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Popular Honda CR-V aims to grow further with hybrid option Featured

Posted On Tuesday, 20 October 2020 05:42 Written by
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For 2020, the Honda CR-V debuts a hybrid option. For 2020, the Honda CR-V debuts a hybrid option. Photo courtesy of Honda

 

In an automotive world dominated by SUVs, there are a few models that consistently rank at or near the top of sales charts. One of those is the Honda CR-V, which has sold more than 5 million units since its introduction 25 years ago.

But not content with the status quo, Honda has introduced a hybrid option for 2020, with the goal of boosting its numbers as it competes with Toyota’s RAV4, Nissan’s Rogue and others in this competitive landscape.

I recently drove a 2020 CR-V hybrid, and I’m back with a full report.

LOOKS

While Honda is generally known more for its reliability than its design acumen, I must say that the 2020 updates to the CR-V are impressive.

The 2020 CR-V lineup gets a newly designed front bumper and front grille, a sharp headlight redesign, a new center console with increased storage space, and new wheel design. A power moonroof is also featured.

Inside the CR-V, the seats are very comfortable and the vehicle has room for all passengers to be comfortable both in legroom and headroom. Attractive wood inlays accent the interior design. You get leather trim seats, a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, premium audio system with 9 speakers, dual-zone automatic climate control with air filtration system and heated front seats. Overall, it gives off a more upscale feel than is normally associated with Honda.

Cargo space in the 2020 CR-V hybrid measures at 33.2 cubic feet with the rear seats up, 68.7 cubic feet with rear seats folded.

Be aware of the unique controls for shifting, as there's no traditional steering column to be found. Instead, the CR-V has several buttons and levers fixated in the center console to control vehicle movement. On one hand, this helps open up space in the vehicle for storage and features like a wireless charger for your phone, but it will take a while for drivers to get used to the change.

The overall storage setup in the front part of the vehicle allows for multiple hidden areas to be located. And there are easily accessible buttons to adjust to Sport/Economy/EV driving modes.

HOW’S THE RIDE?

The CR-V hybrid features Honda’s two-motor hybrid system, which can also be found in its Accord hybrid models, and is unique from other hybrids on the market.

It operates without a conventional automatic transmission, and the powertrain combines a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors — a generator/starter motor and a 181-horsepower propulsion motor — to move the vehicle without gear changes. Total output is 212 horsepower. This setup allows the vehicle to spend more time in EV mode than the competition and boost efficiency. Regenerative braking will also help you maximize battery recharging during normal driving conditions.

The 181-horsepower propulsion motor drives the wheels directly, while the gasoline engine (connected to the electric generator/starter motor) functions as an on-board electrical generator, supplying power to the hybrid battery and/or the propulsion motor. 

This is also Honda’s first All-Wheel Drive hybrid, which aids in inclement weather and light off-road situations.

The CR-V hybrid features: 4-wheel disc brakes, front Macpherson strut suspension, rear multi-link suspension and electric power steering.

I found the 2020 CR-V hybrid to have strong but not exceptional acceleration from a stop. It was a smooth and overall quiet ride. All-in-all, it was an enjoyable driving experience, as long as you’re not expecting it to be extremely powerful.

Also, be aware of the high-pitched, spaceship-like sound the vehicle will emit when running at low speed under electric-power only. Since the vehicle is so quiet, this system alerts pedestrians to the CR-V hybrid’s presence through a speaker on the front bumper.

TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

Keeping up with Honda’s stellar safety record, the CR-V hybrid has nearly perfect government safety ratings -- 5 stars in most categories.

All CR-V models, hybrid or nonhybrid, come standard with a full suite of Honda Sensing safety and driver-assistive technologies, including: Adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking system with forward collision warning and pedestrian sensing capability, lane keeping assist system, and road departure mitigation with lane departure warning.

The CR-V also features a rear cross-traffic monitor, Honda navigation system, efficient voice commands, and a multi-view rear camera. You also get a driver attention monitoring system, blind spot system, along with vehicle stability assist, a tire pressure monitoring system, LED daytime running lights, and a LATCH system for child seats.

Technology-wise, you get both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration for phone mirroring, SiriusXM satellite radio, HD radio, Bluetooth connection for streaming music and calls, and a wireless phone charger.

The infotainment system was a bit of a mixed bag. I was not overly impressed with the design, which is not as user-friendly as some of the competition. You can use voice commands to help things go smoothly, but the reality is the physical commands are lacking compared to the competition.

MPG
With a hybrid, you expect fuel mileage to be impressive, and the CR-V hybrid delivers. Its official numbers are 40 city/35 highway and 38 combined. I found these numbers to be mostly accurate, and they’re among the best you’ll find in this segment, though the rival Toyota RAV4 hybrid does have slightly higher numbers. The CR-V hybrid also bests its rivals in terms of electric-only operation.

PRICE
My test vehicle was just over $37,000; base price starts about $28K. The CR-V Hybrid is available in the same four trims as its gasoline-only counterpart: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. Honda Roadside assistance is included for 3 years/36K miles.


BOTTOM LINE
The hybrid option may make the already very popular CR-V that much more desirable to families. Between the safety features, fuel economy and sharp looks inside and out, it’s got the goods to battle the best in this segment.

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2020 Honda CR-V hybrid
  • Price as tested: $37,070 (starts at $28K)
  • Best feature: Fuel economy, attractive design, safety features  
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle?: SUV buyers seeking a smooth family ride that also has strong fuel economy
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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