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Honda Introduces the 2020 CR-V Hybrid

2020 vehicle is another element in the company’s bona-fide move toward electrification
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2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

(Images: American Honda)

The roiling in Washington and Sacramento notwithstanding, today Art St. Cyr, vice president, Automobile Operations, American Honda Motor Co., announced that the company is launching a hybrid version of the CR-V. The CR-V Hybrid will become available early next year.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

Art St. Cyr, vp, Automotive Operations, American Honda, introduces the 2020 CR-V Hybrid

From an engineering point of view, the vehicle uses the same type of two-motor system that the company uses in the Accord Hybrid.

The CR-V Hybrid will feature a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle engine, a generator motor, and a 181-hp drive motor. The engine operates primarily as a generator. The peak system horsepower is 212, and the propulsion system produces 232 lb-ft of torque. The compact intelligent power unit (IPU), containing the lithium-ion battery pack and its control systems, is mounted under the cargo floor.

St. Cyr said, “It’s also worth noting that this is our first Honda hybrid with all-wheel drive.”

He added, “In fact, all-wheel-drive will be standard on all hybrid trims.”

In instances when wheel slippage is detected, an electronic clutch activates; power is sent as required by the electric motor to the rear wheels.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid


The first generation RAV4 Hybrid was also all-wheel-drive only, but the current generation offers front-drive and AWD. St. Cyr is well aware of the success Toyota has had with the RAV4 Hybrid (through August, Toyota has delivered 53,733 RAV4 Hybrids in the U.S., which is 18.5 percent of the total 289,736 RAV4s it has sold this year) and he is confident that Honda will do as well with the CR-V Hybrid.

On the subject of sales, through August Honda has sold a combined 42,270 electrified vehicles, as in the Accord Hybrid, the Insight and the Clarity, which is up 67.9 percent compared to the same period last year.

Two points about that. One is that even though gasoline prices are comparatively low, St. Cyr said that there is a whole generation of vehicle buyers who are more environmentally oriented than some earlier ones, and consequently he thinks there will be continued growth in demand for these vehicles.

He said, “We’re moving to electrify virtually all of our core models, cars and light trucks.

“By 2030, we want two-thirds of our global vehicle sales to come form electrified products, as part of our effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”—and note that this is a global Honda initiative, not something driven by government agencies.

And the second point is that when St. Cyr says “electrified,” know that this isn’t a matter of a motor assist for a start-stop system and 48-volt system. The Insight and Clarity come in battery-electric, fuel-cell and plug-in hybrid variants, so they’re not at the edges of electrification but fully wired in.

2020 CR-V Hybrid


The CR-V is getting a mid-cycle refresh which includes such things as new front and rear fascias and trim (e.g., dark-tinted taillights); the CR-V Hybrid will get the same, although there are additions like specific badging and a hidden tailpipe. The primary visible differences are in the cabin, such as a push-button gear selector and different gauges in the instrument cluster. There are paddles on the sides of the steering wheel, but they’re not for shifting (there is no ordinary transmission in the vehicle) but for controlling the amount of regenerative braking.

The CR-V Hybrid will be manufactured at the Honda assembly plant in Greensburg, Indiana. The two-motor drive unit will be assembled at the Honda transmission plant in Russells Point, Ohio, and the engine will be manufactured at the Honda engine plant in Anna, Ohio.

Honda thinks that hybrids have a strong future.

As St. Cyr put it: “Our main focus will be hybrids, accounting for around half of global sales by 2030.”

And that’s not at the edges, either.

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