2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid first drive review: Electrified version is the one to get

Victoria D. Doty

The CR-V is a cornerstone of Honda’s American lineup. Considering the fact that it debuted here in 1997, the automaker’s marketed a lot more than five million copies. Very last 12 months by yourself, the CR-V accounted for almost sixty{394cb916d3e8c50723a7ff83328825b5c7d74cb046532de54bc18278d633572f} of the brand’s SUV gross sales. Evidently, clients value this vehicle’s mix of trustworthiness and affordability, efficiency and spaciousness. 

Building on that inherent goodness, the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid is a lot more cost-effective, potent and refined than the regular design. In shorter, it is really an even far better CR-V. 

A cornerstone of Honda’s electrified future

Irrespective of giving several hybrid types for several years, Honda has never experienced a gasoline-electrical SUV in its American lineup, but the CR-V Hybrid last but not least adjustments that. This crossover’s introduction is section of a larger push to lessen emissions and boost efficiency. The automaker is aiming to electrify two-thirds of its world-wide automobile lineup by the 12 months 2030.

Supporting get to that goal, this CR-V has a two-motor hybrid technique under its hood, generally the exact a single utilized in the Accord Hybrid. The coronary heart of this powertrain is a 2.-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that operates on the fuel-preserving Atkinson cycle. As for these electrical motors, a single is utilized for propulsion though the other handles starting up and electricity-generating responsibilities. A 1.four-kWh lithium-ion battery pack is mounted underneath the rear ground, storing and releasing energy as dictated by driving disorders. Complete technique horsepower is 212, a welcome bump around the one hundred ninety hp you get in a normal CR-V. Most torque clocks in at 232 pound-feet.

Like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the CR-V Hybrid has all-wheel travel as normal. Ford, in the meantime, provides you a decision of drivetrains — the Escape Hybrid can be experienced with both front- or all-wheel travel. 

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

It really is tough to describe how Honda’s two-motor hybrid technique features, but it performs exceptionally well.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

As for fuel financial state, this Honda is approximated to return forty miles for each gallon city, 35 mpg freeway and 38 mpg merged. According to the EPA, in the same way outfitted variations of both the Toyota and the Ford are somewhat a lot more effective on just about every test cycle, but in actual-planet driving you most likely will not discover a big difference. A conventionally powered CR-V with all-wheel travel is rated at 27 mpg city, 33 mpg freeway and 29 mpg merged. This indicates the hybrid design is almost 25{394cb916d3e8c50723a7ff83328825b5c7d74cb046532de54bc18278d633572f} a lot more effective in blended driving, a big big difference.

The CR-V Hybrid has a number of travel modes, all of which are quickly accessible through a collection of chunky buttons mounted to the proper of the gear selector. Activity method raises throttle reaction and, through the Energetic Audio Command technique, can make the engine take note a lot more intense. As its title indicates, Econ method optimizes the vehicle’s efficiency, producing it come to feel a little bit lethargic in the process. You will find also EV method, which lets the CR-V Hybrid function solely on electrical power, but only for shorter distances.

Considering the fact that this automobile is neither a pure electrical nor a plug-in hybrid, its battery-only driving range is exceptionally limited, only about 1 or 2 miles, relying on disorders. It really is supposed for silently motoring through parking structures or pulling into your garage without the need of waking up the family, not for carbon-neutral cross-country drives.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

The CR-V Hybrid functions a distinctive instrument cluster.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Responsive and refined

Not only does this powertrain come to feel smoother and seem less thrashy than the 1.five-liter turbo-four discovered in the normal CR-V, it also provides excellent efficiency. Thanks to its electrical torque, the hybrid design is punchy off the line, pulling well at all speeds. 

This CR-V’s powertrain is significantly a lot more pleasant than Honda’s previous hybrid attempts. I keep in mind testing the Insight sedan a couple several years back, and though effective, its drivetrain was bonkers. Motor velocity and sound degrees were in no way connected to how considerably throttle you were employing. At times, though carefully accelerating, the engine would make all varieties of racket, other moments it was written content to just idle. Its conduct was a lot more than a little bit disconcerting. Thankfully, the CR-V Hybrid’s drivetrain has none of these poor behavior. It really is tranquil and clean, fading into the qualifications.

That laudable refinement applies to the rest of this crossover’s driving conduct. The CR-V Hybrid feels reliably stable, with no rattles or reverberations detracting from the practical experience. Its steering is properly weighted and the wheel has a thick rim that’s simple to hold.

Regenerative braking is yet another large level. The pedal is properly weighted, neither too grabby nor overly squishy, furthermore it is really simple to modulate. Regenerative braking in some hybrid motor vehicles feels inconsistent, with the changeover amongst regen and friction braking annoyingly evident.

Place the discrepancies

Visible discrepancies amongst the CR-V Hybrid and its gas-only counterpart are small. Up front, you may uncover normal LED headlights, slitted foglamps and a blue-hued Honda brand. The front fenders have hybrid badges and at the back, Touring types get a distinctive bumper. You will find also a “hidden” tailpipe tucked underneath the rear fascia, while it is really nonetheless simple to location.

Inside of, the CR-V Hybrid added benefits from Honda’s common push-button shifter as a substitute of the clunky mechanical a single discovered in the normal design. It also will get a distinctive instrument cluster that reveals how the hybrid technique is operating. A pair of steering wheel-mounted paddles lets you regulate how intense the regenerative braking is, a handy feature. 

The CR-V Hybrid is available in four trim degrees: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. Dependent on the design, it also provides functions like wi-fi machine charging, embedded navigation and blind-location checking with rear-cross website traffic warn. Apple CarPlay and Android Car are also available, as well as leather trim and twin-zone local climate regulate. The Honda Sensing suite of protection methods is also normal across the board, with functions like adaptive cruise regulate and lane-holding support.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

CR-V Hybrids feature a push-button gear selector as a substitute of a mechanical shifter.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Just like the regular CR-V, this gasoline-electrical edition functions an excellent interior. The front seats are at ease and the next-row bench is spacious. The elements utilized are major-notch for the phase and the interior’s ergonomics are admirable. My only actual gripe is about the antiquated infotainment technique, which is unattractive and obtuse.

Just one of the ideal will get even far better

The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid is readily available at dealerships proper now. The base value for a single of these fuel-sipping crossovers is $28,870, such as $1,a hundred and twenty in spot expenses. That’s just $1,200 a lot more than an all-wheel-travel LX edition with the regular powertrain. 

As for the loaded Touring design viewed here, it checks out for $37,070, a excellent little bit a lot more than the entry-amount edition, but nonetheless a fair sum. If you do not mind spending that modest upcharge, this hybridized CR-V is the a single to get. It really is a lot more refined, in some methods far better to travel and, of study course, significantly a lot more effective.


Editors’ take note: Journey fees connected to this tale were protected by the company, which is popular in the vehicle sector. The judgments and thoughts of Roadshow’s team are our possess and we do not accept compensated editorial written content.

To start with printed March 17.

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