First Look – 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Arrives on U.S. Shores
Entire Model Line Gets Refreshed, Adds Electrified Hybrid for 2020
The CR-V Hybrid leads Honda's charge to hybridize its light trucks and SUVs in an attempt to offer electrified versions of its entire core lineup in coming years.
The Honda CR-V Hybrid will come standard with a 2.0L 16-valve I-4 that runs on the Atkinson cycle, offering the greatest thermal efficiency of any mass-produced engine from the company. Combined with Honda's two-motor hybrid powertrain, total system output is pegged at 212 hp, up from 190 hp on the non-hybrid CR-V. Combined torque output is hard to define on hybrid vehicles, but the electric motors will provide instantaneous twist when pulling away from a stoplight—we presume the CR-V Hybrid will be completely adequate in daily driving.
Honda says to expect a 50 percent increase in EPA city fuel economy relative to the conventional CR-V, which would suggest a rating of 40 mpg. We'd also expect the highway rating to go up slightly to 38 mpg or so, compared to the regular CR-V's 33 mpg.
The CR-V Hybrid will offer three different drive modesâEcon, Sport, or EVâwith each optimizing the vehicle for certain driving situations. Econ alters throttle inputs to help maximize fuel efficiency, while Sport enhances throttle response and tunes the engine note with Active Sound Control for enthusiastic driving. EV mode is just thatâit allows the CR-V Hybrid to operate with the gas engine completely powered down, provided the battery pack has enough of a charge.
Honda's two-motor hybrid powertrain layout precludes the need for a conventional transmission, with Honda's novel e-CVT transferring power to the wheels.
The CR-V Hybrid will also be Honda's first electrified machine to boast all-wheel drive. An electronic clutch connects the rear drive axle to the electric motor, sending power to the rear when slip is detected.
All 2020 CR-V models will receive some stylistic enhancements that transfer over to the CR-V Hybrid. Larger openings for the foglights, which are fully integrated into the front bumper, give it a more aggressive look. A bolder chrome grille also shows up, although we're not sure that's a good thing.
The 2020 CR-V Hybrid gets a few distinctive features not shared with other models, including a blue-tinted Honda logo in the grille and the predictable hybrid badging at the rear. Dark-tinted taillights and a dark chrome taillight accent add some visual aggression, and the Hybrid receives a hidden tailpipe to silently advertise its emissions parsimony.
Inside, the CR-V Hybrid features unique interior trim, including a push-button transmission selector and a unique instrument panel with a power/charge gauge and driver-selectable infographic to monitor the hybrid system's operation. The CR-V Hybrid also gets adjustable brake regeneration paddles mounted on the steering wheel, and "downshifting" via the left paddle increases the amount of regeneration provided on deceleration and coasting. We love one-pedal driving on electrified vehicles, so we're very happy to see this feature on the CR-V Hybrid.
Aside from a few little tidbits and estimations, Honda isn't confirming too many of the CR-V Hybrid's technical details or pricing. But until the company reveals more information, it's nice to see Honda challenge other hybridized SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 (which we enjoyed in its previous generation) and Ford Escape, and we're excited to see if electrification improves the CR-V's excellent driving dynamics further. The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid arrives in dealers in the first quarter of next year.