Will the new 2020 Honda CR-V do better against the Proton X70 and Mazda CX-5?

Hans · Oct 21, 2020 12:00 AM

Thailand market model shown - colour options may differ

Booking for the new 2020 Honda CR-V is now open and with a new and upgraded model, we will of course have to revise our WapCar Ratings for the top-3 best-selling C-segment SUVs in Malaysia.

All variants of the new CR-V will now come with Honda LaneWatch blind spot detecting camera as a standard safety feature while higher range variants will get an upgraded power-operated tailgate – now hands-free and you can open it by simply making a kicking gesture under the car, with the keys in your pocket.

The full suite of Honda Sensing suite of advance driver assistance safety features will now be available even on the 1.5L VTEC Turbo 4WD variant, and there’s a sportier looking grille and front bumper, plus smoked tail lights.

These upgrades will certainly require us to adjust the CR-V’s scores but before we retire the current scores, here’s a recap on how the trio ranked in our tests.

In our last comparison, we pitted the top specs Honda CR-V 1.5 TC-P against the Mazda CX-5 2.5G Turbo and Proton X70 Premium (CBU), the latter had a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission instead of the CKD model's 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.

The comparison was done before the locally-assembled X70 with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission was introduced, and yes, it’s time to revise the scores once more.

We chose the Mazda CX-5 2.5G Turbo versus the regular 2.5G naturally aspirated model for a very simple reason – the regular 2.5G variant wasn’t available for us to review at that time, plus the 2.5G Turbo is priced closer to the CR-V 1.5 TC-P with comparable level of ADAS (2.5G lacks Lane Keep Assist).

As you can see from the chart below, the Proton X70 is the cheapest to buy, the Mazda CX-5 has the best quality and driving performance, while the Honda CR-V is the best all-rounder.

The CR-V does not excel in any particular area, but it scores above average in nearly every aspect, thus giving it the highest overall scores.

It’s the best equipped in terms of safety, has the most user-friendly controls, is fuel efficient, and is the most practical and offers the biggest cabin – basically everything that regular buyers care most about.

No other SUV in its class offer more space and practicality than the CR-V, but comfort and driving experience is only average

The Proton X70 is the cheapest to buy, but interior space practicality as well as fuel economy falls short of the CR-V. It also lacks Lane Keep Assist and its Adaptive Cruise Control doesn’t work in stop-go traffic.

'Hi Proton' is nice to have, but can we trade it for Android Auto/Apple CarPlay please?

We are still unhappy with Proton’s insistence to push China-centric apps onto its infotainment rather than meet market expectations for Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, because Mirroring just doesn’t work as well.

Android Auto/Apple CarPlay is a must today, Mirroring is just not the same

Still, it’s hard to argue against the Proton X70’s price-value proposition. It is without a doubt, the value for money champion of this segment.

X70's strongest points are its comfort and value for money

As for the Mazda CX-5 2.5G Turbo, we love its interior and driver engagement, but it’s tight cabin and poor fuel economy - even by the standards of a 230 PS engine - disappoints. Its brakes, steering and dampers also don’t seem to work as harmoniously with the more powerful engine as the regular 2.5G variant.

The regular 2.5G, which has much better fuel economy, might improve the CX-5’s scores but its tight cabin remains a poor choice for those with young kids and need to carry a lot of baby supplies in the car. Its ADAS also falls behind the CR-V’s.

So will the new Honda CR-V remain as a recommended choice? Well that depends on how much more expensive will the new CR-V be. Booking are opened but prices have yet to be released.

Without the benefit of tax deductions enjoyed by Proton, the CR-V is already tethering on the edge of acceptable price range for a C-segment SUV.

With an expanded list of features, prices might creep up further. The outgoing pre-facelift Honda CR-V was selling from RM 144,629 to RM 168,465, without SST.

Follow us for more updates on the new Honda CR-V, and whether should you still put your money on one. For more details on the new 2020 Honda CR-V, click here.

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