6/9/20 UPDATE: This review has been updated with test results.
Although Honda began selling its CR-V Hybrid in Europe and China more than a year ago, the hybrid compact crossover is new to the United States for the 2020 model year. The hybrid CR-V is brand’s first electrified SUV in the U.S., and it’s expected to become its best-selling hybrid. That shouldn’t be too difficult, since Honda’s hybrid lineup stateside consists of a sedan and two hatchbacks: the Accord, the Insight, and the Clarity plug-in hybrid. Between those three, Honda moved fewer than 59,000 hybrids last year, but the CR-V Hybrid should bump that number up considerably, given that it’s based on Honda’s top-selling vehicle. And the gas-electric version of the CR-V is well executed, bringing refinement, competitive pricing, and impressive fuel economy to a rapidly expanding segment.
Familiar Hybrid Tech
The CR-V Hybrid is clearly aimed at Toyota’s best-selling hybrid, the RAV4. Last year, about 92,000 RAV4 Hybrids were sold. In the CR-V Hybrid, Honda uses a two-motor hybrid system that we’ve praised in the Accord Hybrid but with a few tuning changes to smooth out its operation and improve efficiency, as well as the addition of all-wheel drive. It combines an Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter inline-four with two motor-generators and a relatively tiny 1.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Despite the battery’s small size, the hybrid components add a sizeable 201 pounds to the CR-V hybrid’s curb weight versus an equivalent standard model.