One-Day Drive

First Drive Review: 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid is a fuel-efficient RAV4 Hybrid AWD buster

To test the CR-V Hybrid, drivers set off on a course in and around Tucson, Arizona.

Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

It's this simple. The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid delivers a better drive experience than the 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, when both are equipped with all-wheel drive. If fuel efficiency and traction are two of your primary concerns, the Honda is the best bet, but it isn't perfect.

The exterior of the Honda CR-V Hybrid has some changes from the traditional design of the CR-V. Honda has given the model standard all-wheel drive, five-lamp LED fog lights, unique rear bumper, Hybrid model badging, keyless entry, push-button start, a cargo cover and a long list of safety and driver assist technology. Different trims get different wheels.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid See the blue around the "H" logo? That's one of the few indications that the model is a hybrid.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

The SUV achieves 40 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, and 38 mpg combined thanks the combination of its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors. The setup is similar to the system in the 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid and it achieves 212 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque. That's significantly more torque than the 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid.

Though the CR-V Hybrid feels heavier and more grounded to drive than the CR-V, it by no means seems too heavy for its powertrain. The car has a good power to weight ratio that rarely makes the typical driver wish there was more oomph.

When it comes to all-wheel drive, the CR-V Hybrid is more competent in low-traction situations than the RAV4 Hybrid AWD. When behind the wheel of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid AWD, the model almost seems to be thinking about keeping you on the road while it operates. In the CR-V Hybrid, this same functionality is more straightforward and visceral for the SUV. This inspires more confidence.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid The Honda CR-V Hybrid carries over much of the same front to tail design as the CR-V.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

The interior is mostly the same in the CR-V Hybrid and it wins points for straightforward functionality. However, the car's standard shifter has been replaced by the button shifter traditionally found in Acura vehicles and the Honda Odyssey. There are large drive mode buttons to the right of the shifter that actually noticeably change the performance of the SUV. After pressing Sport the throttle allows for a torquier takeoff and longer spans between shifts. Press the Eco button and and pickup slows to allow for a more fuel-efficient experience.

The CR-V Hybrid is slightly less fuel-efficient on paper than the RAV4 Hybrid and Escape Hybrid. It earns 38 mpg combined while the other two get 40 mpg combined.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid The new model gets unique badging, including a "Hybrid" tag on the rear.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Honda has given the model best-in-class passenger and interior volume. Sitting side by side with another adult in the front row, it was easy to not have our elbow touch on the center console, even when on the road for hours at a time, taking a more relaxed drive position, and not doing too much to prevent the occasional nudge.

Where the CR-V and CR-V Hybrid falter is in the comfort of their seats. Or, rather, lack of comfort. After about 45 minutes your posterior begins to let you know that it's ready for a break.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Honda's seats aren't too comfortable, but that's not unusual in the segment.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

With the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid, Honda has done what they do best. They've given buyers who have loved the car a reason to opt for the new technology because of its efficiency and proficiency, while keeping all the features that they want like gobs of cargo space and common sense button placement.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid The wheel controls are all laid out the same way they are in the CR-V.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Honda offers the CR-V Hybrid in LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring trim levels. Prices start at $27,750 and wrap up around $36,000 for a top-tier model, not including the $1,120 destination and delivery charge. That's right in line with the Escape Hybrid and below the all-in cost of the RAV4 Hybrid.

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Friday auction find

Is this the cleanest Honda Prelude left?

This 22-year-old Honda looks almost new.

Cars and Bids

It's Friday, which means we're rounding out the week by obsessing over sales listings and car auctions. It's a good time to be looking, if only from a distance, because there are cars like this 1999 Honda Prelude Type-SH just waiting for us to take them home.

We hear it all the time, but this is likely one of the cleanest remaining fifth-generation Preludes around today. No modifications have been performed, which alone makes this car rare, but the mileage takes the exclusivity a step further. With just 28,700 miles on the clock, this Prelude is nearly new.

The Prelude's 2.2-liter inline-four made 200 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque when new, and this one's mileage is low enough that those numbers are likely still close to accurate. A five-speed manual is on board here, and despite the fact that the car is front-wheel drive, Honda made numerous upgrades to the car that gave it sharp handling.


1999 Honda Prelude Type SH Manual transmission and patterned cloth seats. Does it get much better?Cars and Bids


The Prelude Type-SH was better than its standard counterpart in nearly every measurable way. It rode on 16-inch alloy wheels and lowered suspension that set it an inch lower than the normal car. It also features an active torque transfer system, which could transfer as much as 80 percent of drive power to the outside wheel during cornering. Independent front and rear suspension rounded out the package to make the Prelude Type-SH a quick and nimble front-drive car.

It's easy to get wrapped up in the nostalgia of these cars. After all, for many of us they bring back fond memories of our school years, when cars like the Prelude were new and unobtainable by most young drivers. Even so, it's important to remember that a 20-plus-year-old Honda won't provide a modern driving experience and won't be as sharp as you probably think it will. That's not enough to stop many people (us included) from wanting one, but it's worth noting.


1999 Honda Prelude Type SH The Type SH features many upgrades over the standard Prelude.Cars and Bids

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New compact car

Honda announces 2022 Civic Hatchback

The 2022 Civic Hatchback features a sweeping shape.

Honda

The new 2022 model year cars are coming. Earlier this month, the 2022 Honda Civic Sedan began arriving at dealerships across the country, but Honda isn't resting there. Instead, the automaker just announced the 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback, which will come later in 2021 with European-inspired styling and enthusiast-friendly powertrains.

The Civic Hatchback takes much of its inspiration from the new Civic Sedan that has already begun hitting dealers' lots. The automaker says that the new Hatchback is designed for young, active buyers and notes that it will build the car in the United States for the first time. Production will begin later this year at Honda's Greensburg Indiana Plant.


2022 Honda Civic Hatchback The new Civic Hatchback will be offered with a manual transmission option.Honda


The Civic Hatchback takes its styling cues from European sportback cars. That means a smoother, more stretched-out profile instead of the abbreviated liftback shape typically seen in hatchbacks. The design makes the Civic Hatchback's wheelbase 1.4 inches longer and pushes its rear track width out by half an inch. At the same time, the car is 4.9 inches shorter than its Sedan counterpart.

Since it shares so much with the Civic Sedan, the Hatchback shares many of its counterpart's features. The list includes standard features such as:

  • A 7.0-inch color touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Updated suspension and steering tuning
  • New front airbags designed to reduce traumatic brain and neck injuries during a crash
  • Updated Honda Sensing camera system with a new Traffic Jam Assist feature

Honda will also offer upgrades, such as a larger HD touchscreen and a Bose premium audio system for the Sport Touring trim.

Two engines will be offered in the Civic Hatchback, both of which can be paired with a six-speed manual transmission. The base LX and Sport trims come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. The EX-L and Sport Touring trims get a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque.

Buyers who don't want to shift their own gears can continuously variable transmission with either engine. However, buyers that do will be treated to a brand-new manual gearbox, at least in the Sport and Sport Touring models. Honda says it redesigned the transmission to provide a sportier feel. It has improved shift rigidity, shorter shift throws and features a new dual-mass flywheel that reduces noise and vibrations from the drivetrain.


2022 Honda Civic Hatchback Folding rear seats opens the Civic's cargo area for better storage.Honda


Honda has not detailed pricing or exact release date information yet but says that the new car will arrive later this year. Pricing for the 2022 Civic Sedan starts at $21,700 before destination and climbs to $28,300 at the top end.

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