The SUV and crossover market has experienced a tremendous boom in recent years, with more and more consumers turning toward function and practicality. But today’s drivers also seek affordable vehicles that save money at the pump and are better for the environment.
The world of hybrid SUVs and crossovers is ever-growing, with automakers racing to electrify their lineups. Two of the newest hybrid crossovers, the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid and 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid, promise to set the bar for industry standards. But what does each model offer? And which is the better crossover overall?
The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid
Drivers can get their hands on the new Honda CR-V Hybrid in spring of 2020, according to MotorTrend. The U.S. will get the same two-motor powertrain in Honda’s European CR-V Hybrids, with some changes for the U.S. market. Since the majority of Americans prefer all-wheel-drive vehicles over front-wheel, Honda’s removed front-wheel altogether. The Honda CR-V Hybrid will only be an AWD system. The good news, however, is that the CR-V’s drivetrain system is mechanically identical to the gas-powered CR-V — unlike other hybrids, which use electrified rear axles.
According to CNET, the 2020 CR-V Hybrid will use a 2.0-liter engine with 212 hp and 232 lb-ft torque. The exact numbers aren’t in yet, but the estimated fuel economy is expected to be 50% of the gas-powered CR-V. It will include the Honda Sensing suite standard in all models, plus safety and tech features like adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane-keeping assist.
When it comes to infotainment and interior, the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid will have a standard, but not-overly-impressive, seven-inch touchscreen. Maybe not the best in the industry, Honda’s infotainment system is easy to use and has multiple connectivity capabilities.
Since this is an SUV, interior space for cargo and passengers is essential. The 2020 CR-V Hybrid’s interior space is expected to be unchanged from its gas-powered sibling, offering close to 40 square feet of space. Honda has yet to release a price for the CR-V Hybrid, but it will come in four trim levels.
The 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid
The new 2020 Ford Escape is getting ready to hit dealerships, and now it’s offered as a hybrid. A surprise entry in the world of hybrids, MotorTrend claims the Ford Escape Hybrid can go at least 30 miles before its 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine kicks in. For shorter commutes, you may not need to use gas at all. The numbers aren’t official yet, but the new Ford Escape Hybrid is said to have a highway fuel economy of 39 MPG. It gets up to 60 miles per hour in 8.7 seconds — not the quickest crossover.
The Escape Hybrid will be offered in a regular version and plug-in option, with choices between front-wheel and all-wheel-drive for the standard Hybrid and only front-wheel drive for the plug-in. On the road, both hybrids’ brakes have strong stopping power and CVT transmission. But the Escape also exhibits behavior like sudden braking or acceleration. According to Consumer Reports, the plug-in hybrid will have about 209 hp; the gas/electric hybrid has 198 hp.
While the drive feels smooth, many find the Escape’s interior lackluster. Though it does come with an oversized 12.3-inch digital control cluster and an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, according to CNET, nothing else about the interior seems remarkable.
Ford’s Sync 3 system, with navigation, mobile hotspot capabilities, and connectivity options, comes standard, but it has one of the smallest interiors of crossover hybrids on the market. You’ll only get a total of 34.4 square feet of space in the Escape Hybrid, but with sliding rear seats, getting in and out is a breeze. The 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid is set to have a starting price of under $30,000 but have plenty of available options.
Final verdict: Which is the better crossover?
Both the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid and the 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid offer advantages and drawbacks. While the CR-V certainly boasts interior space and quality mechanics, there isn’t too much known about its finer details and reliability.
The Ford Escape Hybrid offers an affordable price and a variety of options. Though its interior won’t be the most luxurious, the Escape Hybrid is functional, economical, and suitable for daily commutes. With the CR-V Hybrid just starting in the U.S., there’s still time to excel against the competition.