2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid first drive overview: Fashionably late
“A strong hybrid powertrain makes Honda’s well-liked CR-V crossover even higher.”
- Good to drive
- Punchy acceleration
- Spacious inside
- Regenerative braking paddle shifters
- Rivals get higher gasoline mileage
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t normal
Launched in 1997, the Honda CR-V was one of many first crossover utility automobiles. That made Honda a trendsetter within the 1990s. Nevertheless, the automaker has fallen behind on a distinct vital development: Hybrid powertrains. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is now in its second technology, and Ford introduced again the Escape Hybrid for the 2020 mannequin yr, whereas Honda’s possibility has solely simply arrived.
The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid makes an attempt to make up for misplaced time. It adapts the two-motor hybrid system beforehand used within the Accord Hybrid and Perception, marking the primary use of this technique with all-wheel drive, which is normal on all trim ranges.
The bottom LX mannequin begins at $28,870 – a $2,320 premium over a gasoline CR-V. Our take a look at automobile was a range-topping Touring mannequin, with a beginning value of $37,070, or $1,225 over a gasoline CR-V Touring.
Design and inside
You’ll want a pointy eye to identify the variations between a CR-V Hybrid and a gasoline mannequin. Exterior styling adjustments are restricted to blue badging, a model-specific rear bumper that hides the exhaust, and LED fog lights on greater trim ranges.
Automakers typically take considered one of two approaches to the outside styling of their crossovers, and the CR-V falls someplace within the center. Whereas crossovers are primarily jacked-up automobiles, there’s a temptation to make them look rugged and truck-like, as Toyota did with the RAV4. In distinction, the newest Ford Escape appears extra car-like, virtually like a Ford Focus as considered by means of a funhouse mirror. The CR-V takes cues from each playbooks. Its upright profile and imposing entrance finish are truck-like, however its slim headlights and curved surfaces are extra car-like. The consequence gained’t flip heads, but it surely’s good-looking and may age properly.
The CR-V Hybrid compares favorably to its rivals on inside house. The Honda has extra rear legroom than the Ford Escape Hybrid and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. The Ford gives extra entrance legroom, and the it and the Honda are nearly tied on headroom.
The Honda additionally gives extra cargo house than the Toyota with its rear seats in place, and the Ford with its rear seats folded (Toyota doesn’t quote an quantity with the rear seats folded). The Escape Hybrid has a sliding second-row seat that provides it an area benefit over the CR-V with the rear seats in place (on the expense of second-row legroom, nonetheless). The CR-V Hybrid additionally has much less cargo house than a gasoline CR-V, because the battery pack sits beneath the cargo ground. The Honda does have a low load-floor top, which makes getting issues out and in simpler.
Tech, infotainment, and driver help
A 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is on the market, however not on the bottom LX trim stage. Touring fashions get wi-fi telephone charging, however the charging pad is simply too small for some telephones.
A digital instrument cluster consists of hybrid-specific shows, comparable to a power-flow meter that tells you whether or not the automobile is utilizing its gasoline engine or electrical motor. The graphics for the instrument cluster are prime quality and simple to learn, one thing that may’t be stated of the cheap-looking graphics on the CR-V’s primary touchscreen.
The CR-V Hybrid comes normal with the Honda Sensing suite of driver aids, which incorporates autonomous emergency braking, ahead collision warning, highway departure mitigation, lane departure warning, lane preserve help, and adaptive cruise management. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has a comparable array of normal driver aids. The Ford Escape Hybrid has normal lane-keep help and autonomous emergency braking, however adaptive cruise management is an non-obligatory further.
Ford and Toyota don’t have an equal to Honda’s highway departure mitigation, which robotically steers the automobile again onto the highway if a wheel crosses an outer lane marking. Nevertheless, the RAV4 Hybrid has normal site visitors signal recognition, and the Escape Hybrid has post-collision braking, meant to maintain a automobile from rolling into different objects after a collision.
The CR-V Hybrid’s powertrain consists of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine working with Honda’s two-motor hybrid system. One electrical motor powers the wheels, whereas the opposite acts as a generator, harvesting vitality from regenerative braking and from the gasoline engine. The gasoline engine solely drives the wheels straight when the system deems it best to take action.
Whole system output is 212 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque. That’s greater than a traditional CR-V, or a Ford Escape Hybrid. The RAV4 Hybrid has 219 hp; Toyota doesn’t quote a torque determine.
As a result of the gasoline engine isn’t coupled to the wheels more often than not, Honda’s system has a quirk. The engine’s RPM doesn’t at all times match your acceleration or highway pace. Honda improved this with the CR-V Hybrid, and we did discover the engine didn’t appear to wail as a lot at low speeds as within the Honda Perception. The transition between gasoline and electrical energy nonetheless feels extra linear within the Escape Hybrid and RAV4 Hybrid, nonetheless.
The CR-V Hybrid is simply plain good to drive.
That apart, the CR-V Hybrid felt nice to drive. It’s not quick, however the electrical motor gives a useful shove of torque when pulling away from stops. The experience is smoother than the rival CUVs from Ford and Toyota, and the inside is quiet. The paddle shifters that management regenerative braking had been a useful contact. We may gradual the automobile with out touching the brake pedal, very similar to downshifting in a manual-transmission automobile.
Like the usual CR-V, the hybrid makes use of a mechanical all-wheel drive system, with a driveshaft linking the front-mounted engine to the rear axle. Ford did the identical with the Escape Hybrid, however the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid makes use of a second electrical motor for the rear wheels, with no bodily connection to the entrance wheels. Mechanical all-wheel drive was cheaper, Honda instructed Digital Traits, and it’s unlikely most drivers will discover the distinction in regular circumstances. However what about irregular circumstances?
Honda and Toyota boast that their hybrid crossovers can deal with some off-roading, and declare their respective all-wheel drive methods are key to that. On the CR-V Hybrid launch, Honda allow us to drive round a sand pit in each the CR-V and a RAV4 Hybrid. Positive sufficient, the CR-V did higher. The RAV4 Hybrid lurched awkwardly alongside the course as its electronics clicked and whirred in protest. The CR-V Hybrid additionally has extra floor clearance and higher strategy and departure angles than the RAV4 Hybrid, so it’s much less more likely to smash into obstacles.
We didn’t have a possibility to check the CR-V Hybrid on a extra conventional off-road path, as we did with the RAV4 at its launch, although. After all, neither can match the aptitude of true off-roaders just like the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota 4Runner. Crossovers just like the CR-V and RAV4 aren’t designed for severe off-roading. However when you ever end up on the run from Tusken Raiders, the CR-V Hybrid can have your again.
Gasoline mileage and security
The actual purpose to purchase a hybrid is gasoline mileage, and on this space the CR-V falls in need of its opponents. The Honda is rated at 38 mpg mixed (35 mpg metropolis, 40 mpg freeway), whereas the RAV4 Hybrid is rated at 40 mpg mixed (41 mpg metropolis, 38 mpg freeway). The CR-V does beat the all-wheel drive Escape Hybrid’s freeway score of 37 mpg, however the Ford can also be out there with front-wheel drive that helps it obtain 41 mpg mixed.
We managed to higher the Honda’s Environmental Safety Company rankings, attaining 51 mpg on a brief drive loop. Nevertheless, the numbers tumbled rapidly with much less miserly driving.
The CR-V Hybrid falls in need of its opponents on gasoline mileage.
The CR-V Hybrid acquired a five-star general score from the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration (NHTSA). The hybrid mannequin additionally comes normal with the headlights wanted to attain a High Security Decide score from the Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security (IIHS).
Honda gives a three-year, 36,000-mile primary guarantee and five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain guarantee. That’s the identical protection as Ford and Toyota. Honda has a strong reliability file. Whereas the hybrid powertrain is new, the CR-V itself has confirmed rock strong.
How DT would configure this automobile
Honda made this simple by making many key options normal gear. All trim ranges have normal all-wheel drive and the Honda Sensing suite of driver aids. The one factor lacking is Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, which requires upgrading from the bottom LX trim stage to the EX. There isn’t a lot profit to upgrading additional. The EX-L provides leather-based seats, and the Touring will get wi-fi telephone charging, a hands-free energy tailgate, and heating steering wheel, however these are luxuries, not requirements.
That the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid is a well-executed instance of the breed isn’t shocking. The usual CR-V was already among the finest small crossovers, and Honda’s hybrid system has been confirmed within the Accord Hybrid and Perception. However the CR-V Hybrid isn’t simply good in isolation — it additionally stacks up properly in opposition to its two rivals.
Honda wasn’t in a position to beat the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Ford Escape Hybrid on gas financial system, however the CR-V Hybrid makes up for that in different areas, and the effectivity hole is small. The Honda is nicer to drive than its rivals, has extra usable cargo house, and gives loads of normal driver aids.
Ought to You Get One?
Sure. Typically it’s good to be fashionably late.
Let’s block advertisements! (Why?)