The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid is the most powerful, fuel-efficient and refined CR-V yet.
As the Honda brand’s first electrified light-truck for the U.S. market, the new CR-V Hybrid offers the refinement, fun-to-drive performance and versatile, spacious packaging that have made CR-V America’s best-selling crossover vehicle over the past 23 years, now with the added benefits of Honda’s innovative two-motor hybrid technology, including:
The refined, high-torque feeling of an electrified powertrain
Quicker off-the-line acceleration than its gasoline-only counterpart
Greater range of electric-only operation than competing models
48 and 31 percent gains in city and combined EPA fuel economy ratings, respectively, compared to the gasoline-only CR-V
The new Honda CR-V Hybrid is available in the same four trims as its gasoline-only counterpart: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. Moreover, Honda’s Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System™ is standard equipment on all CR-V Hybrids, providing a high level of inclement-weather on- and off-road driving confidence.
Like its gasoline-only counterpart, the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid comes standard with the full suite of Honda Sensing® safety and driver-assistive technologies. Additional standard features include automatic climate control and automatic high beams, LED headlights, Smart Entry and Push Button Start, and a cargo cover as hybrid-exclusive standard features.
On the outside, the 2020 CR-V Hybrid is distinguished by a unique front bumper design, rectangular 5-element LED fog lights (EX and higher trims), a blue-tinted Honda badge on the front grille, and “Hybrid” badges on the grille and front fenders. In the rear, there is a Hybrid badge on the tailgate, and a unique Hybrid-only rear bumper treatment. All 2020 CR-Vs, including the new Hybrid benefit from new headlight designs, new alloy wheel designs for EX and EX-L trims, and new, larger (+1 inch) 19-inch wheels for Touring trims.
Inside, the CR-V Hybrid offers the same spacious and tech-savvy cabin that help define CR-V as one of the most refined and versatile vehicles in its class. The Honda CR-V Hybrid’s cabin is distinguished by its shift-by-wire gear selector; buttons for Sport, Econ and EV drive modes; and a driver’s meter featuring information unique to CR-V Hybrid, such as a power-flow meter.
The CR-V Hybrid utilizes the third-generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid system – also deployed in the 2017-2020 Accord Hybrids and recipient of multiple Ward’s 10 Best Engines awards. The Honda CR-V Hybrid gets additional enhancements to deliver a wider range of electric-only operation, including a duct to direct cooling air to the battery, helping both its performance and durability. Operating without the need for a conventional automatic transmission, the two-motor powertrain combines a 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC® Atkinson-cycle engine with 40-percent thermal efficiency and two electric motors with flat wire technology-a generator/starter motor and a 181-horsepower propulsion motor-for a total system output of 212 horsepower.
INNOVATIVE HYBRID POWERTRAIN
The two-motor hybrid system used in the CR-V Hybrid operates distinctly from other hybrid systems on the market, with reduced complexity and frictional losses, because there is no conventional transmission. Instead, the gasoline engine, electric generator motor and electric propulsion motor all work in harmony to move the vehicle without gear changes. The result is a relatively lightweight and compact system that spends more time in EV-only mode than competitive systems, resulting in outstanding city fuel efficiency, and a more advanced and refined around-town driving experience.
Unlike most hybrids, which use electrification primarily to supplement the gasoline engine’s output (parallel hybrid system), Honda’s two-motor hybrid system can operate as either a series or parallel hybrid. The majority of the time, the CR-V Hybrid operates as a series hybrid, its 181-horsepower propulsion motor driving the wheels directly while the gasoline engine (connected to the electric generator/starter motor) functions as an on-board electrical generator, supplying power to the hybrid battery and/or the propulsion motor. Under certain driving conditions, such as steady-state cruising at highway speeds, the system can switch seamlessly to parallel hybrid operation, the gasoline engine to the front axle via a clutch, and vehicle speed is proportional to engine speed (rpm).
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Front View 3/4
The third-generation two-motor hybrid system in the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid uses a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle engine with 40-percent thermal efficiency. Compared to the 25-30 percent thermal efficiency of most combustion engines, it makes the CR-V Hybrid engine one of the most thermally efficient gasoline engines in the world. The “two motors” in the two-motor hybrid system are a propulsion motor and a generator/starter motor.
The CR-V Hybrid’s control system manages power delivery between each component to make the best use of both the electric propulsion motor and the gasoline engine, providing seamlessly smooth and responsive performance while receiving a 48 percent increase in EPA city fuel economy rating, and a 31 percent gain in its combined fuel economy rating compared to the gasoline-only CR-V. The system manages power by shifting the Honda CR-V Hybrid through three distinct drive modes – EV Drive (electric-only), Hybrid Drive (series hybrid) and Engine Drive (parallel hybrid) – automatically selecting the best mode for the conditions with no input from the driver.
EV Drive Operation: The all-electric EV Drive operation occurs when starting from a stop, during light cruising and acceleration, and when braking. The gasoline engine is off when in EV Drive mode and is decoupled from the drivetrain to reduce friction, and power is supplied by the 1.4 kWh battery pack.
Hybrid Drive Operation: Operating as a series hybrid, the CR-V Hybrid is powered solely by the electric propulsion motor, with the gasoline engine supplying electricity through the generator motor to the propulsion motor while also helping to charge the battery. With the propulsion motor providing a peak of 232 lb.-ft. of torque available instantaneously, the CR-V Hybrid offers crisp acceleration.
Engine Drive Operation: During light-load cruising, the high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle i-VTEC gasoline engine provides propulsion via a high capacity lock-up clutch. In this parallel hybrid mode, motive power is sent directly from the engine to the drive wheels. This allows the hybrid system to use both the gasoline engine and, if needed, the electric propulsion motor to provide power to the wheels.
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Interior
2.0-liter Inline 4-cylinder Atkinson-Cycle Engine
The 2020 CR-V Hybrid uses a 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine, developing a peak 143 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 129 lb.-ft. of torque at 3500 rpm. Advanced engine control tuning creates excellent power characteristics, exceptional fuel efficiency and very low exhaust emissions. Key contributors to the improved thermal efficiency of the engine include improved exhaust gas recirculation and low-fiction valvetrain. This clean-running engine meets LEV3 AT-PZEV (SULEV30)/Interim Tier3 Bin30 emission standards, while contributing to the Honda CR-V Hybrid’s total system output of 212 horsepower.
Since the gasoline engine can be decoupled from the rest of the hybrid powertrain, it only operates as needed. Depending on the state of battery charge and other parameters, the system will shut off the engine automatically during deceleration and when the vehicle is at a stop (Idle Stop) or operating under battery power, restarting automatically when needed.
The hybrid-electric system in the 2020 CR-V Hybrid uses two electric motors, each with unique functions. Both motors use magnets containing no heavy rare-earth metals based on a proprietary, jointly patented Honda and Daido Electronics design.
The propulsion motor is rated at 135 kilowatts (181 horsepower) and 232 lb.-ft. of torque. When coasting or braking, the motor switches to a regenerative mode, converting the kinetic energy from deceleration into electrical energy to recharge the battery. Its operation is seamlessly coordinated with CR-V Hybrid’s electric-servo braking system, offering natural, linear, and responsive brake performance and pedal feel.
The starter-generator motor is connected directly to the gasoline engine-its primary function to convert engine power to electricity to recharge the hybrid battery pack or to provide electricity directly to the propulsion motor when in Hybrid Drive mode. The starter/generator motor also restarts the gasoline engine under most circumstances. A conventional 12-volt battery provides backup power for electrically powered features in the event the hybrid battery has been depleted, as might occur over an extended period of rest (parked) in cold temperatures.
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Exterior Detail
Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) and Power Control Unit (PCU)
The intelligent power unit (IPU) for the 2020 CR-V Hybrid sits below the cargo floor, allowing the hybrid-electric SUV to offer similar cargo utility and the same 60/40-split dive-down and fully-flat folding second-row seats as its non-hybrid counterpart. The IPU packages a Li-Ion battery pack that powers the Honda CR-V Hybrid’s electric propulsion motor and provides power for the generator/starter motor on engine restart. The battery control systems and battery chemistry allow the battery to operate over a broad state-of-charge range for improved efficiency and a wider range of all-electric operation relative to segment competitors.
The battery pack is recharged by the propulsion motor operating in regenerative braking mode, and by the generator motor, which is powered by the gasoline engine. The air-cooled battery pack is fed by a fan that draws cabin air from vents located to the right of the rear seatbacks. This arrangement allows for optimal battery cooling even with the second-row seats folded down, and cooling performance has been extensively tested in severe real-world conditions, including in the deserts of Nevada and Death Valley.
The battery pack is covered by the High Voltage Battery Limited Warranty that covers excessive loss in battery capacity for eight-years/100,000-miles.
The Power Control Unit (PCU) integrates the DC/DC converter and is mounted in the engine compartment.
Drive Force Transfer
Like the Honda Insight and Accord Hybrid, the 2020 CR-V Hybrid does not use a conventional mechanical transmission, nor does it use a torque converter or continuously variable automatic transmission. Instead, motive force from the drive motor or the gasoline engine is transferred to the wheels through four fixed-ratio gear sets and a lock-up clutch.
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Side View
The control system optimally and rapidly manages both the engine and electric motors to deliver higher fuel efficiency and quicker engine response in each driving mode, and shutting down the gasoline engine altogether when appropriate. The CR-V Hybrid’s drive force transfer offers smooth and predictable acceleration matched with efficient low-rpm highway cruising when the gasoline engine is in operation.
When cruising at mid or high speeds when the gasoline engine is most efficient, a clutch with lockup capability connects the drive motor and the engine, allowing them to work together in varying degrees to drive the wheels. In EV Drive operation, when the battery-powered drive motor is used for either acceleration or regenerative braking, the clutch disengages the gasoline engine from the drivetrain to eliminate efficiency loss from mechanical friction of the engine.
Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System™
The 2020 CR-V Hybrid comes standard with Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System™. Like its gasoline counterpart, the compact and efficient Real Time AWD system provides a high degree of control and driving confidence in rain, snow, dirt roads and on dry pavement. Real Time AWD offers the optimal balance of confident capability and user friendliness in a lightweight, fuel-efficient design. The driver can simply step on the accelerator and let the system maximize use of available grip and climbing capability. System operation is completely automatic and virtually transparent in smoothness.
The capabilities of the system are prioritized to further support high fuel efficiency and all-around drivability on-road as well as off-road. Assisting the front wheels when it is beneficial, Real Time AWD instantly powers the rear wheels when starting from a stop, even on dry pavement, working in cooperation with Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA) and the Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS). The Real Time AWD system can operate at all speeds when needed.
When launching on a snow-covered road, for example, the system sends power to the rear wheels before wheel slip occurs, maximizing available traction and control. The system can also detect when the CR-V is ascending a grade and send more torque to the rear wheels. When stopped, brake pressure is maintained after the brake pedal is released, giving the driver time to accelerate and smoothly resume motion. The Intelligent Control System instantly assesses the road’s slope angle using a G-sensor and the level of grip as detected by VSA, allowing added application of torque to the rear wheels for smooth starts.
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Rear View
Operating in the virtually the same manner as its gasoline-only counterpart, the Honda CR-V Hybrid’s Realtime AWD system transfers torque to the rear wheels using a compact front-mounted transfer case and two-piece propeller shaft. A multi-plate clutch connects the propeller shaft to the rear differential and is engaged by a hydraulic pump operated by an electric motor. The system doesn’t merely react to front wheel spin; it minimizes wheel spin under acceleration by proactively sending power to the rear wheels. For efficiency, the electric motor activating the hydraulic pump is idled when not required, such as when cruising, decoupling drive force to the rear wheels for reduced driveline drag.
Selectable Drive Modes
To customize the driving experience for maximum efficiency or driving performance, CR-V Hybrid drivers can choose between ECON, SPORT and EV modes, in addition to the Normal driving mode. ECON alters throttle inputs to help optimize fuel efficiency, while SPORT provides more aggressive throttle inputs while drawing more on the battery for a more energetic acceleration feel. Additionally, the Active Sound Control (ASC) system modifies sound appropriately for each mode, with SPORT receiving the sportiest setting. When in EV mode, drivers can opt to go for roughly a mile under electric power alone, depending on the state of charge of the battery and other conditions.
The CR-V Hybrid offers drivers the ability to select among four levels of regenerative braking using paddles mounted on the steering wheel. The right paddle (marked “+”) increases regenerative braking, and the left paddle (marked “-“) reduces regenerative braking. The level of regenerative performance is displayed on the driver’s meter, using between one (default) and four (maximum) chevrons to show the level of regeneration specified. The system resets to its default on restarting.
Drive-by-Wire Throttle System
The CR-V Hybrid’s Drive-by-Wire throttle system replaces a conventional throttle cable with smart electronics that “connect” the accelerator pedal to a throttle valve inside the throttle body. This results in reduced under-hood clutter and lower weight, as well as quicker and more accurate throttle actuation. A specially programmed “gain” rate between the throttle pedal and engine offers improved drivability and optimized engine response to suit specific driving conditions.
Honda’s Drive-by-Wire throttle system evaluates the current driving conditions by monitoring throttle pedal position, throttle valve position, engine speed (rpm) and road speed. This information is used to define the throttle control sensitivity giving the CRV Hybrid’s throttle pedal a predictable and responsive feel that meets driver expectations.
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Top View
The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid uses a combination of passive and active sound control to minimize engine and road noise. Thicker insulation is used on the hood, dash and firewall, and additional sound-absorbing materials are used in the front wheel wells. In addition, CR-V’s Active Noise Cancellation system helps to “smooth” the sound by reducing low-frequency booming at lower engine speeds and helping to give the engine a more linear sound as revs climb.
Acoustic Vehicle Alert System
The 2020 CR-V Hybrid also utilizes an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) designed to alert pedestrians to the vehicle’s presence when travelling under electric-only power. A speaker mounted in the front bumper generates a distinct audible alert that varies in volume depending on vehicle speed and is easily noticeable to pedestrians, but nearly inaudible to the driver or passengers under most circumstances. In accordance with regulations, the system operates whenever the vehicle is in motion under electric power only (engine shut-off). The sound stops when the vehicle speed exceeds about 16 mph, and resumes when speed falls below about 14 mph.
SOPHISTICATED EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR STYLING
The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid shares much of its upscale and distinctive exterior and interior styling with the non-hybrid models, with some small but significant differences. Hybrid badges are found on the front fenders and tailgate, and the Honda badge is tinted blue.
The Hybrid exterior also benefits from the gloss black grille and broad new openings for the fog lights. Further distinguishing the CR-V Hybrid are its rectangular five-element LED fog lights (EX and up), replacing round single-lamps units on the gasoline-only model.
Similar to non-Hybrid models, the rear features dark-tinted taillight lenses, a dark chrome tailgate garnish and more darkly tinted rear glass. The lower bumper trim on Hybrid models is unique from non-hybrid. EX and EX-L trims get newly designed 18-inch wheels with a dark gray and machined finish, while the Touring trim’s new, larger 10-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels and tires (+1 inch) raise the bar on the Touring’s stance and upscale demeanor.
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Interior Detail
Inside, all 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrids use a shift-by-wire gear selector, flanked on the right by user-selectable drive modes. Likewise, CR-V Hybrid models have a unique color TFT driver information interface (DII) center meter display with hybrid specific settings, such as a power-flow meter. Honda CR-V Hybrid also gets the redesigned and easier-to-use center console introduced for the 2020 model year; and CR-V Hybrid Touring trims now come standard with Qi-compatible wireless cell phone charging.
Other in-vehicle technologies include an available 7-inch touchscreen Display Audio interface with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ integration, and an available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™. Additional available tech includes remote engine start, dual-zone climate control, an Electric Parking Brake (EPB), rear USB charging ports, front passenger seat with 4-way power adjustment, driver’s seat with 8-way power adjustment and 4-way power lumbar support, and heated front seats and steering wheel.
Passenger space in CR-V Hybrid is virtually identical to the non-hybrid model, offering a class-leading 105.9 cubic feet of interior space (LX trim, without moonroof) and top-in-class rear-seat legroom compared to other compact hybrid-electric CUVs. The CR-V Hybrid also delivers top-class cargo space of 33.2 cu.-ft. behind the rear seats, and 68.7 cu.-ft. with the 60/40 rear seatbacks folded flat. In packaging the IPU (hybrid battery), engineers also maintained the capacity of the second-row seats to fold fully flat, unlike some competing models.
ADVANCED SAFETY AND DRIVER-ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES
Beginning with the 2020 model year, the Honda CR-V and CR-V Hybrid come standard with the Honda Sensing® suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies. Honda Sensing® includes:
Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and pedestrian sensing capability
Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with low-speed follow
Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS)
Additional driver-assistive technologies include the available blind spot information, Rear Cross Traffic Monitor and Auto High Beam headlights.
The 2020 CR-V Hybrid also incorporates the latest generation of Honda’s proprietary Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure and received a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Honda CR-V Hybrid also earned A TOP SAFETY PICK rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including a SUPERIOR rating for frontal crash prevention with Honda Sensing®.
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Front View
SOPHISTICATED BODY CHASSIS TECHNOLOGY
The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid utilizes the same sophisticated body and chassis architecture as its gasoline-only counterpart, including a rigid and lightweight body structure utilizing 57 percent high-strength steel (including 13.8-percent ultra-high-strength hot-stamped steel), and Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure for frontal collision protection.
Along with the non-hybrid model, the 2020 CR-V Hybrid received numerous chassis-stiffening enhancements, especially in the rear, to improve overall rigidity, handling and safety performance.
Its front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension use specially tuned low-friction dampers, including tubular front and solid rear stabilizer bars that promote quick turn-in and flatter cornering. Honda CR-V Hybrid also maintains the same ride height (8.2 in.), approach angle (18.85-degrees), and departure angle (26-degrees) as its non-hybrid counterpart. Dual-pinion, variable-ratio Electric Power Steering (EPS) also contributes to the CR-V Hybrid’s direct and satisfying steering feel.
Electric-Servo Braking System
Similar to other Honda hybrid-electric vehicles, the 2020 CR-V Hybrid uses an electric-servo braking system. Employing a microprocessor-controlled combination of electronic regenerative braking and hydraulic braking, the 2020 CR-V Hybrid provides a smooth and linear braking response in all driving conditions, while also improving fuel efficiency. Just like a traditional braking system, the electric-servo braking system is fully hydraulic from the master cylinder all the way to the 4-wheel disc brakes. The key difference is the braking function is electronically controlled rather than a purely mechanical activation, allowing regenerative braking from the electric drive motor to slow the vehicle, rather than the hydraulic friction brakes under many circumstances. Besides its efficiency payoffs, the system offers excellent feel and feedback through the brake pedal.
Applying the brake pedal sends a signal to the vehicle’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU), which determines the appropriate amount of braking force to assign to regenerative braking through the electric drive motor and to the hydraulic friction braking system. In many light-to-moderate braking situations, friction braking is not needed until the vehicle speed drops below 5 mph, as the vehicle slows to a final stop. When the ECU determines that friction braking is needed, the dual hydraulic master cylinder pumps brake fluid through the system. Midway between the master cylinder and the calipers is a separate motorized electronic actuator. This actuator receives an electronic signal, generated in the master cylinder module that precisely defines how the driver has applied the brakes – soft or hard, slow or fast. The actuator then directly apportions hydraulic pressure to the brake calipers at each wheel. The system delivers an extra-strong braking response when the driver increases the pedal force to maximize accident-avoidance capabilities.
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Rear View 3/4
Honda CR-V Hybrid’s electric servo brake system provides efficient regenerative braking along with smooth, consistent brake control and feel. Regenerative braking begins as soon as the driver releases the throttle pedal, with a strong regenerative braking effect beginning when the brake pedal is depressed and continuing until the point that the vehicle speed drops below 1 mph, when the friction brakes fully engage. The objective is to maximize battery recharging during normal driving – while still maintaining top levels of braking precision and driving enjoyment.