The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid is like a nice date night that doesn’t go overboard, financially speaking. Let’s say you want to treat yourself, but you’re not going all-out with a trip to one of those stuffy, three-figure-per-plate steakhouses. Maybe you want to spend just a smidge more money than usual and get down with some approachable, quasi-upscale cuisine, like a Cooper’s Hawk or a Wildfire, because you deserve something nice every once in a while. That’s what Honda’s new electrified SUV feels like: a satisfying dinner out that doesn’t break the bank for the middle class.
While the entire Honda CR-V line received a visual refresh for the 2020 model year, the new-for-this-year Hybrid trades paper napkins for cloth with a few unique bits that make it feel a little more upscale than any other variant. The new grille integrates nicely with my tester’s LED headlights and the revised lower fascia that adds in some flashy fog lights, arranged in a bar shape on the Hybrid versus the standard CR-V’s round guys. There’s also some special badging, because who doesn’t love patting themselves on the back, as well as a tailpipe that’s tucked higher up into the body.
Slide through one of the CR-V’s doors, though, and that’s where the higher-end appreciation really kicks in. Honda has done a great job revising the crossover’s cabin for 2020. On the aesthetics front, I’m particularly impressed with the matte-finish faux wood trim scattered about, a finish usually reserved for more expensive cars (with actual wood). The dashboard, while largely plastic, contains some attractive faux stitching, and there are plenty of interesting angles that make the CR-V feel a little less mass-market than it is. Heck, even the “floating” infotainment screen looks pretty great here. The fit and finish feels a step above CR-Vs past and competitors current.
But function matters more than form when it comes to a family car. Thankfully, there’s plenty of it here. A revised center console incorporates an impressive amount of junk-tucking room, and I like the sorta-open-air modularity of the sliding trays that cover the under-armrest cubby. The cup holders are voluminous, both on the door panels and in the center console, and Touring models like my tester get an iPhone-compatible Qi wireless phone charger tucked under the push-button transmission controls.
The second row has decent storage, as well, but the real benefit to being back there is legroom, since Honda offers a couple inches more of it than the competition can provide. I’m 6 feet tall, and I definitely wasn’t wanting for space, which means kids should have even more room to faff about. While the additional hardware required for the CR-V Hybrid doesn’t eat into cabin space, it does take a smidge of cargo capacity. At 33.2 cubic feet, the hybrid crossover’s storage space is about four cubic feet smaller than the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid’s, and it’s about six cubes behind the regular ol’ CR-V. The Honda is, however, ahead of the Ford Escape Hybrid, which has just 30.7 cubic feet of stuff storage. If you’re looking for a spare tire, you won’t find it, since Honda ditched it in favor of the hybrid hardware — a problem the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid doesn’t seem to have, since it still rocks a backup.
Writer: Andrew Krok
Published: 29 May, 2020
Photo Credit; Andrew Krok/Roadshow