Honda CR-V hybrid adds FWD, more advanced powertrain

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Honda’s sixth-generation CR-V offers a simplified lineup featuring two well-appointed hybrid variants equipped with a new fourth-generation gasoline-electric powertrain. For the first time, front-wheel drive is offered on a CR-V hybrid variant, called the Sport, which slots in right above the base model, the gas-only CR-V EX.

Honda expects half of all CR-V buyers to opt for a hybrid model.

The new hybrid system features a refined 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine paired with two larger, more powerful electric motors mounted side-by-side instead of in-line with the engine crankshaft.

The engine combines high-pressure direct injection with multistage injection for cleaner combustion — a first of its kind for Honda’s 2.0-liter engine in North America. It can be decoupled from the hybrid powertrain and will only operate as needed depending on the battery’s charge level.

The new arrangement adds responsiveness for a sportier feel and more relaxed driving behavior on highways, according to Honda. The engine’s sustained maximum speed increases from 86 mph to 115 mph — a significant gain. Output is 204 hp, down from 212 hp, while its 247 pound-feet of torque is an improvement of 15 pound-feet.

For the first time, the new hybrid system is rated to tow, delivering a 1,000-pound hauling capacity.

Fuel efficiency also improves. Configured with front-wheel drive, the CR-V Sport is EPA-rated to achieve 43 mpg in city driving, 36 mpg on the highway and 40 mpg combined. That’s a 3 mpg improvement for city, 1 mpg for highway and 2 mpg for combined driving.

Configured with all-wheel drive, fuel efficiency for the CR-V Sport and top-of-the-line CR-V Sport Touring (all-wheel drive only) is EPA-rated at 40 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 37 mpg combined. That’s a drop of 1 mpg for highway and combined ratings, vs. the outgoing model.

Pricing for the 2023 Honda CR-V, including a $1,245 destination fee, is $32,355, an $1,800 increase, but the Sport hybrid’s starting price of $33,255 only represents a sub-$500 increase. The CR-V Sport Touring is priced at $39,045, including destination.