By on September 19, 2019

A slew of changes are on the way for the Honda CR-V’s mid-cycle refresh, though you might not be able to spot them from across a parking lot. For sure, there’s the obligatory tweaks to the compact CUV’s front and rear fascia, but the big news lies in its powertrain.

There’s still a choice of two propulsion sources, just not what greeted buyers for 2019. It seems Honda’s run away with the hybrid crown for too long.

For 2020, the CR-V gains an available hybrid powertrain sourced from the Accord Hybrid. In this guise, the CR-V joins Honda’s two-motor hybrid system with a thermally-efficient Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Combined output is 212 horsepower, and yes, you can get it in AWD.

While EPA efficiency figures remain out of reach for now, Honda predicts a 50-percent hike in city fuel economy. This vehicle, as well as Ford’s returning Escape Hybrid, could spell big trouble for Toyota’s segment-leading RAV4 Hybrid.

You’ll be able to tell the Hybrid apart from its gas-only brethren by a blue Honda logo, trim-specific bar-type foglights, a hidden tailpipe, and boastful bodyside badging. Three drive modes (Econ, Sport, and EV) and a special driver information display greet Hybrid drivers; a low-speed warning sound will be audible to pedestrians when you’re in electric-only mode. How fast a driver can go in this mode, and for how long, remains to be seen.

Regular CR-Vs gain round foglights fully integrated into the bumper, underscored by a curving length of chrome, but don’t expect to see the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder make a return appearance. For 2020, the 184 hp, 180 lb-ft mill gives way to a standard turbo 1.5-liter across the non-hybrid trim range.

The 1.5L makes 190 hp and 179 lb-ft, sent to either the front or all four wheels via a continuously variable automatic.

Further changes can be found at each corner. For 2020, redesigned 18-inch wheels become the norm on EX, EX-L, and Hybrid trims, with the top-flight Touring gaining 19-inch hoops. Inside, the only standard alteration is a redesigned console storage bin. As you move up the trim ladder, niceties mount, though all CR-Vs contain Honda’s Collision Mitigation Braking System with Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and pedestrian sensing capability, Road Departure Mitigation  with Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with low-speed follow, and Lane Keeping Assist.

Features like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and auto high beams are not standard kit, but they’re available for those who can’t live without full peace of mind.

Arriving later this fall (CR-V) and early next year (CR-V Hybrid), the refreshed model does not yet carry a list of price tags. Expect these to roll out closer to the on-sale date.

[Images: Honda]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

33 Comments on “Honda Kicks Base Engine to the Curb, Adds Hybrid for 2020 CR-V...”

  • avatar

    Not really caring much about the CR-V I was hoping that the only non-hybrid option would be the 2.0T. A pity.

    I should pass this along to my assistant principal. Her husband and her both drive 3rd gen CR-Vs. Freaks me out a little when a couple owns 2 of the same vehicle, especially of the same generation.

    • 0 avatar

      Not as unusual as you think, I’ve known families to own 3 of the same Camrys. Some people aren’t all that adventurous.

      • 0 avatar
        cimarron typeR

        neighbor behinds us owns 2 black Passats. Thats alot of black vinyl.

      • 0 avatar

        Father in law bought my wife her 2012 Camry SE 2.5 new when she was entering medical school. Then bought himself a lightly used 2013 Camry XLE Hybrid a few years later to replace a 2009 Prius. Ended up handing that Camry to his younger daughter a year after buying it because she needed something newer when she graduated. Bought himself a low mileage ’13 ES300h with that same exact drivetrain. Their other car? a 2013 Rav4 Limited. That’s a lot of Toyota 2.5s in one family!

    • 0 avatar

      It always surprises me when families don’t think they have a use for multiple types of vehicle. Throughout the entire part of my married life when we’ve had 2+ cars, they’ve been optimized for very different missions, although the exact missions have changed along with the circumstances of our lives.

      We’d lose lots of capability if we swapped either of our cars for another example of the other one.

      • 0 avatar

        It always surprises me when families don’t think they have a use for multiple types of vehicle…

        Yes this.

        I bought my latest ride to be able to have a little fun on my commute AND gobble up the miles when I have to travel for work AND be able to haul the entire families luggage when the need arises. If my wife had the big SUV/CUV she wants then the luggage priority would have been non existent. Naturally this likely would have lead to a different choice in vehicle.

        My wife replaced her 2005 Vibe with a 2016 Terrain (back in 2016) because it better fit her lifestyle while remaining within her budget.

        I understand the guy who has been replacing his Camry with another Camry since the 1990s but having a mono-spec driveway always leaves me scratching my head.

    • 0 avatar

      So, Dan…this is a question unrelated to cars, but I thought I’d tap your experience as a principal. It’s about my daughter, who’s an elementary school teacher.

      The good news is that she got her first teaching gig. When she got the job, the offer came quick, and it was for a good ten grand more per year than any of the other jobs she was looking at. The school is Title 1, and to be kind, it’s got some challenges.

      She has a few VERY disruptive and verbally abusive kids in her class. The school has a bullying policy that involves “escalating” the problem to a counselor and the principal, but neither party does anything about it aside from lip service about “loving them more,” and nonsense like that. Her school basically doesn’t allow her to send kids to the office – they end up switched around from classroom to classroom, where they proceed to ruin other teachers’ classes as well.

      Bottom line is that these kids are de facto preventing learning from happening in her classroom, but administration isn’t doing anything about it. The kid in question even kicked my daughter in the shin, which was reported as well, and nothing was done. She just had parent/teacher conferences, and one of the bullied kid’s parents has told her that the kid basically doesn’t want to go to school anymore. My daughter said she’d escalate the matter to administration, which didn’t do much of anything about it.

      And – here’s the kicker – apparently the principal is known to blackball and fire teachers for going “up the chain” on her.

      This is completely different than the district my kids went to, by the way – my youngest daughter was bullied, and there was a process whereby the offender ended up hauled to the office in with their parents and required to sign a restraining order, with the understanding that they’d end up dealing with a sheriff’s deputy in their living room if the order wasn’t followed. This s**t was NOT swept under the rug in that district, and in the district my daughter teaches in, this appears to be the case on a school-by-school basis, but not in the school she teaches in.

      My only thought was that perhaps the principal has no idea what she’s doing, or just wants to pass the buck and collect a paycheck. I simply can’t conceive of any school letting this crap go on. If I was a parent at that school, I’d report it to the local media. It’s that bad.

      The kid’s completely demoralized about all this. She’s a great teacher, but this makes her want to get out of education altogether, which she shouldn’t.

      Any advice on how to work this? She seems to think the best move is to just play the game until she can switch to a less dysfunctional school next year, but that really shortchanges the kids, who desperately need a good teacher (again, it’s a Title 1 school).


      • 0 avatar

        Do they have a union in her district?

        If so become a member (makes it easier to protest decisions) I was a member of my local until I became part of “management” and not allowed to be in the organization. I believe in my heart that “management v unions” should exist to keep the two sides honest.

        Document document document. From the write ups to even scripting out the kids behavior at the end of the day. “At 10:40 am Billy…”

        If things are in writing it can be proved that the Administrators was retaliatory or not. Don’t hesitate to email after meetings. “Ms. Jones just checking to see that per our meeting today you are saying that I need to love him more?”

        Research the school districts policies on employee transfer because I’m sure her talents are needed somewhere. We don’t exactly have applicants coming out of our ears in this profession.

        If her college transcripts have at least 26 credit hours of English/Language Arts/Communication on them I’m looking for a Teacher of the Gifted. ;-)

        • 0 avatar

          She did join the union, and I figured that might be a move as well. If she goes to them strictly for info on how to handle this, what happens – is it confidential, or does it end up back on the principal’s desk? We want to avoid the principal knowing – she plays games, apparently.

          My other thought was emailing the parents of the kids who are complaining about bullying, and copying in the principal and counselor. Ask the parent to give specifics on the bullying to administration, and then directing it back to the administrators to guide the parent as to what the procedure is. That follows the chain of command, puts the discipline policy on record to the parent, and puts it back on the adminstrators to handle it from there. It also gives the parent hard proof of what administration promised to do.

          And she is definitely documenting everything. I told her to follow up with emails as well…and print them off at home, where they can be stored. Learned that lesson the hard way (long, long story).

          • 0 avatar

            Don’t address the families unless she has proof that she has been going through the proper channels and gotten no where. Going to families would actually be better off the record and perhaps have them work the parent-school personnel complaint process. It might be stronger and better than the internal one.

            As an example in my district you have to demonstrate that as a family you talked to the building admin. If you don’t get satisfaction you make a written complaint to central office and from there you get a written response.

            I actually encourage her to become familiar with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (if such a thing exists) – it will detail things like the complaint and or grievance process.

            She’ll have to check with her Union Rep about how things are handled. If the management/union have a good relationship there should be away for the union to tip off central authorities to “we’re hearing some troubling things about what’s going on at ______ and we need you to dig into it.”

            That might be the only way to keep her name out of it.

          • 0 avatar

            Good suggestions, thanks!

            I think she’s going to focus on keeping her head down and doing her job, and finding something else come next fall. A lot depends on how good she is at hiding her feelings – unfortunately, she takes after her old man in that department, and I’m not good at “faking it until you make it.”

    • 0 avatar

      We have someone in our neighborhood not only with the same CRV, but the exact same apparent year and color. That’s just…. weird.
      Like some have said down-thread, our family has a truck and a commute car. We plan to also have a comfort car/CUV at some point as we did before. 3 vehicles each with a different use case and purpose. It just makes sense.

    • 0 avatar

      Anything to put behind the Honda Earth Dreams 1.5t fuel dilution problems.

  • avatar

    “don’t expect to see the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder make a return appearance.”

    Considering some of the reported issues with the 1.5t both in the US and abroad, I’m not sure the elimination of the NA 2.4 is good news.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. That’s the only CRV I’d buy right now. The K24 is a fantastic engine with an impeccable track record. Arguably one of the best overall mainstream 4cyl motors made.

      • 0 avatar

        The hybrid’s gas engine is a K20 variant and it doesn’t have a conventional transmission. It ought to be anxiety-free.

      • 0 avatar

        I was wondering if this meant that the CR-V gets added to the Honda sludgemobile list.

      • 0 avatar

        @gtem long time listener first time caller. Big fan.

        The thing that worries me being a K24W engine owner is the GDI carbon build up and now the oil dilution. The carbon build up the online forums seem to tell the tale that it is not as bad as the EA VW engines, but still can happen. The oil dilution I did not think was a thing till I saw this (at this time code): Yeah; Scotty has some clickbait and I think he is conflating the L15B7 in the newer CR-V, Civic, and Accord but I smelt my oil dipstick on my 2017 Accord the other day after watching that and it did have some gasoline smell; maybe just confirmation bias… Gonna take a sample and send it to Blackstone Labs for analysis.

        But the Accord is a 2nd car for fun so not the end of the world. If those are two real issues. The VTEC crack at 4800 rpm with the 6mt almost makes it worth it.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes I’d say a oil sample analysis is well worth the cost to get a feel for where things are at. A quick googling lead me right to a BITOG forum discussion about this very issue unfortunately. I hadn’t considered that the 1.5T oil dilution issue would very well effect the K24 since that too is DI these days (and has been since 2013). I wonder whether Honda’s strategy to delay intake valve closing in an attempt to expose valves to an extra bit of fuel mist (to keep carbon at bay) is what’s actually in turn the cause of excess fuel ending up on the cylinder walls and in turn in the oil? Just a theory.

          I’d say do more aggressive oil changes and you can keep any excessive wear issues at bay for a long time.

          • 0 avatar

            Yeah; that is my thought; ~$28 easy choice.
            Ha. Yeah that is what I found and was thinking. The valve overlap and longer time open to get some Top Tier gas wash on those valves could be leading to another issue (vicious cycle). Makes you wonder why not just stick with port injection (if CAFE was not giving reason to push for the boot in as new MPG etc.)

            See; that is the other thing. Some have said do not change oil frequently because that can lead to more GDI build up, but I do not buy that; Armchair experts (granted that is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black).

            But it gets stored for the winter and only sees ~3k miles a year so it’s OCI is already at 3k; so fingers crossed.

          • 0 avatar

            WIth only 3k a year OCIs and warm weather use only, I wouldn’t even sweat it. But yes an oil analysis would still be interesting!

          • 0 avatar


            Not sure if you are even still flowing this thread. However, it seems like you are are always keeping a mental (hey maybe even physical… shrug) list of vehicles and powertrains you trust. So I thought I would share the oil analysis results. Just got them back today after changing the oil before storing the car at the start of last month before leaving on some work travel.

            From the summary from Blackstone:
            “The metals all tested well compared to the averages for this engine type. Of course,
            some of that is related to this being a short interval (2,154) compared to the average 7,800-mile interval we see from these engines, but there’s a well-wearing engine to thank too. The low flashpoint shows a bit of fuel in the oil, but not enough to worry about, and no other contamination was found. You’re off to a great start at 10,662 miles.”

            Data point values of my unit:
            Fuel = 1.0%
            Flashpoint = 365 *F
            Water = 0%
            Insolubles = 0.2%

            Blackstone averages unit/location:
            Fuel = <2.0%
            Flashpoint = 385 *F
            Water = 0%
            Insolubles = <0.6%

            So it would appear that the K24W EarthDreams does have some fuel dilution, but nothing that is too serious. Something I guess I would rather have a minute % of versus the alternative of the carbon buildup without the extra fuel and valve overlap Honda is doing for GDI.

            When I got the oil changed (having the dealer do the first services while still in warranty (runs out in March 2020) (with Mobil 1) I supply I asked the Service Writer about how much carbon buildup they see with he K24W units. He said they have not had any they personally recall with well maintained vehicles. Internet forums back this up as far as I can tell.

            I also made a quip when I asked about collecting the oil sample during the drain to the effect of " do not worry I am not a 1.5T engine customer and if it has oil dilution I do not care, not going to raise hell or badger you" they just smiled and said I can get the sample. Probably helps I brought them donuts from the local bakery.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Wish the Touring offered ventilated seats as it’s price is approaching the upper $30k range. Glad the hybrid is here.

  • avatar

    UGH. More booting of N/A engines. BS trend. Also not digging that cladding it looks like the crap cheap cladding they put on modded vans for handicapped folks.

  • avatar

    Perhaps Honduh needs to hire some designers with working eyes. This company continues to build some of the ugliest stuff out there. And Honduh buyers have neither sight nor intelligence – obviously looks mean nothing to them.

  • avatar

    Ah, that “Honda Dash”. It alone worth to skip this

  • avatar

    Not a fan of the dash/instrument cluster. Looks like a gaming console. Can we have analog gauges back please?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Good to see the addition of hybrids to the CRV but I agree with others that the design of the newer CRVs are ugly and I am not a fan of digital dashes. I would be more interested in a hybrid than a turbo. Will keep our 2013 CRV.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Inside Looking Out: It will produce too much greenhouse gases.
  • EBFlex: “ Like I said…call me when you really can’t buy a gas powered car anymore. I’ll probably be dead by then,...
  • Jeff S: I miss the manuals as well but it is getting harder to find them. For now I am content with what I have and...
  • Jeff S: Some people would definitely get a charge out of an electric Charger. Will this Charger be wireless?
  • Jeff S: If I were picking 1 of these 3 cars I would pick the Challenger even though I have reservations about...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber