The CR-V is Honda’s top-selling vehicle and one of the most popular compact crossovers on the planet. For 2020, a new hybrid version is added to the line-up, one of several hybrids and plug-in hybrids joining the small crossover/SUV segment. The CR-V Hybrid delivers better fuel economy and all the practicality and drivability buyers expect, but it’s stuck with Honda’s clunky infotainment system.
Base Price: $35,950
As Tested: $37,070
Mileage: 40 mpg city/35 mpg highway/38 mpg combined
The five-passenger 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid comes in four trims: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. Starting prices range from $27,750 to $35,950 which are lower than man other hybrids, plug-in hybrids and EV crossovers and SUVs. And the prices aren’t that much more than the gas-powered CR-V and its range of $25,055 to $34,750. All-wheel-drive is standard; in fact, the CR-V Hybrid is Honda’s first hybrid to have AWD.
The CR-V Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine and two electric motors. Total output is 212 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission is standard. This is the same set up as the Honda Accord Hybrid.
Acceleration is quick as the electric motors provide plenty of torque, and then the gas engine comes on board. The transition between electric and gas power is so smooth that it’s usually not noticeable. The CR-V Hybrid is not particularly sporty but there’s enough power for everyday driving situations. It excels at giving a smooth, quiet and comfortable ride. The CR-V Hybrid feels planted when cornering with little body lean. Brakes feel pretty normal without that squishy feel you often get with regenerative braking systems. Paddle shifters on the steering wheel let you increase or decrease the level of regenerative braking.
Fuel efficiency is good but less than that of some rivals. EPA ratings for my tester are 40 mpg city and 35 mpg highway for a combined rating of 38. I got 38 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The cabin is pleasant and roomy. Materials look and feel nice. There’s plenty of leg- and headroom in both rows of seating. My tester with the Touring trim has some upscale touches including some faux wood.
Standard features include a rearview camera, push-button start, cloth seats, automatic climate control, five-inch display, four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a USB port and a 12V power outlet.
For 2020, all CR-V trims come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver assistance technologies including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, and lane keeping assist.
Available features include proximity keyless entry, multi-angle rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating, 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, seven-inch touchscreen, navigation, audio system with six, eight, or nine speakers, HD Radio, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless device charger, universal garage door opener, rain-sensing wipers, and a moonroof.
Available driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and automatic high beam headlights.
The major drawback for the CR-V is the frustrating infotainment system. The only physical button is for volume; for everything else, you have to use controls on the steering wheel or go through the touchscreen. It can be distracting to touch a tiny spot on the touchscreen while driving. On top of that, the graphics could use updating and the system can be slow to respond to commands.
The CR-V Hybrid has 33.2 cubic feet of space with both rows of seating in place and 68.7 cubes with the rear seats folded. The rear seats split 60/40 and fold flat. A power or hands-free liftgate is available. Lots of cubbies and pockets in the cabin are great for stashing smaller items.
The CR-V Hybrid does not have a spare tire. That space under the cargo floor is used by the battery.
Smooth, comfortable ride.
Roomy, attractive cabin
Sticker price isn’t much more than the gas-powered CR-V
Ample cargo space
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available
Clunky infotainment system
No spare tire
Fuel economy isn’t as good as some rivals
My tester starts at $35,950. Delivery fee is $1,120 bringing the grand total to $37,070.
Hybrids, plug-in hybrids and EVs are being added to the compact crossover segment and the Honda CR-V Hybrid is a solid offering for its smooth ride, roomy cabin, good fuel economy, and standard AWD. It will undoubtedly appeal to all of those buyers who’ve made the CR-V the best-selling crossover over the past two decades. The below-par infotainment system is the one big drawback.