First Drive: 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Boosts Fuel Economy With Electrification

It's a new option in the growing world of hybrid SUVs

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid front three-quarters view

The CR-V is among the most popular compact SUVs available, and that’s understandable. It’s roomy, has an impressive assortment of advanced safety features that come standard, gets good fuel economy, and fits five adults comfortably.

For 2020, Honda has expanded the CR-V lineup by adding a hybrid, the first electrified version of this SUV. It joins the new Ford Escape Hybrid as another challenger to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, which is now in its second generation.

Ford returned to the small hybrid SUV category this year with the 2020 Escape Hybrid. That automaker offered hybrid versions of the Escape from 2005 to 2007, and again from 2008 through 2012.

More on SUVs

We purchased our own CR-V Hybrid, an EX trim with all-wheel drive. We’re currently putting it through our required 2,000 break-in miles before we conduct more than 50 tests at the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center, including those that evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls. CR members will get access to the full road-test results as soon as they’re available.

If you're not a CR member, you can get our full assessment of the new CR-V Hybrid by clicking below to join, which also gives you full access to exclusive ratings on all the products we evaluate.

Sign up for CR’s Cars email newsletter to be notified when we post our latest road tests.

What we bought: 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid EX
Powertrain: 212-hp, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine + electric motor; continuously variable transmission; all-wheel drive
MSRP: $30,260
Destination fee: $1,120
Total cost: $31,380 

CR's Take

The CR-V Hybrid has a slightly different personality than the conventional version. It’s not as zippy when taking off, and when the gas engine kicks in, it’s not very melodious. Unlike many electrified vehicles, this SUV doesn’t feel very quick off the line, and when it's pushed, the engine gets loud and emits an annoying drone. In many ways it’s the anti-Ford Escape Hybrid: While adding batteries made the Escape better, electrification didn’t really improve the CR-V beyond boosting its fuel economy.

112
SUVs Tested
Access Ratings