With a proven record for reliability and utility, Honda is bringing a hybrid variant of the best selling crossover for more than 20 years to the North American market - the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid. With a range of safety and tech features and the advanced hybrid running gear found in the Clarity, Insight and Accord Hybrid, in particular, Honda promises a 50% improvement in EPA mpg figures over the gas only version. That would bring fuel economy around the 45 mpg mark. A lofty figure indeed!
Let's look at some of the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid's specifications and features. The vehicle itself will be produced in the U.S. on the same assembly line as standard gas powered CR-V's. The powertrain is virtually identical to the two-motor hybrid system found in the Accord Hybrid featuring a combined 2 liter Atkinson-cycle 4 cylinder with two electric motors.
Other features include Honda's well integrated and user friendly suite of sensing technology, 75.8 cubic feet of passenger volume and a cavernous 105.9 cubic feet of cargo space. As for the rest, additional options will be available in packages or à la carte including but not limited to: the aforementioned real-time AWD, hands-free tailgate, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, wireless phone charger, LED fog lights and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Honda has been moving in an upscale direction with its interior and I definitely like it. The aesthetic first appeared on the Clarity and moved to their Accord and Insight. I wouldn't be surprised if the much lauded Mazda approach to interior design, use of materials, and ergonomics found in the new Mazda 3 specifically didn't help spur a change in Honda and other car manufacturers as well.
But, in a first for Honda, the CR-V Hybrid integrates its i-MMD unit with real-time AWD Intelligent Control through the use of an electronic clutch. How this will actually work on the road, and more importantly "feel," remains to be seen. As far as engineering, Honda is second to none and the road manners of all their cars deliver great value for the money. I'm glad to see Honda stepping up its game and offering an alternative to the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid with AWD. To be sure, the CR-V Hybrid with AWD would appear to be a direct shot across the bow of the great ship Toyota.
Luckily, we don't have to wait for a comparison. As the redesigned Toyota RAV4 Hybrid came out in 2019, and the CR-V Hybrid is based on an existing European offering, a couple of Dubliners have already dived in. Give it a gander and buckle up!