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The 2020 CR-V is part of the gen-five of what is now arguably a “venerable” compact crossover, not only because of the vehicle’s heritage (the first CR-V was launched in 1997) but because in the CR-V has a rather large footprint in the U.S. market.

Consider that in 2019 Honda sold 267,567 Accords and 325,650 Civics. Any mainstream manufacturer would be immensely desirous of having just one of those two numbers on its books.

2020 CR-V

2020 Honda CR-V: even better than before. (Images: Honda)

But in 2019 Honda sold 384,168 CR-Vs in the U.S.

That means it outsold the Accord by 116,601 units and the Civic by 58,518.

And yes, the CR-V earns those numbers because it is well executed and consumers obviously understand that.

For 2020

For the 2020 model year the CR-V gets some upgrades. Across the line there are a new front bumper, grille and headlamp designs, as well as modifications to the rear, as in dark-tinted taillight lenses, a dark chrome tailgate garnish, and even-darker-than-before rear glass (obviously, “dark” is the new “thing”). Inside the changes are more minimal, with the primary element being a redesigned center console that is said to be “easier to use,” although it isn’t like the one in the 2019 model that could be described as being measurably “less easy to use.”

Powertrain

Under the hoods of all 2020 CR-Vs is a 1.5-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder engine that produces 190 hp @ 5,600 rpm and 179 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 to 5,000 rpm. (In the previous model year the LX trim had a 184-hp 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engine.)

The transmission is continuously variable transmission (CVT) that uses something called “Honda G-Shift logic control.” Although Honda describes the CVT to be “sporty,” if you’ve been familiar with driving a “regular” automatic (a step-gear transmission) you might find the CVT to be a bit less responsive; its logic and your foot on the accelerator may have a difference of opinion.

Sensing for Systems

Speaking of things that now all CR-Vs have, the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies is standard, with all trims coming with collision mitigation braking system with forward collision warning and pedestrian sensing, road departure mitigation with lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control with lone-speed follow, and lane-keeping assist.

CR-V interior

Compact outside. Comfortable inside.

The Touring Trim

What’s new and unique to the Touring trim (the one in question here) are 19-inch alloy wheels (Touring is top-of-the-line, so lower trims get 17s and 18s), a heated steering wheel (which is my new favorite feature on vehicles, now passing capless fuel fill), Qi wireless charging, updated LED high and low-beam headlights. (The carryover features include sat nav, roof rails, rain-sensing wipers, hands-free access power liftgate, chrome exhaust, and a nine-speaker audio system.)

CR-V IP

Obvious attention to ergonomics.

They Get It

It is clear that the designers and engineers at Honda have recognized that the CR-V is a vitally important part of the company’s lineup and that it is now in a market where there is a tremendous number of very, very good competitive vehicles that it is up against.

And they have delivered. The Accord and the Civic have long been what Honda’s name has been associated with. Clearly, the CR-V makes that a triumvirate of seriously well-done vehicles.

 

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