Review: 2020 Honda CR-V Black Edition
Mid-cycle refresh still packs a lot into one of Canada most popular and best-selling vehicles
Canadians love crossovers, proving to be one of the most popular and competitive vehicle segments in the country. Crossovers, along with their SUV cousins, have over time come to dominate the roads and pushed traditional passenger cars to the margins.
Honda, not surprisingly, continues to be a strong player in this market and its CR-V has been a top seller in Canada. That is to be expected. The Honda CR-V has consistently provided for many drivers a nice package of refinement, practicality, and well-balanced design. Those who I have spoken with about Honda’s CR-V have always said it a vehicle that is well suited for city driving and packing to rafters for road trips and vacations.
So, when Honda Canada offered me the chance to drive its 2020 Honda CR-V Black Edition, I wanted to see what this mid-cycle refresh of the car maker’s most popular brand had to offer.
First off, the look of the vehicle. While ‘Black Edition’ might suggest either an aggressive redesign or some sort of ‘sporty’ package, that is not the case here. Instead, Honda has opted – and in my opinion it was right to do so – for more of a conservative update, not trying to radically change the design, but instead give drivers a more blacked-out colour scheme with touches that give the vehicle a more fresh look, but nothing that screams ‘Look at me!” The Black Edition comes with 19-inch black aluminum-alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles, LED fog lamps and headlights and smoked taillights that compliment the very distinctive taillight design. A black trivalent chromium grille, and rear Black Edition badge complement this vehicle’s overall smart look.
The interior also gets some nice touches, such as black leather seats, black mats, and an instrument panel with a clean layout. There is plenty of legroom both front and back, and good front storage space with a cleaver front arm rest that has a neat hidden cubby to allow someone to slip in a purse or small travel bag – and in winter time gloves, a toque and a scarf – while still providing easy access to what you need. For those with wireless charging smartphones, an especially useful upfront wireless charging station stands ready along with two USB connections.
Cargo room is generous with 1,065L with the rear seats up going to 2,146L with the seats down, so there is plenty of space for that Saturday morning grocery run or packing for that summer jaunt to a cottage.
I must give high marks to Honda for forgoing a trend I see with some vehicles that crowd the driver instrument with a host of gauges and information or the central console with buttons, knobs, and other controls. Too many buttons, knobs, or displays make things both confusing and needlessly distracting when you need to change something as simple as the interior heating and cooling fans or temperature. The heated steering wheel provides simple controls set the cruise control, make a phone call, or access a service you may need.
If I have a complaint it was with the 7-inch infotainment system. It really could use some updating. I much prefer the design offered in the 2020 Honda Accord Sedan. I found the graphic layout of this one rather old fashioned, having one swipe to get to menus and the graphics themselves lackluster in appearance. Also, I found the system sometime lagged when launching a needed application and I had to go through some sub-menus to get to things.
Like all vehicles today, it supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity and comes Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System. Normally, with today’s smartphone map options, this seems redundant, but I decided I would have a go at what Honda had to offer, and I found it particularly good. It provided excellent directions and handy visuals and photos to make sure you don’t miss an exit, and a nifty little countdown meter so when you are instructed to make a turn in 250 metres, it will visually count down the distance. So, you really do not have an excuse to miss that turn. Other features included are SiriusXM and HD Radio support, connected to a 331-watt audio system with nine speakers, including subwoofer. My modern jazz collection sounded very good when driving.
Safety features included are Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Monitoring, Lane-Keeping Assistance, Forward Collision Warning and Collision Mitigation Braking System and Vehicle Stability Assist.
When it comes to Hondas, the real question comes down to how well does the vehicle drive. Nothing disappoints here. The 1.5-litre, 16-valve, direct injection, DOHC, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine puts out some 190 hp with 5,600 r.p.m with 170 lb-ft of torque ran smooth and quiet, even when I needed to accelerate. While I am not a big fan of CVT transmissions, Honda’s CVT operated with less of the whine that I have normally had to put up with in other vehicles using CVTs when I put the pedal down.
Both in urban and highway driving I found the ride smooth and handling, and as with all Hondas I’ve driven, highly responsive. A tight turn radius was much appreciated especially when driving in Toronto when you need to make your way through some narrow side streets to avoid the stop-and-go traffic on Bloor.
And cabin exterior road noise was mercifully minimal making long drives a joy – even when I took this Black Edition on a gravel road. On a gravel road I took north of Toronto, all I experienced was a low rumble.
While the Back Edition did offer a means turning off the Eco Assist System, I found I still managed to get 8.7L/100 km in the city and 7.4L/100 km on the highway both on and off – which probably tells you a lot about how I drive.
So, is this worth the $44, 776 with the included fees and freight? If you are looking for a little bit of extra flair and a unique look without sacrificing anything that makes owning and driving a Honda CR-V, then the Black Edition may be exactly what you are looking for.
The vehicle was provided to the writer by the automaker. Content and vehicle evaluations were not subject to approval.
2020 Honda CR-V Black Edition
BODY STYLE: Compact Crossover
DRIVE METHOD: Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System
ENGINE: 1.5-litre, 16-valve, direct injection, DOHC, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine (190 hp @ 5,600 r.p.m.)
FUEL ECONOMY: (Regular) 8.7/7.4/8.1L/100 km city/highway/combined
CARGO VOLUME: Rear seats up/down (L) : 1,065/2,146
TOW RATING: Available 680 kg
PRICE: MSRP $42,805, with freight PDI and Levies, $44,776