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New 2019 CR-V EX owner here. Coming from a 4.0L V6 truck that got 16-18 MPG per tank of gas on average using 89 octane. Now, I am LOLing regularly with my zippy little 1.5L turbo motor. I got over 34 MPG in my new CR-V that was loaded with my garb on a road trip over the weekend. The savings in fuel is going to pay for a nice chunk of my monthly car payments (LOLing again). I wasn't really interested in which of the motors is quicker, I was interested in which motor was going to supply the better MPGs. The 1.5L turbo motor wins that battle. Turbos are not covered in the power train warranty so I haggled with the finance officer for a 7/100 comprehensive warranty. So, let it explode, I'm covered, LOL! Luckily, I have a friend with a 2017 EX so I was able to get to know this SUV well before I pulled the trigger. I was also looking at the Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX5, and the Subaru Forester. Honda prevailed. This little SUV is no slouch when it needs to be. The CVT works wonderfully with the 1.5L turbo motor and it got great reviews.
 

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The 1.5 has a broader powerband. While they both have incredible CVT transmissions, the 1.5 peaks out at 5600 RPM -- which means that it doesn't take as long to get up and go. As far as engine reliability goes, there are Civic tuners making 350WHP and over 500WHP on the original bottom end. According to Honda 0-60 Times & Honda Quarter Mile Times | Honda Civic, Accord, CR-V, Fit, Ridgeline, Pilot & more 0 to 60 stats!, the 2017 CR-V Touring AWD did 0-60MPH in 7.5 seconds/15.8 second 1/4. The 2019 Touring AWD did 0-60 in 7.3 seconds and 15.7 seconds in the 1/4. These aren't bad numbers for an SUV!

The 1.5 is a beast of a little motor! Check this out... over 500WHP with only an upgraded turbo, fuel system, and tune:
 

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It will be interesting to see how the hybrid model performs. It does help with fuel economy, but often Honda used it for a performance boost as well.

I've seen Hondata tunes create more HP/torque with only a firmware update. They have tunes available for the turbo Civics but don't remember seeing one for the CR-V.
 
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