The 2020 Honda CR-V has been the most popular CUV in America over the past 22 years, and now with the addition of their first ever hybrid electric SUV leads the automaker’s plan to electrify light trucks. Honda is targeting two-thirds of its global automobile sales to come from electrified vehicles by 2030. The new CR-V is also the first hybrid to have AWD.
The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid hits showrooms featuring freshened styling, added features and upgraded powertrains. It joins the Accord Hybrid and Insight as the third electrified Honda manufactured in the U.S. as the company moves to apply its advanced two-motor hybrid-electric system to all of its core U.S. models in the years ahead. It will be built in Honda’s Greenburg, Indiana plant alongside the regular CR-V and the Insight hybrid sedan.
Exterior styling updates to the 2020 Honda CR-V display a more upscale and rugged appearance. Up front, broad openings for the fog lights are now fully integrated into the bumper, delivering a more aggressive look, with a more pronounced chrome grille. CR-V EX, EX-L and Touring trims all get round LED fog lights, while CR-V Hybrid models receive distinctive bar-type fog lights with five LEDs.
CR-V Hybrid models also come with hybrid badging and a distinctive blue Honda logo in the center of the grille. In the rear, all CR-V trims feature sophisticated new dark-tinted taillights and a new dark chrome treatment for the garnish below the rear glass. In addition to hybrid badges on the hatch, CR-V Hybrid Touring trims get a unique rear bumper. CR-V Hybrid has a hidden tailpipe, while non-hybrid CR-V Touring trims get sportier looking new chrome exhaust finishers. All CR-V EX and EX-L trims, including Hybrid, get newly designed 18-inch wheels with a dark gray and machined finish, while Touring trims are fitted with new, larger 19-inch wheels and tires.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Inside, the new CR-V Hybrid is distinguished from non-hybrid models by unique interior trim. A new push-button gear selector is flanked by three switches for Econ, Sport or EV mode. Econ mode alters throttle inputs to help driver’s maximize fuel efficiency, while Sport enhances throttle response for a more aggressive feel, with the engine sound enhanced by Active Sound Control. EV Mode allows the CR-V Hybrid to operate under electric-only power when the hybrid battery is sufficiently charged.
The CR-V Hybrid model instrument panel is also unique and features a display for power/charge status, as well as a driver-selectable display for power distribution and regeneration. In addition, CR-V Hybrid models have deceleration selector paddles on the steering wheel. By clicking the left paddle, drivers can increase the amount of regenerative braking from the hybrid system’s electric motor when decelerating.
All 2020 Honda CR-V models and trims benefit from a redesigned, easier to use center console that offers more flexible storage options, and CR-V Touring trims now come standard with Qi-compatible wireless cell phone charging. Additional in-vehicle technology includes a color TFT driver-information interface (DII) center meter display, available 7-inch touchscreen Display Audio interface with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ integration, and an available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™. Also available are remote engine start, dual-zone climate control, an Electric Parking Brake (EPB), rear USB charging ports, front passenger seat with 4-way power adjustment, driver’s seat with 8-way power adjustment and 4-way power lumbar support, and heated front seats.
TWO MOTOR SYSTEM HYBRID POWERTRAIN
The third-generation two-motor hybrid system in the 2020 CR-V Hybrid utilizes a 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle inline 4-cylinder engine with port fuel injection, and a permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor, 1.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The gas engine’s horsepower is 143 at 6,200 rpm, along with 129 pound feet of torque at 3,500 rpm. Combined engine and motor output is 212 horsepower and 232 pound feet of torque.
The Atkinson-cycle engine has a 40-percent thermal efficiency compared to the 25-30 percent thermal efficiency of most combustion engines, The “two motors” in the two-motor hybrid system are a propulsion motor and a generator/starter motor.
The system manages power by shifting the CR-V Hybrid through three distinct drive modes – EV Drive (electric-only), Hybrid Drive (series hybrid) and Engine Drive (parallel hybrid) – automatically selecting the best mode for the conditions with no input from the driver.
As with the Honda Insight and Accord Hybrid, the 2020 CR-V Hybrid doesn’t use a conventional mechanical transmission, torque converter or continuously variable automatic transmission. Rather, the motive force from the drive motor or the gasoline engine is transferred to the four driving wheels through four fixed-ratio gear sets and a lock-up clutch via Honda’s Real Time AWD with intelligent Control System.
SAFETY AND DRIVER ASSIST TECHNOLOGY
All Honda CR-Vs now come standard with the Honda Sensing® suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, including: Collision Mitigation Braking System™ with Forward Collision Warning and pedestrian sensing capability; Road Departure Mitigation with Lane Departure Warning; Adaptive Cruise Control with low-speed follow and Lane Keeping Assist.
Additional driver-assistive technologies include the available blind spot information, Rear Cross Traffic Monitor and Auto High Beam headlights.
CR-V Hybrid models benefit from a new Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System designed to increase awareness by pedestrians when traveling under electric-only power. A speaker mounted in the front bumper generates a distinct audible alert that varies in volume depending on vehicle speed. It is easily noticeable to pedestrians, but nearly inaudible to the driver or passengers under most circumstances.
I was afforded the opportunity to test both the 2020 Honda CR-V AWD Touring and CR-V AWD Touring Hybrid. Both wore an exterior finish of Sonic Gray Pearl with their interiors done on Black. Base price for the non-hybrid was $34,750., with a total sticker of $35,845. The base price for the CR-V hybrid was set at $35,950., with the final tally coming to $35,950.
The CR-V hybrid’s additional hardware increases the curb weight by only 194 pounds over the standard model. The hybrid’s battery placement beneath the rear cargo floor leaves no room for the spare tire and the load floor can’t be lowered to expand its capacity. Honda has beefed up the suspension, lending the CR-V Hybrid a substantial planted feel on the road, while ride quality remains compliant. The Touring model’s standard 19-inch wheels contribute to its stability, providing a secure feeling and capability. The hybrid system’s operation is quiet, smooth, and non-invasive. The cabin is well insulated and the audio-system’s active noise-canceling system helps to muffle engine noise.
The hybrid system’s added power and responsiveness improves the CR-V’s driving experience, with the electric motor’s torque providing a livelier feel. Sport mode enhances the powertrain’s output reacting to accelerator inputs more quickly. In an urban environment, the CR-V Hybrid has a more athletic quality than the non-hybrid model.
EPA fuel-economy estimates rise to 40-mpg city and 35 mpg highway over the 27-mpg city and 32-mpg highway of the non hybrid.
THE FINAL ANALYSIS
In a matchup between the 2020 Honda CR-V versions, the Touring trim level obviously delivers the most features, with the hybrid model taking top honors. It is decidedly more efficient, weighs only an additional 194 pounds and costs a mere $105. more. In terms of appearance, the appearance differences are miniscule – primarily in the badging. The only negative factor is the loss of interior space due to the battery pack positioning, but the positives far outweigh any such negative issue.
Bottom line, the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid AWD Touring is an outstanding two-row, five passenger SUV that is both attractive and functionally practical.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Touring AWD
Base Price: $35,950.
Price as Tested: $35,950.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle inline-4-cylinder, permanent-magnet synchronous AC., 1.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and port fuel injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 143 @ 6,200 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 129 @ 3,500 rpm
Combined output: 212 hp, and 232 lb-ft
Transmission: Single speed direct drive CVT with Sport mode and deceleration selector.
Drive Train: Front mounted engine and motor / AWD – Drive-by-wire Throttle System. Three-mode drive system – ECON, Spot and EV.
Suspension: Front -MacPherson Strut with 28.6 mm tubular stabilizer bar.
Rear – Multi-link with 13.0 mm solid stabilizer bar.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, BA, VSC with Traction Control, EBD, HSA and TPMS.
Tires: Continental Cross Contact Cross LX Sport 235/55 R19 101H mounted on 5-spoke Machine-Finished Alloys with Gray Inserts.
Wheelbase: 104.7 inches
Length Overall: 182.1 inches
Width: 73.0 inches
Height: 66.5 inches
Curb Weight: 3,763 lbs.
Turning Circle: 37.4 ft.
Ground Clearance: 8.2 inches
Approach Angle: 18.9 degrees
Departure Angle: 26.0 degrees
Fuel Capacity: 14.0 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 40 mpg city / 35-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
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