Think of the venerable Honda CR-V, now in its fifth generation and last fully redesigned in 2017, as a small SUV that’s built for living large. This compact crossover’s sizable impact starts with its 1.5-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which is now standard across the model lineup. Its 190 horsepower gives the CR-V lively performance on par with the best of its competitors, with power to spare for freeway merges and passing. Better still, it does so while delivering above-average EPA fuel-economy numbers.
The nicely tuned suspension does a good job of smoothing out bumps and handling winding roads with grace and composure. The brakes feel strong, although the automatic emergency braking—part of a suite of standard advanced safety features—tends to overreact and engage even when there’s no real danger.
Perhaps the CR-V’s strongest suit is its spacious interior, with generous room for four grown-ups and plenty of places to stash odds and ends. There’s also abundant cargo room—a cavernous 76 cubic feet with the rear seat backs folded.
The cabin’s biggest negative is a bit nitpicky but still worth noting—an infotainment system that lacks a physical knob for radio tuning. It’s a minor shortcoming, but annoying nevertheless. New for 2020 is the CR-V Hybrid, which is EPA rated at 38 mpg in combined driving, added testament that the CR-V is a small SUV that’s a big deal.
Vehicle layout: 1.5-liter turbocharged inline 4 (190 hp), CVT, AWD
MSRP, base model: $25,150; as tested: $34,845
MPG, city/highway/combined: 28/34/30
Safety ratings: NHTSA: 5 stars overall; IIHS: good (crash-related ratings)
Spare tire: Compact temporary
Final assembly: Greensburg, Indiana; East Liberty, Ohio; Alliston, Ontario, Canada
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles