2024 Honda CR-V Hybrid Review and Test Drive
Choose the 2024 CR-V Hybrid for its looks and added power, not gas mileage.
Honda has nearly perfected the compact crossover SUV. The 2024 Honda CR-V is roomy and comfortable for four people 一 but can fit five, offers plenty of cargo space, and has a design that should age well. In addition, the performance is decent, the ride is agreeable, and the handling is secure. Not only that, but the 2024 CR-V is also safe, efficient, and meets modern technological expectations. Plus, the prices are reasonable, even if this Honda isn't the best deal in its class.
Yet the CR-V might be too good, refined to the point that it lacks a personality, which makes it an automotive appliance.
Honda last redesigned the CR-V in 2023, offering it in four trim levels (a lower-priced LX trim joined the lineup halfway through 2023). Two distinctly different powertrains are available, including a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a more efficient and powerful hybrid powertrain. Last year, I reviewed the turbocharged CR-V EX-L and suggested the hybrid was likely the better CR-V to buy.
Now, I'm not so sure.
2024 Honda CR-V Hybrid Prices Reflect a Premium
The 2024 Honda CR-V Hybrid comes in Sport, Sport-L, and Sport Touring trim levels. The CR-V Sport-L is new for 2024, adding a leather interior, a larger touchscreen infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a wireless smartphone charger, and better stereo speakers to the Sport trim.
The base prices range from the mid-$30,000s to the low $40,000s, including the destination charge to ship the SUV from the U.S. or Canadian factory that builds it to your local dealership. Compare that to the pricing for the turbocharged CR-V, which spans from the low $30,000s to the mid-$30,000s.
My CR-V Hybrid Sport Touring trim test vehicle rolled off the assembly line in Alliston, Ontario, wearing Canyon River Blue paint. It had standard equipment and no options, bringing the manufacturer's suggested retail price to $41,175, including the $1,325 destination charge. Honda provided the vehicle for this CR-V review.
You'll Find Compelling Design in the Details
Modern Hondas like the 2024 CR-V combine large grilles and narrow headlights to create a technical face tinged with aggression. The look leads to clean flanks and tidy rear styling that will likely age well over time, though it isn't as expressive as the previous-generation CR-V.
Minimalism guides the interior, but upscale detailing, including air vents hidden behind a metal mesh dashboard trim strip and knurled metallic control knobs, make the CR-V look and feel like it's worth the price. Simplicity is the rule, and Honda locates the controls where you expect to find them. They're also sized and finished for ease of use.
Quality is high, too, from how the door sounds when slammed shut to the feel of the leather on the seats. The exception would be the inexpensive-looking dimpled trim running underneath the mesh. It's not fooling anybody, but I prefer it to gloss black plastic.
Impressive Comfort, With Few Exceptions
Except for two omissions, the CR-V is exceptionally comfortable. My Sport Touring test vehicle's leather-wrapped, heated front seats were soft and supportive, with orange stitching and a distinctive cushion pattern. The driver's seat offered 10-way power adjustment to help me find a perfect position behind the heated steering wheel.
So, what are the two omissions? First, you can't get ventilated front seats in the $40K+ CR-V Sport Touring. Second, the front passenger's seat doesn't have a seat height adjuster.
Honda locates the CR-V Hybrid's battery under the back seat, so the cushion sits high off the floor and provides excellent leg support. Plus, there is more legroom than you need, and the rear doors open to nearly a 90-degree angle, which makes it easy to get in or out and to load children riding in safety seats.
Plenty of Room for People and Their Things
Interior storage space is generous, and you'll find plenty of cargo room in the Honda CR-V Hybrid. Depending on the trim level, it ranges from 34.7 cubic-feet to 36.3 cu-ft behind the back seat. Fold the back seat down, and a CR-V Hybrid carries 76.5 cu-ft of cargo. That maximum number is among the largest in the compact SUV segment.
2024 Honda CR-V Hybrid HondaLink Infotainment System
Every CR-V Hybrid has a HondaLink infotainment system with either a 7.0-inch or 9.0-inch touchscreen display. Highlights include Bluetooth, text-messaging support, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a basic HondaLink connected services package.
Moving up to the 9.0-inch touchscreen equips the CR-V with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio, a better eight-speaker stereo, and wireless smartphone charging. Exclusives to the Sport Touring include a Wi-Fi hot spot, a navigation system with real-time traffic data, expanded HondaLink subscription services, and a 12-speaker Bose premium sound system.
Pairing an iPhone to the test vehicle's 9.0-inch touchscreen HondaLink infotainment system was quick and easy, and the SUV offers an opt-in automatic emergency calling function with a paired device. I had no trouble running the wireless Apple CarPlay, and the Bose audio system delivers good sound quality.
Unfortunately, HondaLink's native voice recognition technology isn't conversational. Instead, you must refer to and use the recommended prompts on the infotainment screen. Doing so often produces a satisfactory response, but I preferred to bypass Honda's tech in favor of Apple CarPlay and Siri.
The Short List of Tech Features Underscores the CR-V Hybrid's Simplicity
Aside from the infotainment system and safety features, the 2024 Honda CR-V Hybrid is light on tech, but every model comes with a 7.0-inch configurable digital instrumentation panel. Using the controls on the left side of the steering wheel, you can cycle through various menus and settings, and there's even a power flow meter that allows a driver to monitor how the hybrid powertrain is working.
The only other tech-related features of note relate to door locking, unlocking, and operation. For example, I like the CR-V's walk-away automatic locking function. Step out of the SUV and walk away with the key fob, and it will lock up to ensure you don't accidentally leave the doors unlocked. With Sport Touring trim, the CR-V Hybrid also offers a hands-free power liftgate.
2024 Honda CR-V Hybrid Honda Sensing Review: Good Enough for Regular Use
Every 2024 Honda CR-V Hybrid includes numerous standard safety features in a Honda Sensing package. It comprises the expected driver-assistance and collision-avoidance systems, including a basic Traffic Jam Assist feature that helps drivers maintain lane position in heavy traffic situations.
Outside of Honda Sensing, the CR-V Hybrid also has a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, and a rear seat reminder system. Front and rear parking sensors are standard with Sport-L and Sport Touring trim, working with a low-speed automatic braking function that can help prevent minor bumps.
During testing on an overcast afternoon, Honda Sensing's adaptive cruise control and lane-centering systems proved remarkably adept thanks to accurate assistance, subtle inputs, and an overall sense of competency and refinement. Only a few highway curves made the lane-assist tech seem indecisive.
The 2024 CR-V earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2023.
Complex Two-Motor Hybrid Powertrain Nearly Transparent to the Driver
Honda equips the CR-V Hybrid with its fourth-generation two-motor hybrid system, which is more refined than before thanks partly to the simulated gear changes in typical driving situations.
There are four main components to this drivetrain: an Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, an electric motor responsible for propulsion, an electric motor that transfers energy from the gasoline engine to the propulsion motor and the battery pack, and a lithium-ion battery pack. Total system horsepower measures 204. Honda doesn't provide an overall torque figure, but the electric motor supplies 247 pound-feet between zero and 2,000 rpm.
According to Honda, the CR-V Hybrid's gasoline engine typically powers the propulsion motor to move the SUV. Sometimes, the engine directly powers the wheels. The current-generation CR-V Hybrid is available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive (AWD) and supplies a maximum tow rating of 1,000 pounds.
The Honda CR-V Hybrid Wanders Off-Script
While the CR-V Hybrid's powertrain seems unusual and complex, from the driver's seat, the only odd thing you'll notice is how the 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine drones loudly in some circumstances, such as when accelerating onto a freeway, passing slower vehicles, and climbing mountain grades. Otherwise, the mechanicals work seamlessly to deliver improved fuel economy.
Officially, the EPA fuel-economy ratings for the CR-V Hybrid are 43/36/40 mpg in city/highway/combined driving (40/34/37 with AWD). My observed average of 32.4 mpg while driving the Sport Touring AWD on the evaluation loop was substantially below 37 mpg. Not only that, the turbocharged CR-V EX-L AWD I tested last year on the same loop averaged 29.1 mpg. Therefore, in my experience, the CR-V Hybrid delivers 3.3 extra miles per gallon of gasoline.
Color me unimpressed.
The whole point of choosing a CR-V Hybrid is to get better gas mileage, and while it delivers, the slight real-world improvement means it takes much longer for fuel savings to surpass the price premium, reducing the wisdom in choosing the hybrid in the first place.
Viewed from another perspective, getting a roomy, comfortable, safe, and refined compact SUV that effortlessly achieves average fuel-economy numbers in the 30s is an undeniably appealing proposition. In addition, the CR-V Hybrid benefits from the same rewarding driving dynamics that Honda bakes into all its vehicles.
Though a CR-V Hybrid isn't suitable for off-roading, it excels at on-roading. The ride is supple and communicative, and the handling is responsive and predictable. It's also easy to park this SUV, though the steering effort level is heavier than I prefer. In addition, the CR-V Hybrid's brakes performed admirably when driving in mountainous terrain, without the audible grumbling and pedal vibration seemingly common to Honda products.
The throughline is this: For most people, the Honda CR-V Hybrid is rewarding to drive. What it lacks in excitement, it makes up for with simplicity, and who doesn't need some of that?
An Excellent Compact SUV Searching for a Value Story
Honda has refined the CR-V to near perfection. It might lack sizzle, but this SUV has plenty of substance. Still, the compact crossover SUV segment is full of compelling choices, from the upscale Buick Envision and fun-to-drive Mazda CX-50 to the value-rich Hyundai Tucson and tried-and-true Toyota RAV4. Some alternatives to the CR-V even offer a small third-row seat, such as the Mitsubishi Outlander and Volkswagen Tiguan.
However, I question the value of choosing the CR-V Hybrid over the turbocharged CR-V. The hybrids have a sportier look, but the point isn't their black wheels. The point is fuel economy. In my experience, the CR-V Hybrid fails to impress at the one task it should excel at.