Honda hasn't exactly been quick to electrify (the Honda E won't even reach Europe until mid-2020), but it is making up for lost time in a significant way. The automaker is finally bringing a hybrid SUV to the US in the form of the 2020 CR-V. The new variant (pictured on the right) gets only a slight bump in total power to 212HP versus the gas-only model's 190HP. However, fuel economy is really the star of this show. The CR-V Hybrid's city fuel economy should be about 50 percent higher than its regular counterpart, although official ratings aren't available yet.
This also represents the first US-bound all-wheel drive car to make use of Honda's two-motor hybrid tech. If you're struggling for traction, the CR-V Hybrid will have the electric motor power the rear wheels. And yes, you can operate in a pure EV mode -- it's not clear for how long, but you might not feel guilty about driving an SUV for short stints.
The technology inside will likely be familiar, but welcome. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available through a 7-inch touchscreen, and the Touring trim level comes standard with a Qi pad to wirelessly charge your phone. Honda Sensing is standard and introduces collision mitigation braking (including pedestrian sensing), road and lane departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control. You'll also have options for blind spot info, rear cross traffic monitoring and automatic high beams.
You'll have to be patient. While the regular CR-V goes on sale in the fall, the hybrid won't be ready until early 2020. Pricing is also an unknown at this stage. Nonetheless, this could be a huge coup for Honda. The CR-V is about as mainstream as it gets for the brand's US presence (it even outsold the Civic in 2018), and the promise of better mileage may be hard to resist -- this could be the first taste of hybrid tech for many Americans.