In many ways, it’s much better than its regular CR-V counterpart. But it may not be superior to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
Finally, Honda has started to offer its CR-V Hybrid to US buyers this year with its 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid model. Folks in China and Europe have been buying and using this car for more than a year now, so it’s a relief that US customers can finally get what they’re missing.
This is actually the first electric SUV from Honda to be available in the US, and Honda expects it to be their top-selling hybrid model. That’s not really saying much, since Honda only offers the Clarity plug-in hybrid along with the hybrid models for the Accord and Insight. All together, these models sold fewer than 59,000 units. That number should rise with the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid model.
Comparing the hybrid CR-V with its non-electric counterpart seems a bit unfair, though. In many ways, the hybrid version is a much attractive option. But can it compete with the RAV4 hybrid? That’s a more serious challenge, given that Toyota sold 92,000 RAV4 Hybrid units in 2019.
4 Trim Levels
With the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid model, you get to choose between the LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring trim options.
Honda may only offer this for show, since the brand doesn’t expect more than 10% of the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid buyers to opt for this trim.
The price tag for this base model starts at $28,870. This is more expensive than the regular CR-V EX by just $190. However, it’s more expensive than the base CR-V by $2,700.
Even the base model gets the Honda Sensing suite of active driver aids, as it’s standard on all trims. That means you get nice safety features like:
- Autonomous braking
- Pedestrian detection
- Lane-keeping assist
- Adaptive cruise control
- Traffic-sign recognition
This is the model that Honda expects to sell more, and it costs $31,380. With the EX, you now get the blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert. There’s a multi-angle backup camera and dual-zone automatic climate control. You get a sunroof, along with 18-inch wheels. The infotainment screen is bigger, and you have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
You get all the goodies in the regular EX, but this time you also get the power liftgate and leather seats.
This is the top of the line trim, with a price tag of $37,070. The extra money you shell out gives you an audio system upgrade, navigation, and wireless phone charging.
Under the Hood
This uses a 2-motor hybrid system, which includes a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter inline-four, plus all-wheel drive. It’s been tweaked with a higher compression ratio and an enhanced exhaust-gas recirculation system. All these give you 212 horsepower and 232 lb-ft of torque. These are the same as what you get with the Accord Hybrid.
Compared to the regular CR-V, the hybrid CR-V is certainly more powerful. The regular CR-V only offers 190 HP and 179 lb-ft of torque from the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine. Even the Ford Escape Hybrid only offers 209 HP. But the RAV4 Hybrid still offers greater power at 219 HP.
Driving the CR-V Hybrid
With the extra power and responsiveness you get from the hybrid, you get a better driving experience here compared to the regular CR-V. It offers a livelier ride due to the low-end torque, especially at average driving speeds around town in Sport Mode. The hybrid powertrain quickly reacts to even slight accelerator inputs better than in the regular CR-V.
From zero to 60 mph, it takes 7.6 seconds. That’s the same as the regular CR-B. But in the 5mph to 60 mph test (which is more accurate in demonstrating its responsiveness in the real world), the hybrid needs only 7.5 seconds. The regular CR-V needs 8.1 seconds.
Because the hybrid is heavier than the regular CR-V, it’s not as quick when it comes to the quarter-mile. For that, the hybrid needs 16.2 seconds while the regular CR-V only takes 15.9 seconds.
From 30 mph to 50 mph, the hybrid is faster by 0.2 of a second at 4.1 seconds. But it’s slower by half a second to the regular CR-V when transitioning from 50 mph to 70 mph, for which the hybrid needs 6.2 seconds.
Obviously, this will perform better than the regular CR-V. The hybrid gives you 40 miles per gallon while driving in city streets, and you still get 35 mpg on the highway. The regular CR-V only offers 27 mpg for city driving and 32 mpg for highway.
It’s still not as good as the RAV4, which offers 41 mpg city and 38 mpg highway in its EPA testing. Even the Ford Escape is better at 43 mpg city and 37 mpg for highway.
Overall, the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid has a lot to offer. The fuel economy is impressive, the pricing is competitive, and you get a lot of refinement. If Honda can just improve its mileage on the highway and upgrade the dated infotainment system, then the Toyota RAV4 can face a real challenge in this niche.
Follow Us on Facebook
Straight To Your Inbox
Get the latest Automotive news and performance tests straight to your inbox!