2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Review By Larry Nutson
Honda’s first electrified SUV
By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid was in the news recently. It’s on the list of eligible vehicles for consideration as the 2021 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. And, the CR-V Hybrid ranked number 52 out of 91 vehicles that are assembled in the U.S. and was named to the Cars.com 2020 American-Made Index.
I recently had the opportunity to live with the CR-V Hybrid for a week. This fell on the heels of a recent week of driving its sister, the 2020 CR-V powered by a conventional 190-horsepower 1.5-L turbo engine.
The ideal way to compare two vehicles is back-to-back on the same day and driving on the same roads. This doesn’t happen to often. I was pleased to have my drive in the CR-V fresh in my memory when the CR-V Hybrid came along.
The 2020 CR-V Hybrid is a new addition to the Honda lineup and the first electrified SUV from the Honda brand in America. The CR-V's advanced two-motor hybrid powertrain, the third-generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid system and shared with the current Accord Hybrid, combines two electric motors with a 2.0-liter, 16-valve DOHC Atkinson cycle engine for 212 total system horsepower.
The CR-V Hybrid is offered in all-wheel drive only…the non-hybrid is both front- and all-wheel drive. It rides on a new platform with longer wheelbase and wider track. For 2020 the CR-V had been completely redesigned with more style and flair. The interior had been revised and made more spacious.
Up front there’s an updated look featuring a new grille and fascia. In back there’s new taillights, and new 19-inch wheels as well as new designs for the 18-inch wheels to round things out. The CR-V Hybrid features unique front and rear bumper designs to distinguish it from its CR-V sibling.
Hybrids are all about lower fuel consumption, especially in lower speed, city-type driving. In the case of the CR-V Hybrid not only do you get better fuel economy but also more power under the hood.
EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings are 38 combined mpg with 40 city mpg and 35 highway mpg. Note the higher city rating compared to the highway. On a couple jaunts around by Chicagoland home of about 25 miles round trip with speeds averaging 35 mph I was getting 44 mpg. Nice!
Hybrid powertrains have improved tremendously over the years. I was quite pleased with the overall refinement and responsiveness of the CR-V’s. While driving the transition from using both gas and electric power to electric-only driving is barely perceptible. It all happens seamlessly. I recall driving early-generation hybrids where it was required to modify driving style to get good economy. Not anymore. There’s a new push button gear selector that is easy to use and cleans up the space on the center console very nicely.
The Touring model I drove was nicely equipped with leather trimmed seats, heated front seats as well as heated steering wheel, power moonroof, hands free power rear hatch, and 9-speaker audio all making for a pleasant driving experience. The cabin is nicely finished with good looking material and trim bits.
There’s plenty of room and good seat comfort up front. The rear seat is nicely large for grown adult size people. A combination of mechanical and digital controls are used for audio, HVAC, Nav system and the like. Steering wheel controls make it easier for the driver.
The CR-V Hybrid has 33.2 cu.ft. of rear cargo volume the increases to 68.7 cu.ft. with the rear seat folded. Due to packaging for the Hybrid system, this is a bit less than the non-Hybrid. Storage cubbies, trays and pockets abound.
There’s a complete array of advanced driver-assist safety (ADAS) features that now come standard on the CR-V Hybrid.
More details and specifications on the 2020 CR-V Hybrid can be found at www.automobileshonda.com. Honda makes it simple with choices being trim levels and colors. There is an accessory program that allows for some customization and personalization.
The CR-V Hybrid is available in LS, EX, EX-L and Touring trims. Pricing starts at $27,750 and runs up to $35,950 for the top trim. Destination charge is $1,120.
Looking at Honda’s pricing, the up-charge for the CR-V Hybrid is $1,200 over the non-hybrid. AWD adds $1,500 on the non-hybrid. You’ll have to do you own math to figure out what pays off for you. If I were buying, the Hybrid would be my choice for the increased power, better fuel economy and less frequent visits to the gas station. Convenience does have some value.
The freshened 2020 Honda CR-V and the CR-V Hybrid have been named the 2020 Green SUV of the Year by Green Car Journal, the second time Honda has won Green SUV of the Year, and the sixth time a Honda vehicle has earned recognition from Green Car Journal.
As we move forward in this decade of the 20s, we’ll see more and more electrified vehicles coming to market. In many vehicle models a hybrid may be the only power train offered. Hybrids are a win all around with more performance, lower fuel consumption and lower emissions.
© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy