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  • First Look – 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Arrives on U.S. Shores

First Look – 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Arrives on U.S. Shores

Entire Model Line Gets Refreshed, Adds Electrified Hybrid for 2020

Sep 18, 2019
The now-burgeoning hybrid SUV market is going to get another entrant in the way of the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid. The CR-V Hybrid has been available in other markets for some time now, but our version of the vehicle will be manufactured exclusively in America, with the two-mode hybrid system and 2.0L gasoline I-4 built in Ohio and final assembly taking place in Greensburg, Indiana.
Photo 2/14   |   2020 Honda Cr V Hybrid Exterior Front Quarter 03

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.

Batteries Included
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.
Photo 3/14   |   2020 Honda Cr V Hybrid Exterior Rear Quarter 01

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.

An intelligent power unit (IPU) is found under the cargo floor, encompassing the hybrid's lithium-ion battery pack and related control systems. Most of the CR-V Hybrid's drivetrain is shared with the Accord Hybrid sedan, and if that carries over to the battery, expect it to be a lithium-ion unit with a capacity of 1.3 kWh.
Photo 4/14   |   2020 Honda Cr V Hybrid Exterior Front Quarter 02

The CR-V Hybrid will offer three different drive modes—Econ, Sport, or EV—with 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 that—it allows the CR-V Hybrid to operate with the gas engine completely powered down, provided the battery pack has enough of a charge.

e-CVT Engineering
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.
Confusingly named, the e-CVT is actually comprised of those two electric motors, packaged together neatly at the end of the engine. One of those electric motors is mounted to the crankshaft, and the gas engine turns the motor to generate power. That electricity is then sent to the second electric motor (or traction motor), which directly drives the CR-V's wheels.
Photo 5/14   |   2020 Honda Cr V Hybrid Exterior Badging 02
If there's sufficient charge in the Hybrid's battery pack, the engine disengages for zero-emissions operation. Conversely, whenever the engine is running in hybrid mode, electronic controllers keep it operating at peak efficiency, even if the driver doesn't need that much power. In that case, any extra electrical output is sent to the battery to recharge it.
In most around-town situations, the engine is completely disengaged from the drive wheels, operating instead as a generator for the electric motors. The exception is high-speed, low-load driving (such as the open highway), when a reduction clutch engages to connect the gas engine to the drive wheels directly, operating like an overdrive gear.
Photo 6/14   |   2020 Honda Cr V Hybrid Exterior Badging 01

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.

Style and Profile
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.
Photo 7/14   |   2020 Honda Cr V Hybrid Interior Dashboard

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.

Photo 8/14   |   2020 Honda Cr V Hybrid Interior Cargo Area

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.

As on most modern new Hondas, the company's suite of active safety features comes standard on every trim level of the CR-V Hybrid. Honda Sensing bundles automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, road departure mitigation and lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep assist. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams are available as options. And like many electrified vehicles, the CR-V Hybrid features a speaker under the front bumper that emits a noise audible to pedestrians to prevent accidents in low-speed city driving.
Details, Details
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.
Source: Honda
Photo 9/14   |   2020 Honda Cr V Hybrid Exterior Front End

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