IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:
The CR-V offers excellent passenger and cargo versatility, polished driving manners, and an outstanding Hybrid model.
Acceleration with the regular gasoline engine is middling, and there are no traditional stand-alone options, so the CR-V isn’t as customizable as some rivals.
CR-V Hybrids have about six cubic feet less cargo space than their non-hybrid siblings; the hybrid system’s battery is located underneath the rear cargo floor, which means the floor can’t be lowered for more volume.
WHAT IS IT?
The CR-V is Honda’s compact SUV. The first-generation Honda CR-V debuted for 1997—a couple model years after the Toyota RAV4—and the two vehicles helped define the modern-day compact crossover SUV. The CR-V was redesigned for the 2017 model year and got a notable refresh for 2020. The current model roster ascends through LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring trim levels, powered by a 191-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder or a 212-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder/electric hybrid powertrain. Save for the Touring model, regular gas-engine models offer a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive; the Touring and Hybrids are AWD only. All CR-Vs come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of active safety features, which includes forward collision warning with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep assist. Available features include Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, wireless smartphone charger, heated front seats and steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, 9-speaker premium audio system, and a hands-free power liftgate.
The gas-engine CR-V Touring model now comes standard with all-wheel drive; it was previously available with front-wheel drive as well.
The EPA rates the CR-V at 28 mpg city/34 mpg highway with front-wheel drive and 27/32 with all-wheel drive. The CR-V Hybrid, which comes standard with all-wheel drive, is rated at 40 mpg city/35 mpg highway. In Consumer Guide® testing, an AWD Touring averaged 26.7 mpg in an even split of city and highway driving, and a Hybrid Touring averaged 36.5 mpg in 65-percent highway driving.
VALUE IN CLASS
The Honda CR-V was one of the pioneers of compact SUV as we know it today, and it’s still one of the best. It packs an impressive amount of passenger and cargo space into its sensibly sized exterior dimensions, and its driving manners exhibit the typical Honda refinement. For a reasonable price premium of $1200, the CR-V Hybrid offers a wonderfully refined hybrid powertrain that delivers smooth power and much-improved fuel economy.