How It Works

In simple terms, here's how Honda's all-wheel drive tech works in the 2020 CR-V Hybrid

The Honda CR-V Hybrid comes standard with all-wheel drive. Here, the driver tests the system in a rodeo ring in Tucson, Arizona during the launch of the vehicle.

Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Honda has debuted the CR-V Hybrid for the 2020 model year. The traditional Honda CR-V comes standard with front-wheel drive and is available with all-wheel drive. The CR-V Hybrid only comes with "Real Time" all-wheel drive and is available in LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring trim levels.

The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid has a two-motor hybrid system and mechanical all-wheel drive.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid The all-wheel drive system shuts off when conditions don't warrant its use, helping drivers to achieve better fuel economy.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

A look at the car's underside reveals that it has two axles that each attach to two wheels. The axles are connected by a drive shaft.

At the intersection of the front axle and drive shaft is the two-motor hybrid system and a transfer case. The transfer case is a mechanical device that transfers power from the transmission to the front and rear axles via the drive shaft.

At the intersection of the drive shaft and the rear axle, there is a differential. The differential is a set of gears that allows the car's wheels to revolve at different speeds, as needed.

Not all all-wheel drive systems operate all of the time. The ones that don't are called part-time all-wheel drive systems. The Honda CR-V Hybrid has one of these systems. This allows the driver to receive the benefits of an all-wheel drive system as well as the fuel efficiency that comes with front- or rear-wheel drive when the conditions are right.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The new limited edition model is track-focused.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda's latest iteration of the Civic Type R has set a new track record for front-wheel drive cars at the Suzuka circuit. The Nagoya, Japan track is 3.6 miles long and features a figure-eight design.

The 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition posted a time of 2 minutes 23.993 seconds. That's good, but not as good as an F1 car. Lewis Hamilton holds the pole record at the track clocking in at 1:27.319 in his F1 weekender. In 2005, Kimi Räikkönen set the lap record in a McLaren MP4-20, registering a time of 1:31.540.

2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition The Honda was piloted by Takuya Izawa.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Super GT Series racer Takuya Izawa piloted the Type R Limited Edition around the track in February using a development car built to final European specs with no modifications or performance enhancements

"The Type R Limited Edition reflects Honda's dedication to refining the essence and driving pleasure of Type R as a sports car and exceeding the expectations of our customers," said Civic Type R Project Leader Hideki Kakinuma. "The engineering team and I embraced a racing spirit that has been passed down for generations, and it's this strong passion that's driving the evolution of the Civic Type R towards becoming the ideal sports car. Now the "advanced" Type R that I envisioned at the beginning of this development is a reality and I am overwhelmed by the result and how our efforts have been rewarded."

The Type R Limited Edition features all the updates the 2020 Honda Civic Type R received plus, it has been modified including the addition of forged aluminum BBS wheels, specially tuning the dampers, and recalibrating the steering for better control and feedback. The wheels alone are an 18-pound weight reduction. An additional 28 pounds of weight has been saved by reducing the amount of sound deadening insulation in the car.

The Type R Limited Edition is limited in paint jobs to just one: Phoenix Yellow. It also has a black gloss roof, outside mirror cabs, and intake vent on the hood. The Civic badge on the rear hatch is dark chrome.

All models feature an individually numbered serial plate denoting the vehicle's original country of sale.Each Limited Edition model has same 2.0-liter turbo-four under the hood that puts out 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It also has a six-speed manual and a limited-slip differential. Drivers can opt for Comfort, Sport, or +R drive modes.

Manufacturer's Suggested Pricing for the 2021 Civic Type R Limited Edition will be made available closer to its launch.

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The Toyota Highlander Hybrid has been completely redesigned for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid isn't going to make any headlines for its sexy looks, rugged prowess, or zero to 60 mph time. It doesn't have to. While the Toyota Supra, Ford Bronco, and Ferrari SF90 Stradale dominate that conversation, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid goes about its day.

It doesn't have time to stop and check out the other models. It's too busy solidly doing its job, just like it has been for the last two decades. And there's nothing wrong with that.

It's precisely that premise that carries over from the last-generation Highlander Hybrid to the new one. Redesigned for 2020, the model isn't revolutionary in the way that the new Ram 1500 was when it debuted. Instead, it's a thoughtful improvement.

2020 Toyota Highalnder Hybrid The Highlander Hybrid is fuel-efficient and can lug around three rows of passengers.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid shines in its practicality, continuing to move the midsize SUV story along in (mostly) all the right ways.

Like many things that Toyota has done with its vehicles over the last decade, the Highlander Hybrid hits that sweet spot blending the expectations of buyers with the modern technology that they may not have even known that they wanted.

The three-row SUV's hybrid 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 243 horsepower and is just powerful enough to get you through your drive with ease. The SUV achieves over 600 miles of range, which is fantastic for road trips.

There's an EV mode in the hybrid that gets you going out of parking lots and driveways with little exterior noise. However, the SUV's passengers can hear wind noise against the windshield – something that only goes to prove just how comparatively quiet an electric vehicle is.

2020 Toyota Highalnder Hybrid Steering the Highlander Hybrid is easy and it comes equipped with a boatload of standard safety technology.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Driving the Highlander, which came equipped with all-wheel drive, in mixed conditions resulted in right around 33 mpg. That's not bad considering the week included short trips for groceries, running the air conditioning at full blast most of the time, and keeping up with traffic off the line. It's rated at 35 mpg combined by the EPA. It's not uncommon for real life driving to be slightly lower than expectation.

The SUV is fantastically easy to maneuver, and the wheel feels good in-hand. Multi-view parking cameras make fitting into and out of a parking spot a breeze, which is good because rearward visibility through the glass isn't great.

The Highlander Hybrid is comfortable in every row. Adults can easily fit in the first two for extended periods of time. There's gobs of small item storage space providing perfect opportunity to keep your car plenty cluttered if you'd like.

The peanut butter and jelly-colored interior in the Highlander Hybrid tester isn't a favorite and there are some less-than-premium materials in the premium-priced model but the overall design is attractive.

2020 Toyota Highalnder Hybrid The large 12.3-inch infotainment screen dominates the dashboard in higher trim levels.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Its large 12.3-inch infotainment screen on the tester isn't the most pleasing to use, but it gets the job done. Use Apple CarPlay and most of your problems in that regard are solved.

Moving the second-row seats is relatively easy but having a permanent cupholder base between captain's chairs, no matter how rugged, is not my favorite design choice. A family's littlest third-row occupants are likely to choose to go this route and there's plenty of space for feet to get stuck and plastic to get scuffed.

The third-row seats go up and down with ease. There's a good amount of cargo room at the back for groceries.

2020 Toyota Highalnder Hybrid Putting down the second- and third-row seats for storage is an easy endeavor.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

A flat load floor is something minivan owners rave about. Personally, I prefer foot wells in the second row, which provide more contained storage solutions for when you pop out to the store and don't need/want to store in the cargo area. They also provide a divider between second-row passengers leading children kicking each other less.

The three-row SUV isn't revolutionary. It never had to be. What it is, is very good, especially compared to the Honda Pilot. The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid should be on your test drive list for the very reason that it makes life with a family easier.a

But (and this is a big but) it is pricey. The Highlander Hybrid can cost over $50,000 in its highest trim (the cheapest is $38,200). The Highlander's hottest competition, the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade, aren't nearly that expensive, but they also don't come with hybrid variants.

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