Honda Unveils 2020 CRV Hybrid, Brings All-Wheel Drive To Hybrid Lineup For First Time Ever

The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid already made its debut in Europe earlier this year, but with the U.S. version of the CR-V due for an update. Honda has unveiled our version of the 2020 CR-V Hybrid, which will be the third hybrid model that Honda will have for sale alongside the Accord and Insight sedans, as well as the first light utility on sale here to benefit from hybrid technology.


Tweaked Exterior And Interior Styling Defines Light Refresh:

Honda knows that when it comes to sales, the 2019 CR-V is a very potent winning formula for the Japanese auto giant. As a result, the 2020 version boasts the slightest of updates. A more pronounced and darkened chrome grille highlights the CR-V’s new mug, while Touring models benefit from darkened taillights, a darkened chrome piece below the darkened backlight, all new fog light openings, and new chrome tailpipes for the Touring. In the case of the CR-V Hybrid, the exhaust tips are hidden, which helps slightly with aerodynamics, and also gives the CR-V Hybrid its unique style. All trims (base LX excluded) gain standard LED headlights, while middle of the road EX and EX-L variants also gain all new 18-inch wheel dark grey wheel designs. Touring models like the CR-V Honda had on hand for journalists in Detroit benefit from bigger 19-inch wheels. Three new exterior colors also join the fold for 2020, with Sonic Gray Pearl and Radiant Red Metallic being available for all 2020 CR-V models. The third color (Aegean Blue Metallic) is only available for trims that are equipped in Hybrid guise, and we look forward to seeing if it looks as good in person as it does in photographs.

Meanwhile, the interior tweaks are a bit more extensive, but like the exterior revamp, there is no new ground broken here when it comes to the basic design layout. The major changes this time are focused on revamping the center console in an attempt to help make it easier for customers to use. Hybrid versions use the same push button shifter that we have also seen in the Accord and Insight versus the traditional shifter in other CR-V variants. Touring models even come with a Qi wireless charging pad that is logically placed in a central cubby where it is also flanked by two easy to access USB ports.


Performance Hardware Consolidates For The New Model Year, Adds Green Technology And Safety:

The key changes for the 2020 CR-V are found under the hood, with the LX’s old 2.4 liter naturally aspirated four cylinder engine being retired for the new model year. Instead, the 1.5 liter turbocharged four cylinder will power all non hybrid models, with the engine now producing 190 horsepower, and 179 lb-ft of torque. As for the Hybrid, it features a naturally aspirated 2.0 liter four cylinder engine that is paired to two electric motors. That helps it produce a combined output of 212 horsepower, and more importantly an impressive 232 lb-ft of torque. This torque figure is even with the 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid, and it should also give the CR-V hybrid some authority when accelerating from a stoplight. Honda did not release final EPA figures for the CR-V Hybrid, but if it can match the 48 mpg figure wielded by the Accord Hybrid, the CR-V would have a leg up over its key adversary, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Honda claims that the Hybrid benefits from a 50 percent gain in city economy when compared with the non-hybrid CR-V. By our math, that would be about 44 mpg or so, which is still a very high figure if proven to be true. Unlike other CR-Vs, the Hybrid features standard all-wheel drive which is thanks mainly in part to a clutch assembly that allows torque from the electric motor to be sent to the rear wheels when it senses wheel slip. All Honda CR-Vs come equipped with a CVT automatic, but only the hybrid gets the push button shifter that we have also seen in the Accord, Insight, and even the larger Pilot SUV.

This also applies to safety, with Honda revealing that it will now offer its Honda Sensing technology on all CR-V variants with confirmation that the base LX model finally gets to join the club for the 2020 model year. For those that need a refresher, Honda Sensing technology brings a suite of safety and driver assistance technologies to drivers including Adaptive Cruise Control, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Keep Assist, and Collision Mitigation software. Honda claims that it aims to bring safety to everyone with this move, and with all trims of the CR-V now finally getting into the act, look for this simple change to help lure in more customers that value having maximum amounts of safety and protection in their purchase. This also applies to EV mode driving, with the CR-V employing an audible alert for pedestrians when it is driving at low speeds. Like other electrified offerings, the CR-V hybrid features steering wheel mounted paddles that adjust the amounts of regen braking that is available.


The non hybrid CR-V will arrive in showrooms later this year, while the Hybrid version will follow suit in spring of 2020. Honda also revealed that all 2020 CR-Vs will be built in the U.S. with a trio of plants in the Midwest being responsible for producing various components for the utility. In a small correction from our prior video coverage, Honda’s Russell Point and Anna, Ohio assembly plants will help make the engine and the two-mode power unit, while the Greensburg, Indiana plant will be responsible for final assembly. The 2020 CR-V will share the line with both the Insight and the Accord with shipments beginning shortly after production formally goes online.