Honda CR-V Hybrid prototype goes green(er)

September 6, 2017

Honda's popular CR-V is about to get a little greener, and we're not talking about its paint. A Honda CR-V Hybrid prototype will bow next week in Germany at the Frankfurt auto show and it may be headed to American dealers.

By adding a hybrid option, Honda can compete more fully with both the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue—both of which already offer hybrid variants—in the heated three-way battle for crossover sales supremacy.

MORE: Read our latest Honda CR-V review

The prototype reveals slightly revised lines, most notably more aggressive wheel arches, sharper lines around the hood, and larger wheels and tires. This is hardly a redesign, however, and the key differences are entirely underneath the skin.

This is the first CR-V to come with an electric motor. While output specifications are yet to be released, Honda says can work in conjunction with its 2.0-liter inline-4 gasoline engine or independently, allowing for a purely electric mode in addition to hybrid and gasoline engine-driven modes.

In hybrid mode, the CR-V Hybrid uses its gasoline engine as a generator, charging the batteries to power the electric motor, which in turn drives the vehicle. As the name would suggest, it’s only in “Engine Drive” mode that the CR-V Hybrid actually connects the gasoline engine to the wheels.

No action is required by the driver to switch back and forth. Honda’s Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) system selects whichever mode offers the most efficient option at any given time. In everyday city driving, the CR-V Hybrid fluctuates between its EV and hybrid modes, using the engine only during a heavy application of the right foot. On the highway, however, the engine will remain the primary option.

It's not clear how much the CR-V Hybrid would improve upon the standard CR-V's up to 30 mpg combined rating.

The CR-V Hybrid prototype shown at Frankfurt is all but a certainty to come to the United States, though there’s not yet any official confirmation from Honda.

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