2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Touring Review by David Colman +VIDEO
Lacks the Oomph of the Turbocharged Version But Still Outstanding
By David Colman
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
In September, 2020, new car buyers paid a record high price of $35,655 per transaction, up 5.6 percent from the same month a year ago. The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Touring we tested hits that mark almost squarely on the nose, with a price of $35,950. That amount will buy you the best equipped, most luxurious, most fuel efficient CR-V in the model line.
Of course, you can opt to spend less for a Hybrid CR-V, with the LX model retailing for $27,750, the EX for $30,260, and the EX-L for $32,750. But if you choose a less expensive model, you will forego a long list of niceties that make the Touring model so inviting. Among its special features are 8 front and rear parking sensors, a heated steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, 2 driver's seat memory settings, 2 additional rear speakers, smart entry, remote start, LED headlights, and a removable cargo area cover. The Touring also benefits from unique exterior treatment, including LED fog lights, unique grill, tinted tail lights, blue badging, and a hidden exhaust tip.
All Hybrid CR-Vs share the same power train, which consists of a VTEC, DOHC inline 4 cylinder gas engine (2.0 liters) augmented by an electric motor. Together, the two sources of power produce 212hp and 272lb.-ft. of torque. They feed this combined energy to all four wheels through a CVT transmission equipped with what Honda calls "Deceleration Paddle Selectors" to alter your rate of slowing. Unlike most sport equipped CVT units, these paddles do not allow you to accelerate more briskly as you manually downshift. Rather, the left hand paddle increases the rate of slowing while the right hand paddle decreases deceleration. A series of small chevrons illuminated in the instrument display monitor the rate of slowing.
The Hybrid, toting some 3,450lbs. of curb weight, offers a modest power-to-weight ratio of 16.27lb/hp. Given the Hybrid's leisurely acceleration pace, the missed opportunity to "downshift" by paddle is regrettable. When you flatten the accelerator, the Hybrid CR-V emits an ethereal whine as it gains speed. Full acceleration is the only time you hear any noise at all from the drivetrain. The well insulated cabin of the CR-V remains luxuriously silent unless you tap into the standard premium audio system's 9 speaker sound machine. The interior layout of the Hybrid Touring has been upgraded for 2020 with some handy new features such as a wireless cell phone charging pad, a pair of easy access USB ports on the center console, a push button gear change first seen on Acura products, and multiple drive modes (Sport, Eco and EV).
Honda further upgrades the Hybrid Touring with new design 19x7.5J alloy rims (versus 17 or 18 inch rims on other models). The 19 inch rims are shod with mud and snow rated Continental Cross LX Sport radials (235/55R19). Equipped with such substantial contact patches, the CR-V Hybrid Touring acquits itself competently on winding back roads in Sport Mode, while also providing a reasonably cushy ride on freeways jaunts.
We were impressed with the ease of converting the rear section of the CR-V from passenger carrier to transport wagon. The spacious second row bench seat folds flat with the simple lift of a lever for each side of the 60/40 split seatback. Remove the Touring model's cargo area cover, and you have instantly created 36 cubic feet of cargo volume. We utilized that space to tote a mountain bike from one riding site to another for the week we spent with the Hybrid. The Touring's standard hands-free access power tailgate, with convenient operating buttons on both the exterior of the door as well as the outside edge of the lower dash panel, made loading and unloading the bike easier than any similar SUV in recent memory.
Clearly, the attraction of the Hybrid CR-V is its excellent fuel management, with 38MPG attained in overall operation. In Touring form, this Hybrid offers such a bevy of comfort and convenience features that it would seem inadvisable to choose a less well equipped version of the CR-V. Honda has sold 5 million CR-Vs since the first one rolled off the assembly line in 1997. This American-made product has been the top selling SUV over the past 23 years, and the latest Hybrid Touring version we drove confirms the wisdom of buying a vehicle that exactly targets both the transportation and financial needs of so many Americans.
2020 HONDA CR-V HYBRID TOURING
- ENGINE: 2.0 liter in line 4, DOHC, VTEC plus electric motor
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 40MPG City/35MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $35,950
HYPES: Spacious, Well-Equipped
GRIPES: Lack of Grunt
STAR RATING: 8 Stars out of 10