Competes with:Ford Escape Hybrid, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
Looks like: A baby Honda Pilot
Drivetrains: 190-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder and continuously variable automatic transmission in front- or all-wheel drive (non-hybrid); 2.0-liter four-cylinder with two electric motors for a total of 212 hp in all-wheel drive (hybrid)
Hits dealerships: Fall 2019 (non-hybrid); early 2020 (hybrid)
Honda’s popular CR-V compact SUV gets a major update for 2020 with fresh styling, more standard safety features and new powertrains, including a hybrid model. The 2020 CR-V hybrid is the automaker’s first hybrid SUV — and according to Honda, it’s just the first of many.
Related: What’s the Best Compact SUV of 2019?
The 2020 model takes on a beefier look thanks to bigger foglight openings, a larger chrome grille and dark-tinted taillights. EX, EX-L and Touring trims get rounded LED foglights, while CR-V Hybrid models in the same trims get different bar-type foglights with five LEDs. Other hybrid-specific cues include badging and a blue Honda logo in the center of the grille.
Three new exterior colors are available: Sonic Gray Pearl and Radiant Red Metallic on regular and hybrid models, and new Aegean Blue Metallic is available only on non-hybrid models.
Much of the cabin — including the multimedia system — carries over from the 2019 model, but Honda says it redesigned the center console bin to make it easier to use. Also new is a standard Qi-compatible wireless cellphone charging pad for Touring models.
Hybrid models use a new push-button gear selector flanked by three switches for Econ, Sport or EV mode, as well as a specific instrument panel that displays power and charge status, power distribution and regeneration. Also specific to the CR-V Hybrid are deceleration selector paddles on the steering wheel. Drivers can increase the amount of regenerative braking from the hybrid system’s electric motor when decelerating by clicking the left paddle.
Although backseat and cargo specs haven’t been announced, Honda says the compact battery unit is mounted under the cargo floor, which should have minimal impact — if any — on space. A 60/40-split rear seatback with a flat load floor is standard.
Under the Hood
The new hybrid model is all-wheel drive, a first for Honda’s hybrids in the U.S., and uses a version of the automaker’s two-motor hybrid powertrain, shared with the current Accord Hybrid. It pairs two electric motors with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine for a total of 212 horsepower.
Fuel economy information hasn’t yet been released, but Honda says it will offer an EV-only mode and that it should see a 50 percent increase in the EPA city fuel economy rating compared with the regular CR-V. In EPA ratings, the turbocharged CR-V in two-wheel-drive trim is good for 28/34/30 mpg city/highway/combined. Honda says detailed specs, including EPA fuel economy ratings, will be released closer to on-sale timing early in 2020.
All non-hybrid 2020 CR-V models are now powered by the 190-hp, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine previously available only in EX trims and above. It’s again available in front- or all-wheel-drive trim and pairs with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Gone is the previously standard 184-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder.
Many compact SUVs, such as the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester, have added standard safety features to even the base versions of their vehicles. The CR-V is finally getting competitive in this space with all 2020 CR-V models getting theHonda Sensing package as standard equipment. It includes forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow. Safety extras include blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and an automatic high-beam system.
The 2020 CR-V will go on sale at Honda dealerships nationwide in the fall, followed by the launch of the all-new CR-V Hybrid in early 2020. The hybrid model will be manufactured at Honda’s Greensburg, Ind., plant alongside the regular CR-V and Insight hybrid.
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Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.
News Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer
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