On The Road

A no-brainer bargain

Honda CR-V
Mike Hagerty/Special to the Town Crier
The hybrid version of the Honda CR-V costs just $105 more than the gasoline-powered one.

The Honda CR-V Hybrid has arrived. People have been waiting for the first hybrid SUV from Honda, and in a lot of ways, this one makes me wonder why you’d buy the gasoline-powered version.

It’s powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder VTEC engine and a 1.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The combined 212 horsepower is 22 more than in the gasoline-powered CR-V Touring, but you won’t go any faster.

The hybrid stuff adds 201 pounds, so getting to 60 mph from a standing start will take roughly the 7.5 seconds it takes in the pure gasoline CR-V Touring. Still, that’s not bad acceleration for a small crossover, especially with a continuously variable transmission.

Performance in terms of speed may be a draw, but the CR-V Hybrid crushes its internal combustion sibling in fuel economy. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimate for the purely gasoline-powered CR-V Touring is 27 city/32 highway. Choose the CR-V Hybrid and that leaps to 40 city/35 highway.

All four trim levels of the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid (LX, EX, EX-L and Touring) come standard with all-wheel drive.

If there’s a drawback to the CR-V Hybrid, it’s that the battery needed the space occupied by the spare tire in the gasoline version, so it’s gone. Tire-pressure monitoring is standard.

Little bump in price

OK, so where are we so far? You gain 13 mpg in the city and 3 mpg on the highway, lose a spare tire and performance is a draw, though the Hybrid is arguably a bit smoother and quieter because it’s running on electric power much of the time.

So, I’m guessing your question is how much more this will cost than the gasoline version, right? The answer is $105. That’s not a typo. The base price of the gasoline CR-V Touring is $34,750, while the hybrid is $34,855. That $105 difference is likely to be made up in gasoline savings in a typical commute in the first few months of ownership.

Among the highlights on the standard equipment list are leather-trimmed seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, nine-speaker premium audio system, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, HD Radio, keyless entry, pushbutton start, dual-zone climate control system with air filtration, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, Qi-compatible wireless phone charging and power moonroof.

And thanks to Honda’s one-price-per-trim-level policy, that’s it. With $1,095 destination and handling, the as-tested price for this 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Touring is $35,950. Honda, based on its reputation and demand for the CR-V Hybrid, could have jacked up the price by a few thousand dollars over the gasoline CR-V and been just fine. By choosing not to, they’ve made choosing the CR-V Hybrid a no-brainer.

Mike Hagerty, who has been writing about cars since 1997, is vice president of membership for Western Automotive Journalists. Read more of his reviews at MikeHagertyCars.com and follow him on Twitter (twitter.com/mikehagertycars) and Facebook (facebook.com/mikehagertywritesaboutcars).

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