Is the refreshed CR-V any good off-road?
The Honda CR-V is one of the best-selling Hondas around, and it’s the brand’s front-runner when it comes to all-wheel drive crossovers. It competes in a fiercely contested segment with the likes of the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Chevy Equinox, Ford Escape and so on, and it needs to keep up-to-date with the latest styling and technology Honda can muster. The 2020 Honda CR-V sports minor styling changes, as well as more standard technology across the range.
One notable change, however, is the standard powertrain you get on the updated model. Now Honda’s 1.5-liter turbocharged engine with 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque is the only engine option, as the old 2.4-liter unit has been dropped. As before, that engine mates exclusively to a CVT, which does help the all-wheel drive model manage 32 mpg on the highway. Opt for the front-wheel drive version instead, and you can get up to 34 mpg, putting it in line with most of the competition.
For today’s video, though, we need the CR-V’s all-wheel drive system, as Roman and Tommy take this fully-loaded Touring model off-road. Mind you, the car we have this time around costs $35,845, while lower-spec models start at just over $26,000 and work their way up from there.
With a combination of street tires, CVT transmission and 8.2 inches of ground clearance, we don’t expect the CR-V to traverse the Rubicon Trail. In fact, the owners manual suggests avoiding seriously technical terrain to avoid damage, so this is a car that’s not meant to take on much more than dirt roads or slippery conditions. Most people won’t take their CR-Vs on serious off-road excursions, but here at TFL we want to push the limits of what the car can actually do to see just how capable it can be.
The CR-V is out of its comfort zone, but it will get you there
Honda does have the Passport as a more intently-built off-road capable crossover, and it’s a bit happier off the beaten path than the CR-V. However, the 2020 Honda CR-V’s all-wheel drive system helps get the car where you need it to go, even if it’s not too happy about it.
In short, if you find yourself needing to get into the backcountry often, you may want to look at the Passport. However, for everything most owners will ask it to do, the Honda CR-V will get you there, and it has all the technology and comfort you’d want along the way.
If you’re looking for more fuel efficiency, there’s also a new 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid model. We’ll have more coverage on that soon, so stay tuned for more updates!