• Honda CR-V Hybrid

2020 Honda CR-V Gets Hybrid, Will it Come North?

The new powertrain is part of the company's plan to have two-thirds of its global sales come from electrified vehicles by 2030.

Evan Williams By: Evan Williams September 19, 2019

Honda is refreshing the CR-V for 2020, and the big change to one of the company’s top sellers will electrify you. Well, not literally. The Comfortable Runabout-Vehicle is going hybrid for the new model year.

The new powertrain is part of the company’s plan to have two-thirds of its global sales come from electrified vehicles by 2030. It’s the same two-motor powertrain as the Honda Accord hybrid, which means it starts with a 2.0L Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder engine. The engine, which Honda says has an impressive greater than 40 percent thermal efficiency (more than 40 percent of combustion energy is turned into motive power instead of just heat), doesn’t use a conventional gearbox to power the wheels. Instead, it turns the motor-generator directly which allows it to run at optimal engine speed all of the time. At certain speeds, in certain conditions, it can turn the wheels directly with a 1:1 ratio.

We’ll point out at this point that while we expect to get the hybrid driveline for 2020 (along with the rest of these changes), this news comes from Honda USA. Honda Canada said that it doesn’t discuss specific product plans, but that “hybrid vehicles will play an integral role in our future electrified portfolio.” So call that a maybe.

Honda CR-V Hybrid

Honda CR-V Hybrid

This is the first time Honda’s used the two-motor system with all-wheel drive in North America. An electronic clutch sends electric power from the motor to the rear wheels as needed. The hybrid offers 22 hp more than the 1.5L turbo-four that powers the CR-V, with Honda US expecting 50 percent better city fuel economy. Do the math and that would put it just a hair ahead of the RAV4 hybrid’s figures. Expect it to come with hybrid-specific gauges and hybrid badging to let you know what you’re looking at.

Other changes for the 2020 CR-V include revised styling that Honda says makes it look more rugged. It’s a similar addition of chrome to the 2019 Civic refresh, though there’s much more of it here both front and rear.

Honda says that the 2020 CR-V will also get a new centre console bin that’s easier to use and offers more flexible storage. Expect Canadian 2020 details in a month or two, based on the automaker’s usual delay between US and Canadian info.