MSRP
$24,450
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2019 Honda CR-V Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.9

The 2019 CR-V has all the makings of a good commuter vehicle, with its composed handling and comfortable ride, even over rough roads. The base engine has good fuel economy and sufficient power for most drivers, but the optional turbocharged engine is both stronger and more fuel-efficient.

  • For 2019, the Honda CR-V compact SUV can be had with a choice of engines. In the base LX trim, the standard engine is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder used by Honda for years. With 184 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, this engine is fine for most purposes, but lags behind the competition. EX and higher trims get a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque, the latter coming on at very low 2,000 rpm. Fuel economy is better with the turbo as well, and unlike many of its rivals, this engine runs quite contentedly on regular unleaded gasoline. The standard CVT automatic features a Sport mode for added responsiveness, although the CR-V has no illusions of being sporty." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "If you're an owner of the previous-generation CR-V, this latest version is bound to feel more grown-up and sophisticated. It has a more comfortable and controlled ride, a quieter cabin and steering that needs fewer corrections when on the highway. Indeed, this observation doesn't just apply when comparing today's model to its predecessor, but to the entire compact SUV field as well (especially the popular Toyota RAV4)." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "Owners of previous CR-V models will feel right at home behind the wheel … as it drives in a familiar fun and responsive manner, reflective of how Honda isn't going to change a winning formula." -- New York Daily News (2017)

Acceleration and Power

With its standard 184-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, the CR-V has decent acceleration and solid gas mileage. Reviewers favor the available 190-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine for its ample power and quicker acceleration. Both engines are mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that feels refined, with simulated shifts that make it feels more like a traditional automatic.

A CR-V with the base four-cylinder engine returns 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, which are good estimates in the class. A CR-V model with turbocharged four-cylinder engine gets 2 extra mpg in the city and on the highway.

  • "There are two engine choices for the 2019 Honda CR-V, but any trim above the EX comes standard with Honda’s peppy 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. Only the base LX retains the older 2.4-liter engine offering six less horsepower and about two fewer miles per gallon. And while the CR-V’s turbo doesn’t elicit the same kind of performance you’ll get from a Ford Escape, is does offer better acceleration than the base engine. In fact, the turbo is almost imperceptible, devoid of the usual lag or sudden rush of power that sometimes accompanies turbocharged engines. Honda’s excellent continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) handles power distribution for both engines and even simulates stepped gear changes for a more traditional feel." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • As for the engines, both provide sufficient power and acceleration. This isn't the slow CR-V of old, but the availability of a more powerful engine option would meet a demand met by the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape and Subaru Forester. The turbocharged 1.5-liter found in most trim levels feels a bit stronger when pulling away from a traffic light or when passing in traffic, but really, you'll be fine with either." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "Small-displacement turbocharged engines often struggle in SUVs, but not the 1.5-liter engine in the CR-V. It's quicker than most rivals, providing good low-end oomph for scooting through city streets. You won't be nervous on a freeway onramp, and you won't need to slam on the gas to pass slowpokes." -- Edmunds (2018)

Handling and Braking

The CR-V delivers a comfortable ride without compromising handling ability. Body lean is minimal around turns, and the suspension system does a good job of smoothing out bumps in the road. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • On the road, the CR-V is an exceptional highway cruiser, with a soft ride and quiet cabin. In the curves, the CR-V’s steering, braking and body motions are acceptable, but nowhere near as precise as the Mazda CX-5 or the aging Ford Escape." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The CR-V strikes an admirable balance between handling and ride quality. Midcorner bumps and other road irregularities don't upset it, and body roll is minimal. You can confidently snake up a curvy road without sickening your passengers or unnecessarily triggering the stability control." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "The … CR-V's chassis is well sorted. The ride is firm but compliant and remains well controlled even on rough pavement. The variable-ratio electric power steering is direct, nicely weighted, and never feels too artificial. We drove the new CR-V back-to-back with the 2016 Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4, and found the Honda offers the best ride-and-handling balance of the three. The Ford is a bit sharper in quick transitions but feels harsher everywhere else, and the Toyota is comparatively numb and lifeless." -- Autoblog (2017)
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