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2020 Honda CR-V Touring Hybrid Review


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A Hybrid that's Sensible, Safe, and Almost Silent

by Mark Fulmer,
The Auto Channel

Sensible. Honda's CR-V has been in the top tier of its class for many years quite simply because of its practicality, cost-effectiveness, and reliability. It is no surprise then that its sense of sensibility has not only yielded a hybrid version, but an impressively well refined hybrid.


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The 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle I4 engine is partnered with the electric motor and that combination yields 212 horsepower that gets 40 mpg on city streets and 35 mpg on the highway. Why, you ask, is the mpg better in town? I'm glad you asked that. It's not just the lower speeds, it's mostly the advanced regenerative braking system recharging the electric motor. (Driving hint: if you put the CR-V's driving mode on ECON and feather your braking style with gradual pressure, you can literally watch the battery power increase on its gauge. Regeneration also occurs during coasting).


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The handling is positive in all weather conditions, thanks to the AWD (all wheel drive) and the steering feels quite precise. The suspension effectively flattens the curves and handles and cushions our increasingly rough pavements thanks to MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link suspension in back. The push from a standstill is usually done by the electric motor and the transitions between that motor and the gas motor are almost undetectable.


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Safe. Honda Sensing is standard equipment to the CR-V. The system has forward collision warning with pedestrian sensing, low-speed emergency braking, lane departure warning and assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and smart cruise control. But wait, there's sensor galore. There are blind spot sensors, rear cross-traffic sensors, driver attention sensors, and rain-sensing wipers. But wait there's still more: a heads-up display and a multi-view camera. It makes you wonder how we survived pre-digital driving.


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The Touring interior feature a handy wireless phone charging system at the base of the dashboard, a heated steering wheel, and black perforated heated leather seats. Navigation is standard along with a 9-speaker 330-watt premium stereo, LED headlights, a hands-free power hatch,and a sunroof. There’s plenty of head and legroom front and rear. and 33.2 cubic feet behind the rear seat, and 68.7 cubic feet with the seats flattened.


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The Silence. Both motors are very quiet giving you opportunities for subtle conversations, as well as not-so-subtle musical immersion. When backing out of your driveway, you will hear the wispy chiming of the electric motor - which some reviewers call "whining" but I beg to differ.


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Put all this together with a very competitive sticker price and its no wonder they sell so well.