After the world got its first look at the fifth-gen Honda CR-V Hybrid at the 2017 Shanghai auto show, Japanese and European buyers have been tooling around in them for quite a while now. Starting in spring 2020, U.S. buyers will get a chance to own an Americanized hybrid version of this (retail) sales-leading crossover. The 2020 Honda CR-V hybrid system we’ll get is essentially this same Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (iMMD) two-motor e-CVT powertrain found in the Euro CR-V and Accord Hybrids.

What’s the Americanization include? Well, for one thing we won’t be getting a front-drive CR-V Hybrid. With 70 percent of all gas-CR-V buyers here opting for AWD, and an expectation that 10 percent of 2020 buyers will opt for the Hybrid, the number of potential front-drive Hybrids was too small to justify. Good news: the mechanical AWD system is essentially the same one found on gas CR-Vs, not an electrified rear axle like the RAV4 Hybrid uses.

Other differences relative to the global CR-V Hybrids are limited to system tuning tweaks tailored to local regulations and buyer expectations. Honda says the electric motor in our market’s 2020 CR-V Hybrid makes 181 hp—same as the Euro-spec one and the one in the Accord Hybrid. The 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle engine’s output hasn’t been confirmed, but both the Euro CR-V Hybrid and the Accord Hybrid it quote 143 hp and 129 lb-ft for this engine. And although Europe doesn’t quote a combined output, the 212 hp and 232 lb-ft being claimed for the 2020 CR-V Hybrid matches that of Accord Hybrid.

EPA testing has yet to be concluded, but we’re told to expect about a near-50 percent improvement in the City figure. Your results may vary but in Europe, using the tighter new Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure, the AWD Hybrid’s gains over the 1.5-liter turbo gas models with AWD and the CVT range from 2.3 to 53.8 percent across three trim grades and five tests.

We can probably also assume that the CR-V shares the Accord’s 1.3-kW-hr lithium-ion battery pack. Honda claims this pack will propel the CR-V farther in EV mode than “competitor” models (read RAV4), but there is no standard for measuring such range on a non-plug-in hybrid, so who knows?

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Trims and Expected Pricing

The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid will come in four trim grades: LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring. Pricing has not been announced yet, but their chief competitor, Toyota, charges about 3 percent more for the hybrid option on a RAV4, which would mean starting at about $27,750 for the LX and $36,500 for the Touring.

Honda assures us that because the Hybrid model was planned for from the beginning, all the body stampings are the same for gas and hybrid models, and hence cargo and passenger space are unchanged.


You’ll be able to tell the 2020 CR-V Hybrid models from their unique grille treatment with blue “H” badge, hidden exhaust outlets, five-LED fog lamps (Touring models), and badging. Inside, there’s a new push-button transmission shifter and steering-wheel paddles that increase or decrease the regenerative braking power. The digital instrument cluster will also present similar hybrid energy flow and eco-scoring screens to those in the Accord Hybrid.

The rest of the CR-V lineup gets a host of upgrades too. Honda Sensing is now standard on all models, The 2.4-liter is gone from the lineup, leaving all other CR-Vs powered by the 1.5-liter turbo. The center console is redesigned with a storage bin/sliding-shelf system that can better accommodate a larger purse, and on Touring models there’s even a Qi wireless phone charging pad and woodgrain trim. Outside, there’s a new grille design, new projector and LED headlights, revised fog lights, new 18- and 19-inch wheel designs for the top two trims, tinted taillights, dark chrome trim, and chrome exhaust tips (Touring only). The gas-powered 2020 Honda CR-V goes on sale this fall.

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