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

The CR-V is a cornerstone of Honda’s American lineup. Because it debuted right here in 1997, the automaker’s marketed far more than 5 million copies. Final calendar year alone, the CR-V accounted for approximately sixty% of the brand’s SUV product sales. Obviously, clients enjoy this vehicle’s mixture of trustworthiness and affordability, effectiveness and spaciousness. 

Creating on that inherent goodness, the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid is far more inexpensive, highly effective and refined than the common model. In short, it is really an even improved CR-V. 

A cornerstone of Honda’s electrified future

In spite of giving a variety of hybrid styles for decades, Honda has never had a gasoline-electrical SUV in its American lineup, but the CR-V Hybrid last but not least variations that. This crossover’s introduction is section of a much larger force to decrease emissions and make improvements to effectiveness. The automaker is aiming to electrify two-thirds of its worldwide motor vehicle lineup by the calendar year 2030.

Aiding attain that purpose, this CR-V has a two-motor hybrid process underneath its hood, generally the similar just one employed in the Accord Hybrid. The heart of this powertrain is a 2.-liter 4-cylinder gasoline motor that operates on the gasoline-preserving Atkinson cycle. As for individuals electrical motors, just one is employed for propulsion when the other handles setting up and ability-producing responsibilities. A one.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack is mounted underneath the rear floor, storing and releasing electrical power as dictated by driving circumstances. Total process horsepower is 212, a welcome bump around the one hundred ninety hp you get in a typical CR-V. Utmost torque clocks in at 232 pound-feet.

Like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the CR-V Hybrid has all-wheel push as typical. Ford, in the meantime, offers you a selection of drivetrains — the Escape Hybrid can be had with either front- or all-wheel push. 

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

It really is difficult to describe how Honda’s two-motor hybrid process functions, but it functions really very well.


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As for gasoline economic system, this Honda is approximated to return forty miles for every gallon city, 35 mpg freeway and 38 mpg put together. According to the EPA, similarly outfitted versions of equally the Toyota and the Ford are a little bit far more effective on every test cycle, but in actual-environment driving you in all probability will not notice a difference. A conventionally driven CR-V with all-wheel push is rated at 27 mpg city, 33 mpg freeway and 29 mpg put together. This usually means the hybrid model is approximately twenty five% far more effective in mixed driving, a big difference.

The CR-V Hybrid has a number of push modes, all of which are very easily accessible through a sequence of chunky buttons mounted to the ideal of the gear selector. Sport manner improves throttle response and, by the Energetic Sound Management process, would make the motor observe far more aggressive. As its name implies, Econ manner optimizes the vehicle’s effectiveness, earning it really feel a bit lethargic in the process. There is also EV manner, which allows the CR-V Hybrid function exclusively on electrical energy, but only for short distances.

Because this motor vehicle is neither a pure electrical nor a plug-in hybrid, its battery-only driving selection is really restricted, only about one or 2 miles, based on circumstances. It really is meant for silently motoring by parking structures or pulling into your garage without the need of waking up the family members, not for carbon-neutral cross-nation drives.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

The CR-V Hybrid options a distinctive instrument cluster.


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Responsive and refined

Not only does this powertrain really feel smoother and seem fewer thrashy than the one.5-liter turbo-4 discovered in the typical CR-V, it also delivers superb performance. Thanks to its electrical torque, the hybrid model is punchy off the line, pulling very well at all speeds. 

This CR-V’s powertrain is far far more pleasant than Honda’s past hybrid attempts. I try to remember testing the Perception sedan a couple decades ago, and when effective, its drivetrain was bonkers. Engine pace and noise amounts have been in no way similar to how significantly throttle you have been working with. Often, when gently accelerating, the motor would make all types of racket, other instances it was written content to merely idle. Its habits was far more than a bit disconcerting. Thankfully, the CR-V Hybrid’s drivetrain has none of these bad routines. It really is silent and smooth, fading into the background.

That laudable refinement applies to the rest of this crossover’s driving habits. The CR-V Hybrid feels reliably solid, with no rattles or reverberations detracting from the expertise. Its steering is nicely weighted and the wheel has a thick rim that’s straightforward to keep.

Regenerative braking is an additional large stage. The pedal is nicely weighted, neither much too grabby nor extremely squishy, furthermore it is really straightforward to modulate. Regenerative braking in some hybrid cars feels inconsistent, with the transition between regen and friction braking annoyingly apparent.

Spot the distinctions

Visual distinctions between the CR-V Hybrid and its fuel-only counterpart are minor. Up front, you may find typical LED headlights, slitted foglamps and a blue-hued Honda brand. The front fenders have hybrid badges and at the back, Touring styles get a distinctive bumper. There is also a “hidden” tailpipe tucked underneath the rear fascia, even though it is really nevertheless straightforward to spot.

Within, the CR-V Hybrid rewards from Honda’s acquainted force-button shifter as an alternative of the clunky mechanical just one discovered in the typical model. It also will get a distinctive instrument cluster that displays how the hybrid process is running. A pair of steering wheel-mounted paddles allows you change how aggressive the regenerative braking is, a handy feature. 

The CR-V Hybrid is supplied in 4 trim amounts: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. Based on the model, it also gives options like wireless machine charging, embedded navigation and blind-spot checking with rear-cross targeted visitors inform. Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle are also supplied, as very well as leather-based trim and twin-zone local climate control. The Honda Sensing suite of basic safety devices is also typical across the board, with options like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

CR-V Hybrids feature a force-button gear selector as an alternative of a mechanical shifter.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Just like the common CR-V, this gasoline-electrical version options an superb inside. The front seats are at ease and the 2nd-row bench is roomy. The components employed are top rated-notch for the section and the interior’s ergonomics are admirable. My only actual gripe is about the antiquated infotainment process, which is unattractive and obtuse.

One of the most effective will get even improved

The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid is available at dealerships ideal now. The base price for just one of these gasoline-sipping crossovers is $28,870, which include $one,one hundred twenty in place fees. That is just $one,two hundred far more than an all-wheel-push LX version with the common powertrain. 

As for the loaded Touring model observed right here, it checks out for $37,070, a fantastic bit far more than the entry-degree version, but nevertheless a affordable sum. If you you should not head having to pay that modest upcharge, this hybridized CR-V is the just one to get. It really is far more refined, in some ways improved to push and, of training course, far far more effective.


Editors’ observe: Journey expenditures similar to this story have been included by the company, which is widespread in the vehicle market. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s workers are our possess and we do not accept paid out editorial written content.

First released March 17.

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