Honda has pretty much left the CR-V’s design alone. Darker chrome and light lenses will grace all 2020 CR-Vs, whether they bear the hybrid drivetrain or an internal combustion engine, as well as a more graceful integration of the fog lights into the front bumpers. The CR-V Hybrid will also get ‘Hybrid’ badging, as well as an exclusive blue Honda shield in the grille.
The CR-V Hybrid gets an exclusive push-button gear selector, which is a much more elegant application of the layout that Honda has been using in other vehicles like the Pilot and Accord. Inside the CR-V Hybrid, the new selector is flanked by drive mode buttons (ECO, Sport and EV) and liberates precious space that's been used for a wireless smartphone charging surface. The CR-V Hybrid also boasts a new digital instrument display that presents the information one will require, or would like to see, in a hybrid vehicle. In there we find the vehicle's power/charge status, and a driver-selectable display for power distribution and regeneration. The last exclusive feature inside the CR-V Hybrid is a pair of paddle shifters that act like on and off switches for deceleration. By activating the left paddle, the driver can increase the amount of regenerative braking from the electric motor when decelerating, a clever feature that we first saw in the ill-fated Cadillac ELR.
A cleverly redesigned center console bin in included in all other 2020 Honda CR-Vs, regardless of trim level. Honda says that it “is easier to use and offers more flexible storage options,” and it certainly looks the part. All CR-V Touring models also now come standard with the wireless charging surface we talked about before. An infotainment system operated through a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is available, and can also by complemented with a redundant in-house navigation system. Remote engine start, dual-zone climate control, rear USB charging ports, and front passenger heated seats with power adjustments are also available.
Under the hood of the new Honda CR-V Hybrid we find Honda’s familiar two-motor hybrid powertrain, the same in the Accord Hybrid, which combines two electric motors with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. Together they generate a total system output of 212 horsepower.
Although the EPA hasn’t published fuel economy estimates yet, Honda is confident enough to predict an increase of 50 percent over the regular CR-V's city rating. That would give the CR-V Hybrid an estimated rating of 42 miles per gallon in the city, which, if accurate, would make Honda's hybrid crossover a single mpg more fuel efficient around town than the 41-mpg Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
The CR-V Hybrid's battery pack and its control systems have been shoehorned under the cargo floor without affecting cargo space of versatility. All CR-V Hybrids have Honda’s two-motor all-wheel-drive system, its first application in the US, which allows transfer of power from the electric motor to the rear wheels through the activation of an electronic clutch.
Gallery: 2020 Honda CR-V and CR-V Hybrid
All other versions of the 2020 Honda CR-V will use the same turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 190 hp and mated to a CVT with the optional availability of AWD.
The Honda CR-V is the second-best-selling CUV in the U.S. for a reason. With this 2020 refresh, that reason looks to have been bolstered with the addition of a hybrid option. After we have the chance to get behind the wheel, we'll let you know how successful Honda's refresh was. Prices have not been announced yes, but Honda says they will be shared closer to the 2020 CR-V's on-sale date. The gas-powered CR-V will have an autumn introduction, and the hybrid version will arrive early next year.