What is the Best Honda SUV?

Although the Civic is a great sedan—and great sports car—Honda makes a wide range of other vehicles. There’s the Ridgeline pickup, Odyssey minivan, and even some great motorcycles. But, like Mazda, Honda also has several differently-sized SUVs to choose from. But which one is the best Honda SUV?

Honda’s subcompact and compact SUVs

2019 Honda HR-V Sport
2019 Honda HR-V Sport | Honda

The smallest Honda SUV is the HR-V, a subcompact crossover that rides on the same platform as the Fit hatchback. It competes with vehicles like the Mazda CX-3 and CX-30, as well as the Hyundai Kona.

2020 Honda HR-V Touring interior
2020 Honda HR-V Touring interior | Honda

With a $20,820 starting price, the HR-V does cost slightly more than the CX-3. However, the Honda HR-V SUV comes with a slew of standard advanced driver-assistance features and extremely configurable 2nd-row seats. Car and Driver found, when the 2nd-row seats are folded, the HR-V has more cargo space than some larger crossovers. However, if you want Apple CarPlay or touchscreen infotainment, you’ll need to step up to at least the $22,520 Sport.

Every HR-V comes with a 141-hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder and CVT. Front-wheel drive is standard for all but the top $28,890 Touring trim, which gets standard all-wheel drive (every other trim can option AWD, though).

2019 Honda CR-V
2019 Honda CR-V | Honda

The next size up from the HR-V is the compact CR-V, which squares off against the Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4.

Like the HR-V, the Honda CR-V SUV comes with Honda’s ADAS suite as standard. The cheapest trim is the $25,050 LX, while the most expensive is the $33,250 Touring; FWD is standard, and AWD optional. As with the HR-V, there’s only one engine and transmission choice: a 190-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder linked to a CVT. However, there’ll soon be a CR-V hybrid available, as well.

2020 Honda CR-V Touring interior
2020 Honda CR-V Touring interior | Honda

We’ve found the $27,560 EX trim to offer the best value. It offers the 7” touchscreen infotainment with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, heated front seats, and a 6-speaker audio system. Going further upscale, the EX-L adds things like a leather-trimmed interior and power tailgate, while the Touring gets a 9-speaker audio system, built-in navigation, and heated steering wheel. However, many of these are options on the EX, too.

Honda mid-size SUVs

2020 Honda Passport | Honda
2020 Honda Passport | Honda

Honda makes two mid-size SUVs, the Passport and the Pilot.

2019 Honda Pilot Elite
2019 Honda Pilot Elite | Honda

They’re very similar to each other—in fact, Motor Trend reports both share the same chassis and engine. That engine is a 3.5-liter V6, which makes 280 hp and 262 lb-ft. The biggest difference between them is size. The Pilot is Honda’s largest SUV, and its only 3rd-row SUV.

2020 Honda Pilot Elite interior layout
2020 Honda Pilot Elite interior layout | Honda

Skipping the Black Edition—which is not worth its near-$50k price-tag—the Pilot range starts at the $31,650 LX and goes to the $48,220 Elite. AWD is only standard on the Elite; on every other trim, it’s an option. As with the smaller Honda SUVs, every Pilot trim gets Honda’s ADAS suite as standard, but if you want Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you’ll have to get at least the EX, which starts at $34,530.

2020 Honda Passport interior
2020 Honda Passport interior | Honda

As MT explains, the Passport is essentially a slightly more rugged Pilot. It has more ground clearance, and a 9-speed automatic that MT reports has finally shed the issues it had in the Pilot. It also costs roughly the same: the base Sport starting at just under $32k, and the AWD-standard Elite at $43,780. Those who want Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will have to get the $36,410 EX-L, while the $39,280 Touring offers heated front and rear seats, as well as built-in navigation.

Which is the one to buy?

Although the HR-V is the least expensive and most fuel-efficient of the Honda SUVs, it doesn’t offer anything that isn’t already on the CR-V. Autoblog ranked the HR-V last in its subcompact crossover comparison, citing a buzzy, underpowered powertrain and an outdated infotainment system. And even though the HR-V has new standard safety features, it’s not an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

2019 Honda Pilot
2019 Honda Pilot | Honda

On the larger side of the scale, between Passport and Pilot, the Pilot is the better choice. MT found the Passport’s ride rough, and its infotainment clunky, ranking the Chevrolet Blazer ahead of the Honda SUV. MT also reports that the Pilot has a better ride, is actually slightly more fuel-efficient, and has more standard amenities at each trim level.

In addition, Consumer Reports scored the Pilot ahead of the Passport and made the larger SUV a recommended product. And if you really do need a 3-row SUV, the Pilot is your only option in the Honda showroom. That being said, it’s not terribly reliable.

But the overall best Honda SUV is the CR-V. It’s the only IIHS Top Safety Pick here, and the only one that won MT’s SUV of the Year. It has the highest score of Honda’s SUVs in CR testing, and Roadshow called it “one of the best small SUVs around.” It’s also beaten the Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4 in numerous comparison tests.

So, if you want a Honda SUV, the CR-V’s the best place to be.

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