2019 Honda CR-V Review


The Honda CR-V has long been the top contender in the compact SUV segment. Its popularity is evidenced by the sheer number of different generations of CR-Vs on the road. However, its competitors are catching up. And I have test driven some of its excellent competitors like the Nissan Rogue, the Mazda CX-5, and the Hyundai Santa Fe. With that in mind, I wonder if the CR-V is still the king of the hill. 

Thanks to Honda Canada, I was loaned the CR-V for a week to find out, and below is my unbiased review.

The CR-V is virtually unchanged for 2019. It is in its 5th generation, and certainly looks much more modern than I remembered. It has as subdued muscular vibe that is good looking, but doesn’t stand out too much in the crowd.

The slender headlamps keeps the front fascia looking modern. A chrome decorative trim divides the front grille and houses the Honda emblem. From the side, the CR-V features a boxy design that has a heavier rear end. Honda does a decent job of making the car look interesting with larger wheel arches and sculpted character lines.

A set of unique wraparound taillights are connected by a long, linear chrome trim that echos the one in the front. The lift gate is big, but the decision to house the licence plate in a recessed pocket of the life gate keeps the rear profile light.

The interior of the CR-V is spacious, practical, and classy. A blend of faux-wood accents, chromed and brushed satin trims give the interior an upscale feel.

By moving the shifter higher, Honda engineers are able to make the center console highly adjustable with an integrated sliding cover that can be removed all together. The design makes the front cabin feels more spacious.

The heated front seats are nicely sculpted. They are both plush and supportive. The rear cabin leg and headroom are among the best in class. The lack of a central floor bump also makes sitting in the middle seat more tolerable.

The large panoramic sunroof gives the cabin an obstructive view to the sky. Something that is especially appreciated by the rear passengers.

The infotainment system is built around the 7” touch screen display. The user interface is decently implemented, but there is a noticeable input lag. There is no auxiliary input, and the entire system has only one physical button that controls the volume. Luckily both Apple Carplay and Android Auto are standard.

The digital display in the instrument cluster is big with large fonts for easy viewing. It is controlled by the iPod style buttons in the steering wheel.

Safety and Driver Assistance
Honda is very generous at providing advanced safety and driver assists. All trims except for the lowest LX model come with:

  • Brake Assist
  • Auto high beam
  • Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS®)
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system
  • Hill Start Assist
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System(TPMS)
  • Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) system
It earns 5 star safety rating from NHTSA and Top Safety Pick from IIHS.

All trims of the 2019 CR-V are powered by the same 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 190hp of horsepower and 179lb.ft. of torque. While some rivals offer more horsepower, most drivers should find this peppy engine providing just fine. The CVT that is coupled to this engine is one of the best I have driven. Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is normally associated with low starting torque and power delivery at low engine speed. That is not the case with the one in the CR-V. The acceleration feels smooth and immediate. However, the towing capacity of the CR-V is only 1500 lb, one of the lowest in its class.

While the CR-V doesn’t provide the most thrilling driving experience, it handles road bumps admirably. The steering lacks feedback, but provides an easy driving experience. The upside of using a small turbocharged engine that couples to a CVT is that the CR-V has exceptional fuel efficiency. Our AWD tester is rated for 8.7L/100km city and 7.2L/100km highway. Our 100% city test drive returns a 9.2L/100km fuel economy rating in the end. 

Cargo Space & Storage
Practically is CR-V's specialty. There is 1065L of cargo space behind the 2 row seats. With the rear seats folded, the available space is doubled to 2146L, one of the best in its class. The large lift gate and flat trunk floor also makes loading and unloading extremely easy. 

In cabin storage is also excellent. From the flexible center console storage to the many thoughtfully placed cup holders, the CR-V provides ample storage options for day to day essential items.

It is easy to understand why the CR-V is so popular on the road. There is nothing that the CR-V is bad at. It is a decent looking car that offers great practicality and an upscale interior. The engine is sufficient for most drivers, and the car provides an easy, comfortable driving experience. 

However, Honda shouldn't get too comfortable with its current design. Many of CR-V's competitors are catching up in terms of providing a fuller package. The next generation of CR-V is going to need a stronger selling point, perhaps in the apartment of styling to keep its lead.

Test Vehicle
2019 Honda CR-V Touring
$40,266 CAD without Freight, PDI
Obsidian Blue Pearl


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