Honda started to fill up the gap between the smaller HR-V subcompact crossover and the Pilot model offered in North America. The result was the creation of a compact crossover named CR-V back in 1995, based on the platform of Civic.
Since then, Honda CR-V came through five different generations with increase in almost every year’s sales figure. Today, it is Honda’s best-selling model in North America.
The fourth generation Honda CR-V (2011-2017) started to show off a great leap forward in sales figure for Honda in USA. This generation offered the adequate 2.4L Inline-4 i-VTEC with 185 hp and 163 lb.ft. But the engine was not the strongest link for this Honda CR-V. This model used a new AWD with real time monitoring and intelligent control system.
North American versions were equipped with a 5 speed automatic transmission. The facelift version of the fourth generation Honda CR-V was utilized with the newer CVT mating with the newer direct injection Earth Dreams engine series from Honda. The fuel efficiency was improved considerably while it was structurally tuned to stand better marks at crash and safety tests. Many mechanical parts including suspension, springs, anti-roll bars, lower control arms, steering wheel box and brake booster were all improved to give it a sharper and sportier handling.
The fourth generation set the bar high for the fifth generation to keep on going. Based on the tenth generation Honda Civic platform, the latest Honda CR-V with totally a new look and exterior uses the 2.4L Inline-4 with 184 hp, 180 lbft Earth Dreams as the base engine trim. Then came the 1.5L turbocharged direct injection Inline-4 with 190 hp, 179 lb.ft of torque from the perfect output band from 2000 to 5000 RPM, challenging the naturally aspirated 2.4L I4. Since 2020 Honda chose this small turbocharged engine as the standard option CR-Vs available in USA.
The transmission choices are either a CVT or a 9 speed ZF automatic which is only offered for the turbo diesel versions out of North America. Therefore North American Honda CR-V models unfortunately come with the CVT Transmission only. FWD or AWD driving systems are also optionally available for each trim level.
A 2.0L MPFI inline-4 naturally aspirated gasoline engine is offered only in the hybrid setup of Honda CR-V. This engine is capable of 143 hp and 129 lb.ft by itself. There is an AC electric motor involved in the mix.
The motor puts out 181 hp and 232 lb.ft of torque but as Honda USA puts it, the total system horsepower is at 212 hp with maximum torque of 232 lbft. This model is as well only offered with the E-CVT with sport mode and deceleration selector unique to the hybrid version.
Fifth generation Honda CR-V won “Edmund’s Editor’s Choice: Best SUV”, “Edmund’s Best Small Family SUV” and “Edmund’s Buyers Most Wanted” awards back in 2019. In 2020 US News and World Report gave Honda CR-V “Best Compact SUV for the Money” award. The same year Kelley Blue Book named it as “2020 Best buy: Compact SUV”.
Honda CR-V is a sweet combination of reasonable pricing range and acceptable quality in which delivers the job with minimum maintenance costs with the highest safety possible as it passed all NHTSA and Euro NCAP crash tests with flying colors. It is not necessarily the best choice for all families but the sales figures of 2020 so far determine Honda CR-V to be even more popular than Honda’s Civic in North America.
Honda CR-V MSRP starts at the minimum 25.050 USD for the lowest LX gasoline-powered Trim and goes all the way up to 35,950 USD for top of the ladder Hybrid Touring trim before any options are added.