Honda will finally bring a hybrid version of its best-selling CR-V to Canada, and it will arrive in dealerships later this year. It will follow the launch of the sixth-generation of the CR-V this summer.
The hybrid will only be available at the top Touring trim level. The three lower-priced trims will keep the existing 190-horsepower, 1.5-litre turbocharged engine, updated to provide a wider power band and reduce engine noise. The all-new, two-motor hybrid system will be slightly more powerful, producing 204 horsepower and 247 pounds-feet of torque with an ability to tow up to 453 kilograms.
The Japanese auto maker did not reveal fuel consumption figures or prices, but it said it expects the new hybrid to “eventually represent about 50 per cent of sales” for the compact SUV. Honda is late to developing electrified vehicles, with the Accord Hybrid now being its only available hybrid and its upcoming Prologue all-electric crossover not set to arrive until 2024.
The current CR-V has a base price of $31,470, rising to $43,570 for the Touring edition. It’s already difficult to find on dealer lots because the worldwide shortage of computer chips is slowing production.
The new CR-V will be built at Honda’s assembly plant in Alliston, Ont., as well as at three U.S. plants in smaller numbers, alongside a yet-to-be-revealed hybrid version of the Civic. The company announced in April it will invest $1.38-billion over the next six years to upgrade the Alliston plant for producing electrified vehicles, helped by contributions from the federal and Ontario governments of $131.6-million each, with a goal of producing zero emissions by 2040.
Americans have been able to buy a built-in-USA hybrid CR-V since 2017, which produces 181 horsepower and has a fuel-consumption rating of 6.1 litres per 100 kilometres. The new hybrid uses a fourth-generation system that matches a two-litre inline-four to a pair of electric motors, mounted side-by-side. All editions will use a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that Honda says is updated to reduce noise and vibration.
The redesigned vehicle itself is now longer and wider than before, with more cabin and cargo space than previous generations. Its length is increased by almost seven centimetres and its width by one centimetre, with a wheelbase that’s four centimetres longer. Honda calls the new look “rugged and sophisticated,” with the A-pillars moved back and out and down to improve visibility for the driver.
Inside, that extra length creates an additional 1.5 centimetres of leg room for rear-seat passengers, with 1,028 litres of luggage space behind the rear seats and a rear cargo floor that lowers on the non-hybrid models for another 84 litres. Fold the rear seats flat and there’s 2,166 litres of available space.