• Honda float will lead the Jan. 1, 2022, 133rd Rose Parade and introduce a theme of “Dream. Believe. Achieve.”
• Snapchat filter will enable viewers to build a virtual jet pack to fly over the parade route.
• 2022 Acura NSX Type S and 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport will serve as official vehicles.
Honda’s “Believe and Achieve!” float celebrates science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) education.
Honda will showcase two new road and track assets witth its “Believe and Achieve!” parade float for the 2022 133rd Rose Parade on Jan. 1.
As presenting sponsor of the Rose Parade for the 12th consecutive year, Honda hopes to inspire young people to follow their dreams. The float depicts a young girl whose dreams have taken flight with a rocket pack she designed and built through her own ingenuity and passion.
Four Honda women associates will be aboard in tribute to education supporting science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). The female engineers on the Honda float are Sue Bai, Nicole Harvel, Melanie Morimoto, and Yolanda Pate. All of whom work at Honda locations in Michigan, South Carolina, California, and Alabama. Their focus is on advanced vehicle safety research, manufacturing, and product quality.
With its North American regional headquarters in Torrance, Honda is the largest automaker in Southern California, including three R&D facilities in the Greater Los Angeles area.
The float is powered by a specially configured 3.5-liter V-6 engine from Honda.
Virtual Rose Parade Flyover
On New Year’s Day, Honda will offer parade attendees and at-home viewers the opportunity to virtually fly over the parade route using a custom Snapchat filter. The filter will enable users to embrace their inner engineer as they don a virtual helmet and goggles, assemble a jet pack, and fly over a portion of the parade route. Honda also will host parade-related content on its TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter channels.
The limited-edition 600-hp Acura NSX Type S. (Acura)
Official Parade Pace and Sound Vehicles
Pacing the 2022 Rose Parade will be the new Acura NSX Type S supercar. With the final design completed at the Acura Design Studio in Torrance, the all-wheel-drive NSX was designed and developed by Honda engineers in Raymond, Ohio, and is hand-built exclusively at the company’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio.
Only 350 of the Type S model will be produced, with 300 units destined for U.S. customers. In addition, the new paint color, Gotham Gray matte metallic, will be applied to just 70 of the 350 cars to be built.
NSX Type S MSRP pricing starts at $169,500 or $182,500 with the lightweight package, which includes carbon-ceramic brakes in one of four colors, carbon engine cover, and carbon interior trim. The light-weighting trims the total curb weight by approximately 57.8 pounds.
The 2022 Honda Passport was restyled front and rear. (Honda)
The new 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport will be the sound vehicle for the parade. The new Passport was designed at the Honda Design Studio in Torrance and developed by Honda engineers in Raymond, Ohio. The Passport is built at Honda’s Alabama Auto Plant in Lincoln, Ala.
The 2022 Honda Passport has updated front and rear styling. The appearance is new from the windshield pillars forward and includes a sculpted hood with a power bulge, squared-off nose, upright grille, and revised front fenders. At the back, a more aggressively styled rear bumper features cutouts for larger twin exhaust outlets, a tow hitch cover, and a metallic skid panel.
The unibody Passport has an independent front and rear suspension, standard 280-hp 3.5-liter V-6 engine, and nine-speed automatic transmission. The i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system is optional.
The Passport TrailSport, with standard i-VTM4 all-wheel drive, has a starting MSRP of $43,695, including the $1,225 freight charge from Lincoln, Ala.
The Honda Civic marks its 11th generation in North America with the complete redesign of the 2020 model. This stalwart economy car made its U.S. debut in 1973 amid the first oil embargo by OPEC. According to Honda, 49 years later, the Civic is the longest-running automotive nameplate in the United States.
The 2020 redesign created the most technologically advanced Civic sedan in the model’s history.
The exterior redesign is less provocative, more mature, and enduring. Inside, there is a more premium presence to the interior with smart ergonomic access to controls and switches, despite a standard 7-inch color touch screen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Safety technologies include new front air bags designed to reduce traumatic brain and neck injuries. Rear-seat side air bags are a Civic first.
The driver-assist system, known as Honda Sensing, was updated for a front wide-view camera. And the top Touring model gets new Traffic Jam Assist and Low Speed Braking Control.
The two engine choices are carryover but with improvements to increase performance, fuel efficiency, and refinement.
The redesigned dash incorporates a series of mesh panels for a clean, continuous look.
Honda Civic Overview
Four-door cars are declining in interest today, but the Honda Civic sedan has been a bread-winner model for Honda.
“Despite auto industry new vehicle sales being almost 80 percent light trucks (CUV, SUV, pickups) and last year being very negatively impacted by COVID-19, we still sold over 260,000 Civics in 2020,” said Honda spokesman Carl Pulley in an email.
More than 12 million Civics have been sold since 1973. That legacy makes it one of the top three best-selling passenger cars in America, Honda says.
Civic remains the No. 1 vehicle in the industry with Millennials, Gen Z, first-time and multicultural buyers, Pulley said. “It serves as one of the primary gateways to the Honda brand.”
As before, the Civic continues as front-wheel drive with no plan yet for all-wheel drive.
The 2020 Civic Hatchback will be built in the U.S. for the first time, with production to begin later this year at Honda’s Greensburg, Ind. auto plant. The sedan is built in Allison, Ontario, Canada.
Industry sources say the new sedan and hatchback will be followed by the sporty Si and high-performance Type R.
Sedans competing with the Honda Civic include the Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Mazda 3, Subaru Impreza, and Toyota Corolla.
The interior styling follows the “Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum” approach.
Honda Civic Redesign
In designing the 11th-generation Civic, the stylists and engineers focused on the original Honda design approach of “Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum.”
The pulled-back windshield pillars, low hood, flat dashboard, and hidden windshield wipers enable a windshield with clearly defined corners for a panoramic view.
Key to the Civic’s exterior redesign was moving the bottom of the windshield pillars rearward by nearly 2 inches. The revision elongates the hood for a premium silhouette. Honda says it is a subtle design element that emphasizes the wheels and tires for a stable, planted stance.
The fabric-vinyl upholstery is neatly stitched and the seats are supportive.
Dimensions and body structure
By size, the 2022 model is 1.3 inches longer (184 inches) but the same width and height as before, 70.9/55.7 inches.
Curb weights are up by 106 to 114 pounds across the trim levels. And trunk space was trimmed by just 0.3 cubic feet, but it is still significant at 14.8 cubic feet.
The body structure is the most rigid in Civic history, Honda says. The stiffer structure aids ride quality, reduces interior noise, and sharpens suspension response for better handling. In addition, a slightly wider rear track (0.5-inch) enhances stability.
All Civics have a 7-inch (shown) or 9-inch touch screen.
Honda Civic Pricing
The Honda Civic has a choice of two four-cylinder engines in four front-wheel-drive trim levels of LX, Sport, EX 1.5, and Touring 1.5. All models have a continuously variable automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is not offered.
Starting prices range from $22,695 for the base LX with the 2.0-liter engine to $29,295 for the Touring 1.5. All MSRP pricing includes the $995 freight charge from Allison, Ontario, Canada.
Civic Sport 2.0L
The Sport model has a more aggressive exterior and interior styling and a Sport mode with paddle shifters.
The Sport is well equipped. Highlights of its standard equipment include smart-entry locking with push-button ignition, electric parking brake, eight-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto infotainment, sport pedals, automatic high beams, LED headlights and taillights, and 18-inch alloy wheels with 235/40 all-season tires
The Sport trim adds gloss-black side mirrors, 18-inch wheels, and chrome exhaust tips.
Powertrains and Fuel Economy
The standard engine is a 158-horsepower, 2.0-liter. The uplevel engine is a 180-hp, turbocharged and direct-injected 1.5-liter. Both engines run on 87 octane fuel and all models have a 12.4-gallon tank.
All Civic sedans use a continuously variable transmission, with paddle shifters for the Sport and Touring trim levels. There is no six-speed manual for the sedan, but a stick shift will be available for the upcoming hatchback model.
The EX 1.5 Turbo model is the mileage champ. It has EPA fuel-economy ratings of 33 mpg city, 42 highway and 36 mpg combined.
Next in line is the entry LX model at 31/40/35 mpg followed by the Touring 1.5 Turbo at 31/38/34 mpg and then the Sport 2.0L at 30/37/33 mpg.
In my week of testing a Sport 2.0L, the best average fuel economy I could manage was 30.1 to 30.6 mpg, but it was consistent from town to highway.
The base engine is a 158-horsepower, 2.0-liter.
Honda Civic Safety Features
The 2022 Honda Civic sedan can boast what Honda calls the world’s first application of front driver and passenger air bags designed to reduce traumatic brain and neck injuries.
The new design better controls head motions, Honda says. The driver’s air bag is donut-shaped to cradle and hold the head to reduce rotation. The passenger-side air bag uses a three-chamber design for a similar result.
Side impact protection was improved throughout. There are stiffer structures in the roof and doors, side sills and door pillars, rear wheel arches and rear window pillars.
There are a total of 10 air bags.
The Sport model is technologically equipped for Level 2 semi-autonomous driving. The Honda Sensing system integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigating Braking, Lane-Keeping Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, Traffic Jam Assist, Vehicle Stability Assist.
When activated, the system consistently keeps the car centered between the white lines. And, in my experience, there were no random shutoffs or alarming audible alerts.
Honda Civic Interior Function
Honda applies the “Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum” approach to interior design. The focus is on “exceptional visibility, intuitive ergonomics, extraordinary passenger volume, and driver-focused technology.”
The approach works quite well and provides open sightlines over the shoulder and across the hood. New owners will discover the smart ergonomics in several areas, including the comfortably angled door-side armrests and window controls. Large visors slide, and there is a deep center armrest box.
High-quality materials are visible throughout the interior, especially on touch points. Special attention was given to the refined operation of switchgear and controls. And all trim levels have a new front seat design that holds firmly without extreme side and bottom bolstering.
There are numerous areas for small-item storage, including the door panels that can accommodate large bottles. The 7-inch touch-screen display includes buttons for volume and radio tuning.
The AC and vent controls also include dials to easily adjust temp, fan speed, and vent directions. Also rewarding is the wide span of vent flow along the face of the dashboard; prominent finger controls make it easy to readjust the airflow.
The shift console is slim but functional with large cup holders and an e-bin with a charging USB and 180-watt 12-volt plug. But despite all of the Civic Sport’s advanced technologies, wireless charging is only available with the top-line Touring model. And with multiple tries, I was unable to sync my iPhone for hands-free talking.
The top-line Civic Sedan Touring debuts a new 9-inch color touch screen and digital color instrument display. The 10.2-inch high-def panel is customizable and can be configured to show traditional round gauges or bar graphs.
There is room in the door panel for large bottles.
Back Seat and Trunk Space
The Civic redesign attempts to make the most of back-seat roominess, but it is still a compact space.
The rear legroom of 37.4 inches is long for a small car. But the headroom of 37.1 inches will be restrictive to growing teenagers or business colleagues.
Trunk space of nearly 15 cubic feet has plenty of reach to the back seat. The trunk entry point is wide at 37 inches, but the 18-inch access opening will restrict big-box items. Fold the seatback to carry items up to about 6 feet in length.
Back seat legroom is long at 37.4 inches. Fold the back seat for up to 6 feet in length.
Civic Sport Ride and Handling
The Civic Sport ride quality is taut but not harsh. It handles well enough, but its sportiness is more in styling than performance.
The continuously variable transmission is dutiful and primed for fuel economy. Unfortunately, it also provokes engine noise on hard acceleration. Sport mode cranks up the shift response to simulate shift points, but it was almost too much enthusiasm for around-town driving.
The car rides low and the chin scrapes on driveways. In the hope of avoiding the cringeworthy occurrence, I’d make wide-angled turns into my driveway. But that only caused a scrape to the right-front alloy wheel — which was another cringeworthy moment. In my weak defense, the 18-inch Goodyear Eagle Sport all-season tires fit right to the edge of the wheel.
The Goodyears, too, have a hard treadwear rating of 560, which I blame for the maelstrom of tire noise inside the cabin at Interstate speeds.
The 18-inch tire-and-wheel package pushed the turning circle to a wide 38.1 feet versus 36.1 feet with the 16- or 17-inch wheels.
Four-wheel-disc braking is by 11.1-inch vented rotors at the front with solid 10.2-inch rotors at the rear.
The trunk has 14.8 cubic feet of capacity.
Why Buy the Honda Civic?
The Honda Civic’s 2020 redesign is a remarkable improvement for refinement and premium presentation. The interior is as accommodating as it can get for a compact sedan, and the exterior’s clean lines will be a big purchase motivator.
However, the Civic has no hybrid model and some of the competitors offer all-wheel-drive.
American Honda is fortunate that it has weathered the industrywide parts supply issues and has cars to sell. With the Sept. 1 sales report, Honda said that demand has been off the charts for all-new Civic sedan and dealers are selling cars as quickly as they are trucked in.
Honda Civic 2.0L Sport Specifications
Body style: compact, front-drive, 5-passenger 4-door sedan
Engine: 158-hp, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC with multiport injection and idle stop-start; 138 lb.-ft. at 4,200 rpm
Base price: $24,095, including $995 freight charge; price as tested $25,657.21
Options on test vehicle: Platinum White Pearl paint $395; HPD Kit of front, side, and rear underbody spoilers, decklid spoiler and HPD emblem $1,417.80; Honda Genuine Accessories of a gloss black H-mark, Civic, and Sport emblems $144.41
Take a look at the handsomely redesigned 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback with its claimed Euro-inspired exterior. The fresh styling smooths the loud angles, vents, and peaks of the previous hatchback. The new speed-line stance of the 2022 model is almost luxury-class in its presence.
The 2022 hatchback builds on the same styling as the new Honda Civic sedan, which has just gone on sale. In addition, the compact hatchback will be built in the U.S. for the first time at Honda’s Greensburg, Ind., plant. Production is scheduled to begin later this year, and cars are expected in dealerships in the fall.
It is no surprise that Honda aimed the Civic Hatchback at young, active buyers. The hatchback has a sportier driving character, Honda says, and will again be available with a short-throw six-speed manual transmission.
Honda debuted the 2022 Civic Hatchback during the Civic Tour “Remix” performance on the Honda Stage YouTube Channel. Watch the 51-minute video here.
The driver area has a clean design with improved outward visibility, Honda says.
Ride and handling
The hatchback’s suspension and steering were developed in Europe and fine-tuned for North America.
The rear track is wider by 0.5-inch for added stability, and the additional 1.4-inches of wheelbase help smooth out its ride quality, Honda says. In addition, new rear lower control-arm bushings promote better straight-line stability and turn-in. The new hardware also reduces noise and vibration inside the cabin. In addition, the electronic power steering has been re-tuned for better feedback and improved straight-line stability.
The suspension and steering upgrades resulted in a smoother and more precise feel in turns, Honda says. Other chassis updates include low-drag front brake calipers and low-friction wheel bearings that reduce rolling resistance.
The foundational improvements will benefit any planned higher-performing models, such as the Civic Si and Type R. But Honda will not confirm or deny future plans for those models. However, those sportier models have long been part of the Civic line.
The coupe-like profile of European sportbacks inspired the hatchback’s exterior styling, Honda says.
The Honda Civic Hatchback will be available in two engine choices for the first time. The previous model had just a turbocharged,1.5-liter four-cylinder.
Both engines will be available with a six-speed manual transmission or continuously variable automatic. The CVT was revised for improved fuel economy, and new step-shift programming simulates physical gear changes under hard acceleration.
The entry LX and Sport trim levels will have a 158-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The engine produces peak torque of 138 foot-pounds at 4,200 rpm.
A 180-hp, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder powers the EX-L and Sport Touring trims. The engine produces peak torque of 177 lb.-ft. from 1,700-4,500 rpm, also on 87 octane fuel.
Fuel economy ratings for the 2022 models have not been released, but expect the mileage to be comparable to or better than the 2021 hatchback. The base 2021 CVT model has mileage ratings of 31 mpg city, 40 highway, and 34 mpg combined on 87 octane. The six-speed manual in base models has ratings of 29/37/32 mpg city/highway/combined.
1.6-inches widened the hatchback’s cargo opening.
What’s new on the Civic Hatchback?
Lightweight composite hatch structure reduces hinge size for a clean roofline;
The enhanced structure is 19-percent stiffer in torsional rigidity;
Rear legroom was improved by nearly 1.4 inches;
The cargo opening was widened by 1.6 inches;
Boost Blue Pearl and Smoky Mauve Pearl are new paint colors.
Standard safety features in the Honda Civic Hatchback include10 air bags, including side rear-seat bags, and the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies. A new single-camera radar-based system provides a longer and wider field of view. The system also adds Traffic Jam Assist.
Honda Civic Hatchback Pricing
Pricing for the 2022 model has not been announced. However, for comparison, the 2021 Civic Hatchback has starting prices of $23,215 to $30,415, including the freight charge from Japan.
Acompletely redesigned and re-engineered 2022 Honda Civic sedan goes on sale this summer with a “thin and light” body design. With new materials and technologies, the carmaker hopes the new model will be a “breath of fresh air” in the segment.
Civic competitors included the Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Mazda 3, Subaru Impreza, and Toyota Corolla.
Four-door cars are declining in interest today, but the Honda Civic sedan is and has been a bread-winner model for Honda.
“Despite auto industry new vehicle sales being almost 80 percent light trucks (CUV, SUV, pickups) and last year being very negatively impacted by COVID-19, we still sold over 260,000 Civics in 2020,” said Honda spokesman Carl Pulley in an email.
The interior styling follows the “Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum” approach. (Honda)
As Honda’s longest-running automotive nameplate in the United States, more than 12 million Civics have been sold since 1973. That legacy makes it one of the top three best-selling passenger cars in America, said Dave Gardner, executive vice president of National Operations, American Honda Motor Co., in a statement.
Since the launch of the 10th-gen model in 2015, Civic has been the No. 1 vehicle in America with first-time buyers, millennials, Gen Z and multicultural customers, Gardner said. It has had more than 1.7 million units over the last five years.
High-touch areas feature quality materials that are fingerprint and scratch resistant. (Honda)
New Honda Civic sedan features
First all-digital LCD instrument display in the top-line Touring;
Standard 7-inch color touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto;
First Bose premium sound system with 12 speakers and wireless charging, for the Touring;
New front air bags are designed to reduce traumatic brain and neck injuries. Rear seat side air bags are a Civic first;
Updated Honda Sensing system with a front wide-view camera. The Touring model gets new Traffic Jam Assist and Low Speed Braking Control.
In designing the 11th-generation Civic, the stylists and engineers focused on the original Honda design approach of “Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum.”
The new styling seems to represent a coming of age and appears more mature, uncluttered and upscale than the previous styling.
Key to the exterior design was moving the bottom of the windshield pillars rearward by nearly 2 inches. The revised design elongates the hood for a premium silhouette, Honda said in the release. It is a subtle design element that emphasizes its wheels and tires for a stable, planted stance.
The redesigned dash incorporates a series of mesh panels to create a clean, continuous look. (Honda)
The pulled-back windshield pillars, low hood, flat dashboard and hidden windshield wipers enable a windshield with clearly defined corners for a panoramic view.
The Sport trim adds matching gloss-black side mirrors, 18-inch wheels and a chrome exhaust tip. (Honda)
Dimensions and body structure
Sizewise, the 2022 model is 1.3 inches longer (184 inches) but the same width and height, 70.9/55.7 inches, as before. Curb weights are up 106-114 pounds across the trim levels. And trunk space was trimmed by just 0.3 cubic feet, but still large at 14.8 cubic feet.
The body structure is the most rigid in Civic history, Honda says. It was improved by 8 percent in torsional rigidity and 13 percent in bending rigidity. It also reduces road and wind noise in the cabin.
The stiffer structure aids ride quality and sharpens suspension response for better handling. A slightly wider rear track (0.5-inch) also enhances stability.
As before, the Civic continues as front-wheel drive with no plan yet for AWD.
Inside, the styling follows the “Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum” approach, Honda says. The treatment emphasizes “exceptional visibility, intuitive ergonomics, extraordinary passenger volume and driver-focused technology,” Honda says.
High-quality materials are used throughout the interior, especially on touchpoints. Special attention was given to the operation of switchgear and controls. And all trim levels have a new front seat design to firmly hold the body and enhance comfort on long drives.
Materials were also chosen for practicality, such as the new center console trim that is designed to hide fingerprints and smudges.
In Sport mode, the 10.2-inch digital gauge array turns red. (Honda)
For the first time, all Civic sedan trims have either a partial or full (Touring) digital instrument display, with larger standard and available color touch screens.
LX, Sport and EX trim levels have a 7-inch color LCD instrument display. An all-digital speedometer and tachometer are on the left side of the display, with a physical speedometer dial to the right.
Touring models also get the first all-digital color instrument display for a Civic. The 10.2-inch high-def panel is customizable from the steering wheel and features several modes. The array can be configured to show traditional round gauges or bar graphs, flanking the left and right of the screen.
There also is a new multimedia 7-inch color touch screen in the LX, Sport and EX trims. It is “the largest standard screen in Civic history, Honda says.” Functionality was improved by adding a power-volume knob and a tuning-selection knob.
The top-line Civic Sedan Touring debuts a new 9-inch color touch screen. It features a physical volume knob, easy-to-recognize icons and a simplified format with fewer embedded menus.
The touch-screen systems have wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Only the Touring has Qi-compatible wireless charging.
Tire sizes range from 16- to 18-inches, with gloss-black wheels on the Sport trim (shown). (Honda)
Honda Civic sedan Powertrains
As with the outgoing Civic sedan, two four-cylinder engines make up the powertrain. The standard engine is a naturally aspirated 158-horsepower 2.0-liter. The EX and Touring trims use a 180-hp, turbocharged 1.5-liter. Both engines run on 87 octane gasoline.
Both engines are paired with an updated continuously variable automatic transmission. The CVT now gives early downshifts during braking with revised programming to simulate gear changes under hard acceleration.
Power delivery, engine sound, overall refinement were improved. And EPA fuel economy ratings of both engines are up by 1 or 2 mpgs, Honda says.
EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 2.0-liter in the LX are 31 mpg city, 40 highway and 35 mpg combined. The Sport trim has ratings of 30/37/33 mpg.
The more powerful 1.5-liter engine (up 6 hp from last model year) has mileage ratings of 33/42/36 mpg city/highway/combined.
Honda Civic sedan safety features
The 2022 Honda Civic sedan can boast what Honda calls the world’s first application of front driver and passenger air bags. The design will better control head motions and reduce conditions associated with brain injury, Honda says.
The driver’s air bag is donut-shaped to cradle and hold the head to reduce rotation. The passenger-side air bag uses a three-chamber design for a similar result. In total, there are 10 air bags.
Side impact protection has been improved throughout. There are stiffer structures in the roof and doors, side sills and door pillars, rear wheel arches and rear window pillar.
More than 12 million Civics have been sold since 1973. (Honda)
Official pricing will not be released until just before the on-sale date. But expect the 2022 Civic sedan to cost about the same as the outgoing 2021 model. It has starting prices of $22,245-$29,295, including the current freight charge of $995 from Greensburg, Ind.
There is a financing incentive on 2021 Civics (except Type R) that will run through July 6, 2021. That is likely the cutoff date before the 2022 model goes on sale. Qualified buyers can take advantage of 1.9 percent APR for 24-60 months or 2.9 percent for 61-72 months, with a 10 percent down payment.
The outgoing 2021 Civic sedan. (Honda)
Industry sources say the new sedan will be followed by the Civic hatchback, sporty Si and high-performance Type R.
The Honda CR-V hits a sweet spot of wholesomeness among compact SUV crossovers. It is poised, comfortable and rich in clever engineering and function. And this year, the automaker raised its relevance with a gasoline-electric hybrid model, making it the most powerful and fuel-efficient CR-V in the lineup.
Launched in 1997, the CR-V has brought Honda 5 million sales and is currently the No. 2 retail-selling SUV in America, Honda says. With nearly 15 percent of compact CUV sales, the CR-V also has some of the lowest incentives in the segment and Honda’s focus on retail sales over fleet can mean a higher resale value for the customer.
CR-V Hybrid Powertrain
The CR-V Hybrid is Honda’s fourth gasoline-electric model (along with the Accord, Insight and Clarity sedans) and among just two mainstream hybrid competitors in the class of small SUVs: the Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4.
But its hybrid powertrain is a variation on those used by the competitors. Their more common “parallel hybrid” system uses the gasoline engine to assist the electric motors and hybrid battery.
Honda uses a two-motor hybrid system that is more electric in its application by using one motor to power a motor-generator that powers the CR-V while the other motor acts as a generator-starter. It has reduced complexity and frictional losses, Honda says, because there is no conventional transmission.
The system can operate as either a series or parallel hybrid. The gasoline engine, electric generator-motor and electric propulsion motor work together routing power through the single-speed direct-drive transmission. It is a relatively lightweight and compact system that spends more time in EV-only mode, Honda says, which results in higher city fuel efficiency.
The powertrain integrates a 143-horsepower, 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder with a 181-hp permanent-magnet propulsion motor for a combined 212 hp. Total foot-pounds of torque totals 232 lb.-ft., with peak pull from 0-2,000 rpm. (That compares to the gas model’s turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder with 190-hp and 179 lb.-ft. torque from 2,000-5,000 rpm.)
The majority of the time, the CR-V Hybrid operates as a series hybrid. Its 181-horsepower propulsion motor drives the wheels while the gasoline engine (connected to the electric generator-starter motor) functions as an onboard electrical generator, supplying power to the hybrid battery and the propulsion motor.
The system manages power by shifting through three drive modes — EV Drive (electric only), Hybrid Drive (series hybrid) and Engine Drive (parallel hybrid). The system automatically selects the best mode for the conditions with no input from the driver.
Depending on the state of battery charge, the hybrid system applies the usual hybrid assets of auto stop-start at idle, regenerative braking and steering-wheel paddle shifters to increase downhill braking regeneration in four increments of resistance.
The powertrain integrates a 143-horsepower, 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder with a 181-hp permanent-magnet propulsion motor for a combined 212 hp.
The drive modes
EV Drive: All-electric driving occurs when starting from a stop, during light cruising and acceleration, and when braking. The gasoline engine is off when in EV Drive mode and is decoupled from the drivetrain to reduce friction; power is supplied by the 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Hybrid Drive: Operating as a series hybrid, the system uses the electric propulsion motor with the gasoline engine to supply electricity through the generator motor to the propulsion motor, and it helps charge the battery.
Engine Drive: During light-load cruising, the Atkinson-cycle engine provides propulsion, sending power directly to the drive wheels. This allows the hybrid system to use the gasoline engine and, if needed, the electric propulsion motor to boost power.
Drivers can monitor their driving via the power-flow meter.
CR-V Hybrid Fuel Economy
The CR-V Hybrid has fuel-economy estimates of 40 mpg city, 35 highway and 38 mpg combined, on the recommended 87 octane. (The gasoline CR-V with AWD has ratings of 27/32/29 mpg.) The 14-gallon fuel tank provides a good range and is the same size for gas or hybrid models.
My mileage average had been stuck at 33.4 mpg with much highway driving, but when I spent more in-town driving, the rating climbed quickly to 34 mpg. It likely would have gone higher with more in-town driving, but whether it would reach 38 mpg is a question owners can answer.
The two gasoline-electric hybrid competitors have slightly better EPA mileage ratings — 43/37/40 for the Escape AWD and 41/38/40 mpg for the RAV4 AWD.
But there is enough about the CR-V to overlook a few miles per gallon difference that can be made up with careful driving.
CR-V Hybrid Pricing
The CR-V Hybrid is sold in four trim levels, same as the gasoline-powered model: LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring.
With standard all-wheel drive, starting prices range from $28,970 to $37,170, including the $1,120 freight charge from Greensburg, Ind. Depending on trim level, the CR-V Hybrid is $1,200-$2,320 more than the comparable gas model.
Standard Hybrid features include automatic climate control and automatic high beams, LED headlights, smart locking and push-button ignition, and a cargo roller cover.
Currently, the CR-V has a $500 customer loyalty offer for lease or purchase and other Honda offers are here.
The shift-by-wire gear selector is flanked on the right by driver-selectable drive modes.
The top-line Hybrid Touring tester included such extras as leather-trimmed upholstery, nine-speaker audio system (with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto), wireless phone charger, heated seats and steering wheel, 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat (but just four-way adjustable for the front passenger), power moonroof and 19-inch alloy wheels with Continental CrossContact LX Sport all-season touring tires.
In addition to six air bags, new this year is the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies, standard on all CR-Vs (and soon to be integrated on all Hondas). The suite includes Collision Mitigation Braking with Forward Collision Warning and pedestrian sensing capability; Road Departure Mitigation with Lane Departure Warning; Adaptive Cruise Control with low-speed follow; lane Keeping Assist.
Honda’s warranty coverage is 3 years or 36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper (with roadside assistance) and 5 years or 60,000 miles for the powertrain. Hybrid components are covered for 8 years or 100,000 miles.
The Hybrid model gets special attention for soundproofing. There is thicker insulation on the hood, dash and firewall, and additional sound-absorbing materials are used in the front wheel wells. The Active Noise Cancellation feature in the audio system reduces low-frequency booming at lower engine speeds.
Around town, the cabin environment is calmed with the whirring tone of the electrified sound machine when in EV Drive. On the highway, there is more wind and road noise, likely due to the ride height and tires.
The Touring model includes a power moonroof.
CR-V Hybrid Ride and Handling
The Hybrid’s driving experience will feel very much like the standard model, but with a more direct acceleration force. The regenerative braking engages with consistent pedal force, which in some systems can feel like an abrupt on-off switch at low speeds.
The direct-drive transmission is CVT-like in its mission but without the rubber-banding of power on takeoff.
The suspension was tightened to support the added 200 pounds of electrification components, raising the curb weight to 3,708 pounds. But the ride quality is uncommonly supple for a small SUV. It is not sport-tuned, but there is enough control and tire patch for enthusiastic carpooling or evasive maneuvers.
The turning circle is modest at 37.4 feet, curb to curb (compared to 39 feet in the Escape or 36.1 in the RAV4).
The elements of the Honda Sensing allow near Level 2 semi-autonomous driving. Though it is technically just an assist system, requiring hands on the steering wheel, the lane-keeping calibrations keep the CR-V well centered in the lane. Other such systems can allow the vehicle to drift across the lines — and then the system chides the driver with alarm tones for not paying attention.
The 19-inch tires and wheels on the hybrid model.
The rest of the CR-V experience is Honda tidy, enhanced by smart engineering.
The upright cabin structure provides uncomplicated sightlines over the hood and over the shoulder. The leather-trimmed upholstery is high quality and soft to the touch with perforated centers for breathability.
The doors open a few degrees farther (than some mainstream vehicles) to ease entry and exit; and the back-seat doors open to nearly right angles, which is a huge help in loading toddlers in car seats.
The driver area is well focused for eyes-on-the-road access to controls. But there is room for improvement in the touch screen access. While the screen is reasonably large at 10 ¾ inches wide by 5 ¼ inches deep, the actual viewing area is much smaller. The image for the rearview camera, for example, is just 5 inches wide by 3 ¼ inches deep, but it includes wide angle and curb views.
Interior materials have a quality appearance and have manicured assembly.
Headroom of 38.8 inches with the sunroof (40.1 inches without) should accommodate most tall drivers, particularly with the Touring’s 12-way power driver seat. (Honda should at least provide a six-way seat, adding height adjustment, for the front-seat passenger, rather than just a four-way seat.)
Because the gear-shift lever has been replaced with a drive-by-wire button grouping (and easy to use), the floor console is put to more efficient use. The sliding-top armrest console has two-level storage, with a sliding shelf above the box, which has a 12-volt plug. The wireless charging pad is in clear sight and easy reach, with adjacent 1.5- and 1.0-amp USBs. Large visors slide and have large lighted and covered vanity mirrors.
CR-V Hybrid Back Seat
There should be few complaints from those in the back seats, which seem to have more support and padding than others in the segment. The rear leg room is long at 40.4 inches and the seatbacks recline about 2 inches. The transmission tunnel is very low for more comfortable three-across seating when necessary. And there are two 2.5-amp charging USBs. The wide fold-down armrest has a pair of cup-can holders with generous bottle storage in the doors.
CR-V Hybrid Cargo Capacity
The CR-V Hybrid loses some cargo capacity due to the placement of the hybrid battery under the floor, where a spare tire would go. And while it eliminates the two-level cargo floor and spare tire (and adds a tire-inflator system) there is still a lot of hauling space. The liftgate opening is 42 inches wide and 33 inches tall with a depth of 38 inches or up to 6 feet with the 60/40 seatback folded. There’s good access for bicycles and other large and awkward parcels. Extras include two seatback-release handles, two side lights and a standard roller cover.
Why buy the Honda CR-V Hybrid?
The basic gasoline-electric hybrid is a no-brainer experience of shift into Drive and go. The CR-V system applies some driver-selectable modes to squeeze more mpgs when fuel economy is the goal. I found it engaging to use the regen and other modes to recover lost tenths of a mile.
While there is a line of accessories and a couple of optional wheel styles, I like that the starting price is the as-tested price. There are no other factory option packages to add. And while the Touring is the loaded choice, the EX-L is close in its content at a cost savings of $3,200.
A big separator for the CR-V Hybrid is its fundamental goodness and refinement that reinforce a perception of long-term quality and durability.
The CR-V Hybrid has such style separators as unique front and rear bumper designs, rectangular five-element LED fog lights, and a blue Honda badge on the grille. (Honda)
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Specifications
Body style: compact, 5-passenger, 5-door AWD sport-utility
Engine: 143 hp 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 129 foot-pounds of torque at 3500 rpm
Propulsion motor: 181-hp, AC synchronous permanent-magnet; 232 lb.-ft. torque from 0-2,000 rpm
Front head/leg room: 38.8*/41.3 in. *40.1 inches, w/o sunroof
Rear head/leg room: 39.1/40.4 in.
Length/wheelbase: 182.1/104.7 in.
Curb weight: 3,7008 lbs.
Turning circle: 37.4 ft.
Towing capacity: not recommended
Standard equipment includes: keyless locking and push-button ignition, leather-trimmed upholstery, power moonroof, multi-view rearview camera, 12-way power driver’s seat with 4-way lumbar, 4-way power front passenger seat, heated front seats, 7-inch touch-screen display audio, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, 9-speaker audio system, wireless phone charging pad, automatic high beams, active noise cancellation, LED fog lights, power (heated) side mirrors with turn signals, conversation mirror with sunglasses storage, locking glove box, floor mats, hands-free power tailgate, walk-away auto lock, cargo area lights and roller cover, 60/40 folding back seat, 19-inch alloy wheels
Safety features include: 6 air bags; Collision Mitigation Braking with Forward Collision Warning and pedestrian sensing capability; Road Departure Mitigation with Lane Departure Warning; Adaptive Cruise Control with low-speed follow; lane Keeping Assist; hill-start assist; stability and traction controls; brake assist and brake-force distribution
Base price: $37,170, including $1,120 freight charge; price as tested $37,070
Joe Michaud has covered motorcycles for the San Diego Union-Tribune and print magazines for nearly 10 years.
Through the decade, he road tested new releases and attended all things bike-related in the SoCal region.
Presently, his garage includes a 1966 Triumph Bonneville, a ’68 Triumph TR6R, and a 2004 BMW 1150RT. Over the years, he has owned, borrowed, ridden, and wrenched (often successfully) on an eclectic collection of technology. Currently, he is depleting his savings on 1960s Brit bikes.
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