lineup is the 2020 CR-V Hybrid, the first electrified SUV from the Honda brand in America. The CR-V's advanced two-motor hybrid powertrain, shared with the current Accord Hybrid, combines two electric motors with a 2.0-liter, 16-valve DOHC Atkinson cycle engine for 212 total system horsepower. The CR-V Hybrid is offered in all-wheel drive only.

CR-V prices range from $25,050 to $34,750. The CR-V Hybrid starts at $27,750 and goes up to $37,950. Destination charge for all is $1,120.

EPA test-cycle ratings for the CR-V AWD are 29 mpg combined, with 27 city mpg and 32 highway mpg. Front-drive models are rated one mpg higher in city and two mpg higher in highway. The CR-V Hybrid is all about low fuel consumption. EPA combined rating is 28 mpg, with 40 city mpg and 35 highway mpg. As you can see, the big hybrid benefit is in lower speed city-type driving.

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For my revisit with the 2020 CR-V I drove a top-line AWD Touring model finished in an attractive Aegean Blue Metallic.

In my jaunts around my Chicago home the 190-horsepower made its presence known with the CR-V delivering decent acceleration as well as good mid-range passing ability. The entire powertrain combination worked well together to provide balanced all-around performance.

Ride comfort is also decent too, with good suspension compliance and overall well balanced handling. There’s good NVH control providing an overall comfortable driving experience, although I did notice a bit of wind noise at higher highway speeds.

The cabin is nicely finished with good looking material and trim bits. The leather trimmed seats, heated front seats as well as heated steering wheel, power moonroof, hands free power rear hatch, and 9-speaker audio all make for a pleasant driving experience.

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I thought the faux woodgrain trim a bit too faux for my taste. But, that’s a subjective observation. I’ve driven many new vehicles and experienced the many new design approaches for selecting automatic transmission gears. Some of the rotary and push button selects are quite good. That said, I was a bit startled by the pure mechanical lever selector on the CR-V. It does work just fine. I guess I was expecting something more refined. That said, the new CR-V Hybrid has a push button selector that might just make its way into the non-hybrid.

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Front seat comfort is good and there’s adequate room. The rear seat is nicely large for grown adult size people. Storage cubbies, trays and pockets abound on the CR-V. A combination of mechanical and digital controls are used for audio, HVAC, Nav system and the like. Steering wheel controls make it easier for the driver.

The CR-V has 39.2 cu.ft. of rear cargo volume the increases to 75.8 cu.ft. with the rear seat folded. A 2-tier cargo floor allows for versatility in providing some hidden storage or space for a taller object.

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More details and specifications on the 2020 CR-V can be found at There’s not a lot of choices beyond selecting trim levels and colors but there is an accessory program that allows for some customization.

Honda’s CR-V is one of the original compact SUVs and America's best-selling crossover of the past two decades.

The freshened 2020 Honda CR-V and all-new CR-V Hybrid have been named the 2020 Green SUV of the Year by Green Car Journal, the second time Honda has won Green SUV of the Year, and the sixth time a Honda vehicle has earned recognition from Green Car Journal.

Honda has said that by 2030 they want two-thirds of their global vehicle sales to come from electrified products, as part of their effort to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy