Given today’s meteoric jumps in gasoline prices, the immediate response from most people would be the hybrid. But the obvious answer isn’t always the best answer, at least not for all drivers. Let’s look a bit deeper.
The Honda CR-V is Legendary
While we’re about to debate the pros and cons of gas versus hybrid power sources, there should be no debate about the CR-V’s place in automotive history. Introduced to the United States in 1997, the Honda CR-V has been one of most popular SUV’s of all time, selling close to 400,000 in 2019, the last full year of data prior to COVID-19.
Why is it so popular? Well, for lots of reasons: big enough for a family of four; small enough for a single individual; plenty of easily accessible cargo space; generous level of power; nice styling; great fuel efficiency; and Honda reliability. So let’s move right on to why some people buy the purely gas-powered CR-V and some prefer the CR-V hybrid.
Clearly, if maximizing your MPG’s is among your highest priorities, go with the hybrid. The 2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid delivers an impressive EPA-estimated 40/35 MPG city/highway. That compares with 27/32 MPG for its conventional CR-V sibling. However, that’s the AWD version. If you’re OK with front wheel drive, those numbers climb to 28/34 MPG, which puts the conventional Honda CR-V essentially neck-and-neck with the hybrid for highway driving.
So now we have a more nuanced question: does my driving pattern justify the higher initial price of the hybrid model? Clearly, if most of your driving is around town and you plan to keep your CR-V for a long time, the hybrid is probably worth it. Conversely, if you spend most of your time driving under highway conditions and you like to change cars every few years, the gas model may prove more economical.
The base price of a conventional 2022 Honda CR-V is $26,800. Starting MSRP of a 2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid is $32,010. Naturally, there are lots of different trim levels and options from which to choose, but that gives us a rough idea of cost difference between gas-powered and hybrid.
For the sake of easy math, that’s about a $5,000 difference. Complicating matters is how much of the purchase price you intend to finance and at what rate, but let’s not subject ourselves to that painful arithmetic. For simplicity, let’s just say that if you plan to keep your CR-V for 5 years, which translates to $1,000 per year in additional purchase price. Naturally, if you went for the hybrid, one hope is that you’ll recover that additional expense in saving from gasoline purchases.
With gas at around $6 per gallon in Northern California right now, that $1,000 would buy approximately 167 gallons of gas. At 31 MPG for an estimated combined mileage for the gas-powered CR-V, you could travel 5,000+ miles for that $1,000. If you drive much more than that, the hybrid starts to make more sense. If gas prices fall, however, you have to drive further each year to hit breakeven.
Naturally, we’re not taking into account the “time value of money”, but let’s not overthink things.
However… money isn’t everything, particularly to lots and lots of people in the San Francisco Bay Area. The hybrid is, of course, lower in tailpipe emissions, and that matters from an environmental standpoint.
Both are nice. In fact, they’re really nice. The conventional CR-V has a bit more headroom at lower trim levels, but the hybrid offers a few more features as standard. If you want similar features in the conventional CR-V, you may have to pay a bit more for a higher trim level, which starts to impact the fuel efficiency math.
The biggest difference on the inside is cargo space because the hybrid’s lithium battery pack cuts into the available storage area. The gas CR-V has 39.2 cubic feet versus 33.2 cubic feet for the hybrid. But keep in mind that 39.2 cubic feet is relatively cavernous compared with other SUV’s in this category. The Toyota RAV4 has 37.5 cubic feet and the Ford Escape has 34.4 cubic feet, so the CR-V Hybrid is looking pretty good at 33.2. And remember, fold down those seats and the hybrid’s cargo space swells to a lofty 68.7 cubic feet. So, once again, it gets back to what you need your CR-V to do. If it’s hauling a lot of kids and cargo, the conventional CR-V may have an edge. If it’s you heading to crafts fairs and farmers markets, or maybe a weekend ski trip to Tahoe, the hybrid works fine.
Wow. This is a tough one, but the 2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid has a slight edge. But only if you look at standard equipment. Both CR-V models have received a 5-star crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). You can’t do better than that. But the base hybrid model comes with some safety features that aren’t present on the base gas model. So it’s very, very close, but we’ll give the hybrid the edge in this category.
Performance, Handling, Reliability, Etc. Etc. Etc.
They’re both awesome. Truly. They’re both Honda CR-V’s. And the Honda CR-V is in its 5th generation, so it’s clearly demonstrated its success.
And the Winner Is…
It depends. If you favor fuel efficiency and environmental issues above all else, it’s the hybrid. If you like a smaller price tag and bigger cargo area, go with the conventional model. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
But no matter what you do, please speak with the friendly folks at Dublin Honda before making any final decisions. Dublin Honda has been serving Bay Area Honda enthusiasts for over 40 years and we know what Northern Californians appreciate most about Honda cars, trucks, SUV’s, and minivans. Plus, we almost always have a big selection of beautifully maintained Honda Certified Pre-Owned vehicles that may surprise you with their excellent condition and low prices, not to mention the genuine Honda Warranty that comes with each one.
So visit us at Dublin Honda and ask our experts to show you what they like best about the 2022 Honda CR-V and the 2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid. While there, feel free to ask about the entire line of new 2022 Honda models we have for sale or lease, as well as our impressive selection of used Hondas. And, of course, we’re a fully authorized Honda Service Center, prepared to handle all your Honda maintenance and repair needs, as well as perform recall and warranty work. We look forward to seeing you soon!