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2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid: What's It Like to Live With?

Edmunds' experts lived with and tested a CR-V Hybrid Touring for one year

Honda CR-V Hybrid 2021
Miles DrivenAverage MPG

Final Takeaways (last updated 02/16/22)

  • Disappointing real-world fuel economy after one year of driving
  • We never once got the EPA-estimated 38 mpg combined
  • Otherwise our CR-V Hybrid was comfortable and versatile
  • Read each section for more detail

What We Got and Why

by Brent Romans, Senior Editor, Written Content

Our test vehicle: 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid
Base 2021 CR-V Hybrid MSRP: $31,785 (including destination)
MSRP as tested: $37,470 (including destination)
Estimated trade-in value after one year: $34,641

"You can't have your cake and eat it" has to be one of the more confusing English phrases around, right alongside "going cold turkey" and "by the skin of your teeth." But what if we changed it to: "You can't buy an SUV and get good fuel economy." See, instantly better! You're welcome, English language.

Hi, I'm Brent Romans, Edmunds' senior editor of written content, and I'm here to report on a possible exception to our glorious new idiom: Edmunds' 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid. This page relates our experiences testing a CR-V Hybrid Touring over the course of one year.

Our long-term testing program is where we go into more detail than our normal vehicle reviews. Here you'll read comments and see videos from our editorial test team regarding the experiences we had with our CR-V Hybrid from approximately January 2021 to January 2022.

While Edmunds sometimes purchases vehicles for its long-term test program, this particular 2021 CR-V Hybrid was graciously on loan from Honda. It was a top-level Touring trim, which means it was fully loaded with features such as leather upholstery, a sunroof, a premium audio system and a hands-free power liftgate.

It also had the color combo of Obsidian Blue Pearl paint and gray leather upholstery. The MSRP of our test vehicle was $37,470, including the destination and handling charge.

The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.

2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid: Real-World Fuel Economy

One cool thing about Edmunds — among many, I assure you! — is that we do our own fuel economy testing. The long-term program, in particular, allows us to determine how well a vehicle does over many thousands of miles compared to the EPA's official estimates.

Naturally, higher fuel economy is a big reason you'd want to consider a Honda CR-V Hybrid instead of a regular CR-V. Based on EPA estimates, a CR-V Hybrid will get 38 mpg in combined driving. That's an attractive 31% boost over a regular CR-V with all-wheel drive (AWD); it gets an estimated 29 mpg. I'm comparing AWD models here because the CR-V Hybrid only comes with AWD.

So far, so good. But here's what we actually got from our CR-V Hybrid:

Average lifetime mpg: 29.6
EPA mpg rating: 38 combined ( 40 city / 35 highway )
Best fill mpg: 36.5
Best range (miles): 394.3
Final odometer: 17,980

Your lifetime average was 29.6 mpg? That's disappointing.

Yeah, pretty much. Our test started in January of 2021. Through that month and early February, we had a lifetime average of around 31 mpg. Not great but not terrible either. Then we took our CR-V Hybrid on a 4,300-mile cross-country road trip in late February and its fuel economy nose-dived.

The CR-V's lifetime nadir was 26.4 mpg. A string of better fill-ups through through the summer and fall of 2021 left us with a final 29.6 lifetime mpg when our test ended in January 2022.

But the EPA says you should get 38 mpg in combined driving.

As a partial explanation, the road conditions on that 4,300-mile road trip were awful. Our video production manager, Amy Sillman, drove from Los Angeles to Louisiana, Louisiana to Chicago, and then back home to Los Angeles. This was in late February and right at the time of a big nationwide snowstorm. You know, the one where Texas froze over and stranded big rigs littered the highways. The freezing temperatures and frozen roads didn't do our CR-V's fuel economy any favors.

You can read more about Amy's trip in this article's Performance and Ease of Driving section.

Hmm, OK. So what about your best mpg?

First off, know that we never got the EPA's estimate of 38 mpg from any fill-up. But we recorded a few fill-ups that showed the CR-V Hybrid's potential. The first was back in February 2021 when I got 35.4 mpg after driving about 290 miles in the city. For those 290 miles I made an effort to not accelerate hard or do anything that would kill fuel economy.

Later on I got 36.1 mpg in July 2021. This came from 267 miles of primarily driving on curvy two-lane roads north of San Francisco along the Pacific coast. Most of the time I was driving about 50 mph. I was pretty proud of that 36.1 mpg result, as if I got a new all-time high score on a video game. I even originally wrote on this page that this fill-up is "going to stand as our CR-V's upper limit."

Well, guess what? I was wrong! In late August 2021 I got a new lifetime high of 36.2 mpg. This was from 379 miles of mostly city driving. Similar to that February drive, I made an effort to maximize fuel economy without going overboard. Then in October I managed to get the final record: 36.5 mpg from 331 miles of mostly city driving.

Did you try using the Econ driving mode?

A little bit. This is one of three available driving modes in the CR-V Hybrid. The other two are the default normal mode and a Sport mode. The owner's manual states that the Econ mode "helps you improve your fuel economy by adjusting the performance of the climate control system and the accelerator pedal response." But how much does it improve your fuel economy? That's a good question. I really don't know. My guess is that you might see a slight improvement if you left it on all the time. However, the CR-V Hybrid is very slow to accelerate with Econ engaged, and that makes it hard to keep up with the flow of traffic, especially when leaving a stoplight. I rarely used it as a result.

And what about range?

It's OK but not great. Our best after a year of driving was 391 miles. That was from 11.9 gallons of gas. Honda's spec sheet says the gas tank can hold 14 gallons, so conceivably we could have gone a little farther. But more typically our team stopped to fill up after a maximum of about 350 miles.

So how do I get the best fuel economy from the CR-V Hybrid?

Stick to city driving and drive smoothly. This is, of course, the case with most hybrid vehicles because it's how you can best reap the benefits of the hybrid system and its regenerative braking. Personally, I'm OK with it getting around 35-36 mpg, even if it's not the 40 mpg city that the EPA says to expect. But it just seems like our CR-V Hybrid's fuel economy really drops when you take it out on the highway and are doing 70-plus mph for long stretches of time. You might as well just get a regular CR-V If you do a lot of freeway driving.

What else should I know?

Well, the trip computer's mpg estimate is quite accurate! We track this figure and compare it to our official calculations that we derive from the odometer and gallons of gasoline used. Some cars' trip computers can be overly optimistic, but the CR-V Hybrid's is trustworthy.

2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid: Maintenance and Repair

How reliable is the Honda CR-V Hybrid? Very, if you go by our one-year test.

Maintenance Summary

Total routine maintenance costs $100.71
Additional maintenance costs $40.00
Warranty repairs None
Non-warranty repairs None
Scheduled dealer visits One
Unscheduled dealer visits Zero
Days out of service Zero
Breakdowns stranding driver Zero
Total body repair costs None

What were your upkeep costs?

Minimal. An A1 service indicator popped up on our CR-V Hybrid's instrument panel at around 12,000 miles, letting me know it was time for the first scheduled service. This A1 indicator means the CR-V needs an oil change and a tire rotation.

I took in our CR-V Hybrid to Clawson Honda in Fresno, California, for the service. My adviser was pleasant and got me in and out in an hour and a half. The final tally was $100.71.

We also had to repair a punctured tire after one of our editors drove over a nail. Stokes Tire Service in Santa Monica, California, fixed it up for $40.

Anything else?

Nope! We had no other mechanical issues. Nothing broke during our yearlong test, and the interior was tight and rattle-free for the duration of the test.

What about recalls?

Honda did not issue any recalls for our CR-V Hybrid during our test.

How long does the hybrid battery last?

It should last a long time. Honda covers the hybrid high-voltage battery with an eight-year and 100,000-mile warranty. I wouldn't worry about having to pay for a replacement unless you plan on owning the vehicle longer than eight years (or buying a used CR-V Hybrid many years from now). And keep in mind that the CR-V Hybrid's high-voltage battery is like other rechargeable batteries. It's very unlikely that it'll suddenly stop working. But it will slowly lose its effectiveness over time, which would reduce the CR-V Hybrid's ability to maximize fuel efficiency.

How much does it cost to replace a CR-V Hybrid's battery?

It's hard to pin down what it will cost to replace the high-voltage battery eight to 10 years from now. At the time of this writing (late 2021), there's not a big market for replacement batteries because the CR-V Hybrid is still new. But I did a little research on the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, which has been in production for longer but is otherwise comparable to the CR-V Hybrid. For the RAV4 Hybrid, replacement batteries seem to run around $2,000.

2021 CR-V Hybrid: Performance and Ease of Driving

The CR-V Hybrid has a different powertrain than a regular CR-V. It has a naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a hybrid system with two electric motor-generators. The hybrid battery and some componentry are located under the rear cargo floor. It's very similar to the powertrain in the Accord Hybrid. The big difference is that you get all-wheel drive with the CR-V Hybrid; the Accord is front-wheel-drive only.

Honda does use a different hybrid system design than most other automakers. There's no transmission in the traditional sense in the CR-V Hybrid, and typically the engine operates as an electrical generator to supply power to the main electric motor. That motor, in turn, drives the wheels for acceleration. The engine is only rarely being used to directly drive the wheels.

Check out this Alex on Autos video if you want to geek out on this powertrain. He does a great job of explaining how it all works.

OK, great. So what's it like driving around town?

It feels pretty responsive. The hybrid system will typically start out in full electric mode and get the CR-V up around 10-20 mph before the engine switches on. The lighter you go on the accelerator (the slower your acceleration), the more the system will try to use electric power stored in the battery. But once the battery runs low, or you press harder on the gas, the engine will switch on.

How smooth is it?

The gas engine is smooth and unobtrusive when it fires up and starts to apply power. If you're just driving along and listening to your own internal monologue (What am I making for dinner? Did I actually close the garage door before I left? How fat do I look in these jeans?), it's unlikely that you'll notice where the power is coming from. Honda has done a nice job of blending the CR-V Hybrid's gasoline and electric power.

What about when you mash the gas?

Here's what my co-worker Rex Tokeshi-Torres, our vehicle test technician, has to say about it:

"As far as acceleration goes, this thing reminds me of a modified 2000 Honda Civic HX. The HX was the fuel-efficient trim of the Civic and people back in the day slapped an exhaust and intake on that mess. Yes, there were such things. The CR-V Hybrid reminds me of that because it makes a whole lot of noise but goes nowhere. It aggravates me when I'm trying to do a freeway pass. Sport mode makes the engine rev higher and noisier but doesn't seem to do much to make the CR-V accelerate any quicker."

That's disappointing.

Yep. Here's another take from Reviews Editor Travis Langness: "On the open highway, the CR-V has a likable powertrain. Even in the city, getting off the line it's OK. But it's utterly hopeless going up grades. On a recent trip to the mountains, when a passing lane opened up, I couldn't even get by a late-model Honda Fit. With the pedal flat to the floor and the high-revving CVT screaming, there was nothing I could do but tuck in behind the also-struggling Fit and let a few other motorists pass us. That alone would be a deal-breaker for me buying the hybrid version of the CR-V.

All right, well, what are those paddles on the sides of the steering wheel for?

They are paddles you can use to temporarily increase vehicle deceleration once you've lifted off the gas pedal. It's done by regenerative braking, which is part of a hybrid's system that uses deceleration to recharge the battery, thereby enhancing the vehicle's overall efficiency compared to the normal friction brakes. There are four selectable levels of regenerative strength once you've let off the gas pedal.

But the maximum regenerative slowing isn't as strong as what you'd get from a full electric vehicle, so it's not really useful in normal driving. I'd equate it to engine braking in a standard car where you downshift to get greater deceleration. So in that sense, the adjustable regen braking is helpful when you're driving on hilly terrain and want to hold a constant speed down hills.

How does it drive in the snow?

The CR-V Hybrid comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is a pleasing bonus. Here's commentary from our video production manager, Amy Sillman, who drove it on a 4,300-mile cross-country trip through 2021's big nationwide snowstorm.

"There was a point in Texas where I realized there was a lot of ice in all of the wheelhouses. That made it very hard to turn the steering wheel; I almost had to fight the wheel for tighter turns (there was barely 2 inches of clearance). I tried to pick some of the ice out but it was so cold and I wasn't getting anywhere with the ice, so I had to stop. I feared I would damage the car and tires. I knew I had to get to a stopping point and drive slowly so as to not need to turn the wheel sharply to avoid a wreck.

"The ice had also gotten so bad that there were at least two times I had to stop off the freeway to get the ice off of the headlights. I had to pour water over the headlights and scrape the ice off as I could tell my lights had lost their brightness and I needed all the light I could get.

"Overall, the CR-V did a good job holding its ground in these nasty conditions. I've driven Jeeps and other larger SUVs and trucks in the ice and snow, and I was surprised how well the CR-V Hybrid did compared to them. I can honestly say I'd take the car again on a road trip like this."

2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid: Comfort

How comfortable is our CR-V Hybrid? Inquiring minds want to know.

How quiet is it?

Well, it depends on the situation. It's pretty quiet around town. Unless the hybrid battery's power is very low, the engine is usually off when you're waiting at stoplights, for instance. The engine is generally unobtrusive when you're just cruising at city speeds, too. But it revs up quickly, like when you hit the gas to accelerate quickly, and becomes rather raucous. The engine settles down as soon as you let up, so in that sense it's not too bad.

So is it noisy when you're going up hills?

Yep. It gets loud and unpleasant when climbing long mountain grades on the highway. For instance, I live in Fresno, which is in Central California. To get to Los Angeles, which is where Edmunds' home office is, I have to drive along I-5 and go over the Tejon Pass (typically called "The Grapevine"). It's a mountain pass with a maximum elevation around 4,100 feet. When going up the hills, the CR-V's engine revs up high to produce the necessary power and then stays that way. That droning engine noise gets tiresome.

My co-worker Amy Sillman had similar observations from her cross-country trip when she drove over the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, noting that on grades, "the engine got really noisy, and it didn't seem to have any power."

A regular CR-V's engine is quieter in these situations because it's not revving as hard.

And what about ride comfort?

Great! It's impressively smooth both around town and on the highway. Here's Reviews Editor Travis Langness with more on the subject: "The CR-V Hybrid is a road-trip champ. It's quiet, comfortable and easy to drive on the open highway. The tires have plenty of sidewall and the suspension is more than compliant enough to deal with rough pavement. Essentially, this is exactly what I expect from a CR-V, and the Hybrid version fully delivers here too. I'm really pleased that it's so comfy on the open road."

How comfortable is the driver's seat?

First off, know that I'm about 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds, so take this commentary as you will. With that, I find our CR-V Hybrid's driver's seat to be agreeable. Every CR-V Hybrid except the base LX trim comes with an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with four-way power-adjustable lumbar. With these adjustments, plus the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, I would think most drivers will be able to find their preferred seating position.

What about driver seat comfort on long-distance drives?

The seat's cushioning and support are pleasing for long-distance driving. The most I've driven our CR-V Hybrid straight is for about five hours. My co-worker Amy got lots of seat time during her two-week cross-country road trip in February. Here's what she said: "I have some back issues that can make certain seats uncomfortable for me. But the CR-V's seats were great the whole trip. I was often stressed about driving in the snow and ice, and I was putting in some really long days too. Oh, and there was a stretch in Texas where I got food poisoning, which made everything even worse. But I never got any discomfort from the seats."

2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid: Interior

What are the high points and low points of the CR-V Hybrid's interior? We drove ours for a year to find out.

How roomy is it?

It's pretty roomy up front for the driver. I'm 5-foot-10, and there's a pleasing amount of headroom and legroom. Most people should be comfortable. The driver's seat and steering wheel have a nice amount of adjustment range, too. I've had my family along — my wife and two kids, ages 10 and 14 — for a few road trips, too. The CR-V Hybrid has been an agreeable shuttle. My kids have had enough legroom so as to not be kicking the backs of the front seats and enough space between them to create a neutral buffer zone.

What do you think of the layout of the interior controls?

It's impressively functional. All of the main controls are easy to find and have a solid feel to them. The touchscreen is easy to reach. I also like the layout of the driver assist buttons on the steering wheel. It's easy to engage or adjust the adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist just by feel.

The push-button gear selector can be a little fiddly to use when making a three-point turn, at least compared to a traditional shift lever, but that's the only negative I have from a usability standpoint.

Anything else that's a standout trait?

Yes, the center console storage bin. It's pretty roomy by itself, but it also has a sliding cover that you can also put stuff on. This two-tier layout is great for putting things that you don't need all the time (tissues, pens, whatever) below and then your daily driver stuff (phone or keys) on top. The center armrest is part of this multi-functional appeal too. You can lift it up to aid in accessing the contents of the bin. When the armrest is closed, you can slide it forward or backward for adjustability.

2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid: Technology

Every CR-V Hybrid comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. It also has a variety of advanced driver aids such as traffic-adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Effectively, it's all the same stuff that you get with a regular CR-V, though there are a few extra information displays for the Hybrid. How well does it all work? We've got the answers.

How's the infotainment display?

Not the best. Here's Reviews Editor Travis Langness on the subject: "On the upside, the screen looks crisp and has easy-to-read text. And when you've got Apple CarPlay plugged in, everything mostly works well. But if you aren't a smartphone user, or if you want to go outside of the smartphone's prescribed activities, this interface is really difficult to use. Sure, there's a volume knob, but it's small and hard to grab without looking down at it. And the button layout? It's way too crowded for eyes-on-the-road usage. Oh, and the climate settings? They're in a deeper menu. Honda is not a class-leader when it comes to infotainment."

Any issues with the touchscreen? I've read that it can be glitchy.

Yep. Here's Travis again: "I've had the infotainment interface glitch out on me more than once in a week of driving our CR-V Hybrid. It has, at various times: 1) not booted up; 2) stopped playing a song; 3) stopped responding to touchscreen commands; and 4) reset entirely. I've encountered these problems in our recent long-term Honda Passport and Pilot test vehicles too, so it's not just a CR-V Hybrid thing. You really need extra patience in order to live with this system.

"I also had trouble integrating my iPhone with Apple CarPlay on one occasion. CarPlay, which is the system that displays many of your phone's apps on the touchscreen, suddenly stopped working in our Honda. I tried reconnecting my phone with the USB cord (unplugging it and plugging it back in) but to no avail. I'm not sure whether the issue was with my phone or the CR-V. I eventually fixed the issue by going into my phone's settings and deleting both its Bluetooth and CarPlay pairings to the CR-V and starting over. That did the trick."

What about the rearview camera?

We have mixed feelings about it. Here's Reviews Editor Ryan ZumMallen: "I like the different available camera angles. There's a standard rear-facing view and a wider, almost fisheye lens angle to help you see farther out to the sides for potential oncoming vehicles and pedestrians. I live in a neighborhood with a lot of kids that are always coming and going, so the extra visibility helps. The rear cross-traffic alert system is well integrated into this view, too. The biggest issue is at night. There's a noticeable degradation in resolution quality when it's dark out. I felt much less confident backing down my long driveway than I do during the day."

What about the driver aids?

I'm mostly pleased with what the CR-V Hybrid comes with and how well they work. Here's my take on the main ones:

Adaptive cruise control (it maintains a driver-set distance between the CR-V Hybrid and the car in front): I've used this on the open highway and urban highways bogged down with rush-hour traffic. It's most useful in the latter situation and saves me the hassle of constantly switching between the gas and the brake. It works down to a full stop, too. But I can think of one specific instance where I was approaching a stopped semi truck with adaptive cruise on. It didn't seem like the system was going to apply the brakes in time, so I got on them just in case. I kind of wonder: If I hadn't done that, would the CR-V have braked in time? So, this one's a mixed bag for me.

Blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert (warns you if a vehicle is in your blind spot during a lane change or while in reverse): This is a great feature. I particularly like the rear cross-traffic alert function when backing out of parking spaces. It makes an audible alert when it detects an oncoming vehicle and also displays an icon on the rearview camera display showing you the direction the car is coming from. This really comes in handy when your view over the shoulder is blocked by vehicles next to you.

Forward collision warning (alerts you of a possible collision with the car in front): We've dinged Honda in years past for making its forward collision warning systems overly willing to dish out warnings. All those unneeded warnings could get really annoying. Thankfully, I've found the system in our CR-V Hybrid to be pretty mild-mannered. It has flashed "BRAKE" in the gauge cluster a few times, but I wasn't bothered by it. In those situations I knew how I was driving and could understand why the system gave a warning. The system's sensitivity is adjustable, which is also nice.

Are there any other technology features you like?

The automatic brake hold feature is pretty neat. A lot of Hondas with automatic transmission offer this. When you press on the brake pedal to come to a complete stop (like at a stoplight), this feature automatically keeps the brakes engaged after you take your foot off the brake. It'll hold the brakes and prevent the CR-V Hybrid from creeping forward until you press on the gas.

You can easily turn the brake hold feature on and off with a button located next to the electronic parking brake lever.

2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid: Utility

The CR-V has one of the largest cargo areas in the small crossover SUV class. But what does that mean for actual ownership? For example, having a baby means bringing along enough stuff to equal Ernest Shackleton's expedition to the Antarctic. Can the CR-V Hybrid handle it? Or what about using the CR-V for a camping trip? These are the sorts of questions we aimed to answer during our test.

How much official cargo space does the CR-V Hybrid have?

A regular CR-V can hold 37.6 cubic feet behind its rear seats (Touring trim) or 75.8 with the rear seats folded. The CR-V Hybrid has a little less official space — 33.2 cubic feet and 68.7 cubic feet, respectively. I haven't been able to directly compare our CR-V Hybrid to a regular CR-V, but I would guess that the reduction in the Hybrid's cargo space is due to a slighter higher cargo floor. Honda said it packaged the hybrid battery and some of the hybrid componentry under it.

Do you notice the lack of cargo space compared to the regular CR-V's?

Yes. Here's Reviews Editor Ryan ZumMallen: "Without even checking the numbers, I could tell the standard CR-V has more room behind the second row from the moment I opened the CR-V Hybrid's liftgate. The floor is definitely higher. That made me a little nervous when I pulled up at the airport and saw my brother- and sister-in-law waiting to toss their sizable luggage inside. With a bit of Trunk Tetris we made it work. So yes, you're sacrificing room with the CR-V Hybrid, but even for trips to the airport it shouldn't be too much of an issue."

What else did you fit in it?

I've used our CR-V Hybrid's cargo area to haul groceries, stuff for a family road trip during the winter holidays, and boxes I needed to take to a storage unit. For the boxes, I folded down the rear seats and removed the cargo cover. Folding down the seats is easy; there are release handles both in the rear cargo area and on the tops of each rear seatback section.

Our vehicle testing technician, Rex Tokeshi-Torres, has used our CR-V to haul all of our testing gear that we use on a weekly basis at our private testing facility.

Fitting everything for my road trip was trickier. Either I overestimated how much space our CR-V Hybrid has or I underestimated how much stuff we'd be taking (or both). But the end result was that I had to pack the cargo area up to the roof and fit a bunch of overflow stuff around my two kids in the rear seat. For this particular trip I wouldn't have minded a larger vehicle. But our CR-V Hybrid has worked out well for everything else so far.

Check out the photo carousel below to see pics of everything.

2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid: Miscellaneous

Hodgepodge. Smorgasbord. Bits and bobs. Yep, this is where we answer questions that don't fit in our previous sections.

How does the CR-V Hybrid compare to a regular CR-V?

Here's what one of our drivers has to say:

"I spent a lot of time driving Edmunds' long-term 2017 Honda CR-V test vehicle. While the power at times was lacking, especially when driving up hills, overall the CR-V was fantastic. I was always impressed with its cavernous interior for passengers and cargo. Moreover, the interior was nicely appointed. Compared to the rival Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4, there is no doubt in my mind that the Honda CR-V is simply better.

"Given all that, I was excited to drive our new long-term CR-V Hybrid. I checked pricing on Edmunds; Honda charges $1,200 more for a CR-V Hybrid in the EX-L trim compared to an equivalent non-hybrid CR-V (with all-wheel drive). What follows are my observations and conclusion.

"Exterior: It's hard to spot the differences between the standard CR-V and the Hybrid Version. Look for the Hybrid badge, a blue-accented Honda logo in the grille and different wheels.

"Interior: There's not much different here, either. The instrument panel has a hybrid battery level indicator, and the cargo area is a little smaller. That's pretty much it. It's still very roomy.

"Acceleration: The engine feels like it has less power than the standard CR-V's (even though it's rated to have more horsepower). That could just be the way it delivers its power. Mash the gas pedal in the Hybrid and it accelerates with more verve, but at that point the engine gets rather noisy.

"Fuel economy: I monitored my fuel economy back when I drove our 2017 CR-V. Typically, I got about 27 mpg. So far in our CR-V Hybrid I've been getting around 31 mpg. I live at the same house and drive the same routes as I did before, so the improvement is almost certainly due to the Hybrid engine being more efficient with fuel. Going from 27 mpg to 31 mpg means I'm getting about 15% better fuel economy. Assuming I drove about 12,000 miles a year, and that the price of gas stayed at around $4 a gallon, the CR-V Hybrid would save me about $230 a year. At that rate it would take at least five years for me to just break even on paying more for the Hybrid.

"Conclusion: I had high hopes for the CR-V Hybrid being an even better version of the regular CR-V. But, at least with my experience so far, it seems more of a toss-up between the two. Our Hybrid would need to get better real-world fuel economy to make me fully want to buy it over the regular CR-V."

Does the CR-V Hybrid make a sound when you're driving at low speeds?

Yes. New hybrids and electric vehicles, because they're so quiet, are now mandated to make noise at low speeds to help warn pedestrians. I made a short video of what our CR-V sounds like. To me the warning sound is like an ethereal choir, or maybe the sound effect of a flying saucer from a 1950s science fiction B movie. I kind of dig it. What do you think?

2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid: Wrap-Up

So, it call comes down to this. Brass tacks. Final take. The buck stops here.

What did you guys like best about your CR-V Hybrid?

Its all-around competence at doing its job. This might sound like faint praise — as if my boss, Jodi, wrote in a performance review: "Brent is all-around competent at his job as an automotive journalist" — but in the case of the CR-V Hybrid, that's what I want. It started up every day, never caused a fuss, and got our team of Edmunds drivers where we needed to go.

So would you buy one?

Alas, no. There are aspects we enjoyed about our CR-V Hybrid — the comfortable and composed ride, the roomy interior and all-around versatile nature — but you get these with every CR-V, not just the Hybrid. And main things we didn't like, such as the noisy and gutless acceleration on hills, are particular to the hybrid.

The CR-V Hybrid might work out well for you if you do the vast majority of your driving in the city. Otherwise, a regular CR-V is the better buy. Alternately, you could check out rivals such as the Ford Escape Hybrid and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.