By on April 21, 2017

2017 Honda CR-V - Image: Honda

It’s really a matter of when, instead of a question of “will it?”

This week’s Shanghai auto show saw the premiere of an electrified Honda CR-V that should hit Chinese dealers in the second half of this year. When that vehicle will get a chance to battle rivals on American turf remains a secret, but it’s abundantly clear that the model has a future on this continent.

Built in China by the Dongfeng Honda Automotive partnership , the model’s exterior doesn’t diverge from the gas-powered model we saw arrive for the 2017 model year. That’s because it’s what’s underneath that makes the vehicle extra marketable.

The hybrid version of the wildly popular compact crossover uses Honda’s i-MMD two-motor system — a setup found on the upgraded 2017 Accord Hybrid. Honda didn’t release specifications for the CR-V, though the Accord version makes a combined 212 horsepower from a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine and two electric motors. That model stores its juice in a 1.3-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery.

The Accord Hybrid also gets 49 miles per gallon in the city and 48 mpg combined, though a less-svelte crossover would see worse fuel economy, assuming the unit is a direct carryover.

At the auto how, Honda president Takahiro Hachigo reiterated the company’s pledge to draw two-thirds of its global sales from electrified vehicles by 2030. A lofty goal, and one that makes the CR-V Hybrid’s entry into the U.S. a given.

When Green Car Reports asked Honda if we can expect this model, a company spokesperson replied, “We have already announced our intent to electrify core volume models, including light trucks.  CR-V will logically be a part of that, and we’ll announce timing for the U.S. at a later date.”

With this model in its stable, Honda would find itself better armed to battle two chief rivals — the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue — each of which offers a hybrid variant.

[Image: Honda]

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24 Comments on “Honda CR-V Hybrid Debuts in China, Waits to Leap Across Pacific...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The CUV market is long overdue for hybrids, so this is a welcome addition.

    Hyundai/Kia should have hybridized the Tucson/Sportage years ago, since they already had the 2.4L hybrid drivetrain from the Sonata/Optima available.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve had my Rav4 hybrid for exactly a year. I’ve driven it 40,000 kms and I’ve averaged 7.8l/100 kms or right around 30 mpg over that time. That includes a lot of cold morning starts and snowstorms.

      Hard to believe here aren’t more compact CUV hybrids.

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed there should be more cuv hybrids. One advantage is that there is enough wasted space ubderneath that interior capacity suffers little. While the Rav4 Hybrid is selling well, the Escape Hybrid saw highest sales around the middle of the 8-year run, and fell off to very few in 2012, the last year. 3% of the Escapes were Hybrids, while Rav4 Hybrids are something like 20%.

  • avatar

    I don’t know enough about battery tech and costs to understand why the majority of ‘family people mover’ segment isn’t already hybrid-ized.

    The Prius has shown to be mostly reliable, and you’d think families would be interested in the long term fuel savings for their every day errand running vehicles along with that reliability.

    This Honda makes sense and should sell enough to hopefully convince other manufacturers to offer hybrids in there crossovers and vans too.

    • 0 avatar

      “The Prius has shown to be mostly reliable..”

      What would you suggest as an example of complete reliability?

      • 0 avatar

        UH….The Prius. That’s why I typed it.

        My understanding is that the Prius, the most well known and best selling hybrid vehicle in the US (as far as I know), pretty much goes 200k no problem, with the only major repair cost being a battery replacement.

        Is this incorrect?

        • 0 avatar

          “Is this incorrect?”

          No, so far as I know Pruis is the reigning paragon of reliability hence its global use as a taxi (along with fuel-sipping).

          I only wondered why you said “mostly reliable” which sort of implies that they’re not altogether so.

          • 0 avatar

            Mostly reliable is about as good as it gets.

            Is there an vehicle out there that is 100% reliable? Even a known-to-be well made model can occasionally have an individual example that deviates from the norm.

          • 0 avatar

            Pintos were mostly reliable.
            The Prius is exceptionally reliable. Just ask anyone who owns one, or look up owner reviews on Edmunds.

        • 0 avatar

          The part you have incorrect is that the failure rate on hybrid batteries, other than one past Honda model, is very near zero. Hybrid battery replacement is a myth. Over and over this has to be pointed out as the myth survives like some sort if zombie.

          • 0 avatar

            I never said failure, I said replacement.

            I don’t think its required, but my brother in law has one (well its my sister’s daily driver) has one and he is an indie mechanic by trade, and has told me that a good guideline is 10-12 years, or 150-200k miles is when the battery is probably having enough efficiency loss to warrant a test and possibly replacement, but it depends on the mix of city/highway driving. The more city driving you do, the more likely you are to need to get the battery tested sooner. I think. I haven’t discussed this with him in a while.

            A failure would be in the ‘major issue’ category, and as far as I know, the failure rate on them is so low as to be statistically insignificant.

          • 0 avatar

            The features of a hybrid that use the battery are only part of what enhances their mileage. They still have cvt’s, relatively small engines running the Atkinson cycle, engine stop/start etc. So even if the battey loses, say, 10% capacity, this might effect mileage only 5%. Which most people wouldn’t even notice.

            I’ve never heard of any hybrid owner replacing the battery just because mileage fell off a little. The rare replacements seem to follow total failure of the regeneration system.

            There are as many reports from owners of older hybrids that mileage has not decreased at all, as there are reports of small mileage losses. You can look up the 2008 Escape Hybrid used by a security company that had 500,000 miles on it a few years ago – with the original battery and no loss of mileage. Somewhere on the Internet is the % replacement for Escape Hybrid batteries. It’s an extremely small number. Less than 1%.

            The facilities for recycling hybrid batteries that were to be set up when hybrids came out never were done because there was no need for them. Used Escape batteries are listed on Ebay starting around $500. It seems supply from wrecks exceeds the demand.

            I know this may seem strange to anyone who has had a cordless power tool battery fail. One of modern life’s annoyances. But hybrid car batteries live a coddled life of temperature conditioning and operation only in the middle of the capacity range.

            I’m curious to know where your belief about replacing these batteries comes from. Not as a personal attack, I’d like to track down how the myth got started.

    • 0 avatar

      Lithum battery replacement is in 4-7 years and cost around $5K!

      • 0 avatar

        Except every hybrid sold in the US has an 8 year/100k mile warranty, and some states have 10Y/150K.

        So even if this rate of replacement were true (hint: it’s not), a replacement would be at zero cost to the owner unless they had excessive mileage.

      • 0 avatar

        How do you know this?

        I can see it might be true, as li-ion cordless power tool batteries lose something like 10% capacity every year even if they are not used. But the batteries used in cars may have conditioning routines applied to them. I know this is periodically done on the Escape Hybrid’s NiMH battery.

        • 0 avatar

          “I’m curious to know where your belief about replacing these batteries comes from. Not as a personal attack, I’d like to track down how the myth got started.”

          As I said, my brother in law, who owns one, and works as a mechanic for a living, has nothing but praise for the Prius as an every day driver for most. I have no idea where he got his info, but he changed out the battery on his at 181k or something. He said there is a tool or software to test it. This was a conversation in his garage a few Christmases ago, and I may have 2 or 3 rather strong coquitos (a Caribbean rum and coconut drink closely analogous to eggnog).

          It could also be that he is OCD about his vehicles. He is a car nut. My sister drives the Prius, he daily drives an LT1 Buick Roadmaster sedan, and is almost done restoring his late uncle’s early 70’s Chevelle SS. He also has 1970s vintage motorhome for their yearly vacations, and he tows a Suzuki Sidekick or maybe a first gen Toyota RAV4 (I forget) behind it so that they can do short daily excursions near wherever they are vacationing so that the motor home can stay parked.

          Other than the Prius, he buys cheap, troubled stuff, and actually does remarkable work to get them running, keep them running, and then improve the aesthetic things like sagging headliners, cracked dashes, etc.

          So, I have come to trust his judgement, but its entirely possible that he had the rare bad battery, or just is OCD enough to have noticed a minor dip in efficiency and preemptively replaced it.

          I did not question the reliability of the vehicle. I am just stating that the ONLY truly costly thing a Prius owner may have to deal with out of warranty is the battery. As far as I know, everything else on that car is replace fluids and other consumables as need, repeat ad infinitum.

          • 0 avatar

            Thanks for the reply. I like the idea of having the Roadmaster wagon.

            Just to play devil’s advocate, one may be more likely to have to replace the transmission or engine than the Prius’ battery. Or a crash repair. In fact, it may well be that the average non-hybrid will suffer a major repair earlier than anything on a hybrid. Do automatic transmissions go 10 years without an overhaul? And then there are FCA products….

            Then this combines with the fact you can get a used battery and install it for $1000. Half what I spent on my Escape’s front end last year.

            The idea that hybrid batteries have to be replaced seemed to be based on some influential but uninformed people, likely auto journalists in the early days of hybrids. As traditionalists they were anxious to diss hybrids (and ev’s), even if they had to make things up. Such myths die hard. It is why used hybrids are such bargains.

            My nose is out of joint about this myth because I believe it helped set back the adoption of hybrids. So I have to blurt an objection when I see any repetition of it. I’ll anger some here by saying buying a hybrid is the least one can do to lower one’s carbon damage. And it’s like a permanent 40% discount on gas.

        • 0 avatar

          I think that if he could have found an LT1 Roadmaster wagon within whatever his budget was, he would have pulled the trigger.

          The sedan is a hoot, though. He changed the exhaust and put more performance oriented tires on it, and the thing sounds and moves so different from what you’d expect by looking at it. Other than the slightly more aggressive exhaust note under acceleration, from the inside, its exactly what you’d expect: comfy, pretty damn quiet, spacious. A nice, cushy ride. I know that he didn’t buy it in this condition, but if he sold it right now, it looks about as close to a very good/mint condition as a car of that age can look. He replaced the worn leather on the driver’s seat, replaced electronics, etc. It looks good.

          Its a monster highway cruiser, and can sit in the left lane at 90mph fully loaded with his family with no effort and minimal noise.

          My sister uses the Prius as the DD for her: to and from work, pick up and drop of her kids or my dad (he is showing some memory issues, and we took his keys away, sadly.)

          She fills it like….2x a month instead of 1x a week, like her old car.

          Its perfect for what they need it for. I know it gets great highway mpg too, but the gas saving benefit is far less in that situation. That’s why my brother in law uses the Roadmaster for his commute which is longer. It would be more expensive to fuel both cars if they switched roles.

          Anyway, he definitely DID replace the battery on a cold late December day in 2013 or 2014. We arrived for dinner as he was finishing up. I never ask what he pays for stuff. But it was probably a lot cheaper for him as a DIY project than it in the ultra-rare instance where it would happen to most others.

  • avatar

    I’m still waiting for a decent size plug-in hybrid with >30 miles electric range, I was hoping the CRV would be it.

    My Volt is definitely on the cramped side with 2 young but growing kids. The C-Max Energi cargo space is lacking. The Pacifica is therefore my best bet and yet I really don’t need a minivan.

    So auto manufacturers where is a decent range, decent size PHEV?

  • avatar


  • avatar

    I have a 2017 Accord Hybrid and it is a pretty damn slick system.

    I;m averaging 46 mpg in a 194 inch long, 73 inch wide, 3500 lb car. Drive suburban and a bit of highway. I got 25 in my 201l accord with the same driving patterns.

    Its not slow, either. Instant response from the electric motor, and combined 212 HP and 232lb/ft torque. 6.9 seconds zero to sixty per C&D. Of course, you wont get that mileage if you exploit the power

    I think it would be a great drivetrain for a suburban warrior CUV.

  • avatar

    LOL “Prius is mostly reliable’ That comment is amazing since many of us consider the prius the most reliable car ever built. Should go over 200k before needing much money spent on it and the batteries can be bought used at very reasonable rates. My son had to buy a few on my 04 PRius but it has many many miles on it. He says it is the best car he has ever owned. I just bought a 17 Rav4 hybrid and a 17 PRius. PRius averages over 50 [out of the mountains]. Rav4 hybrid is averaging 30-35mpg. Hope the new crv hybrid will come close to the rav4.

  • avatar

    @revOlver and Rday,

    Interesting to hear what mileage your Rav4 Hybrids get. Of course these are awd. Your numbers are 30-35 US, which is in line with the average on Fuelly. Self-reported mileage is subject to all sorts of variation.

    For comparison my ’09 Escape Hybrid awd gets around 30 in winter and 33.4 in the summer. 33.4 is 7L/100km or 40 mpg imperial. I’m a bit surprised the Rav4 Hybrid does not beat the Escape Hybrid by more since the Rav4 presumably has a more advanced system. I guess Ford did a good job of designing their hybrid.

  • avatar

    Depending on the hybrid premium, this sounds perfect for me. My commute is almost 100% city driving and I always seem to get 4-5 mpg less that the city
    EPA estimate. On the rare occasions that I drive on the freeway, the highway mileage is equal to or better than the EPA sticker. Almost went for the Fusion hybrid, but there just wasn’t enough of the trunk left after the battery pack ate up its share of the package. I am hoping that a lot of the CRV’s battery will be under the floor and not intrude into the cargo real estate.

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