Americans buy a lot of compact SUVs. They’re a perfect solution for many drivers – not too expensive, yet plenty capable. But today, high gas prices and worries about our carbon footprints make hybrids a better move for many.
Thankfully there are hybrid compact SUVs that answer those concerns, too. Two of the best are the Honda CR-V Hybrid and Ford Escape Hybrid.
Let’s take a closer look at these two SUVs and find the right one for you.
2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid
The Honda CR-V is all new for 2023. The quintessential compact crossover is newly handsome, with a more upright look outside and contemporary styling inside. Honda builds it with conventional or hybrid power. But the days of slow, underpowered hybrids are behind us – the CR-V Hybrid is also the quickest CR-V. Prices start at $32,400. Price yours or view listings near you.
Honda CR-V Hybrid Highlights
Lower starting price: Honda is known for long-term reliability and reasonable prices, but not usually low prices. So, we were surprised to see that the CR-V wins this comparison on cost. Getting Honda dependability for lower than a Ford price is quite a trick. Adding all-wheel drive to the CR-V costs less than adding it to the Escape, too.
Available Traffic Jam Assist: Below 45 mph, the CR-V can make slight steering adjustments to stay in its lane (even around curves) and accelerate and brake to match the traffic speed (even bringing itself to a stop if necessary). It’s not quite self-driving – you need to keep a hand on the wheel and be ready to take over if it prompts you. But it saves you from a lot of fatigue in traffic.
Upscale interior: The CR-V’s new design is appealing from the outside, with a more grown-up look than many small SUVs. Inside, though, is where designers have really gone to work. The CR-V has a design flair – from honeycomb trim on the dashboard to softer-touch materials on the doors – that seems a step above its price point.
2022 Ford Escape Hybrid
The Ford Escape isn’t all-new for 2023, but it has received a design refresh inside and out that keeps it with the top of its class. It boasts one of the roomiest interiors in its class and comes in two hybrid editions. Pricing starts at $33,340. Price yours or view listings near you.
Ford Escape Hybrid Highlights
User-friendly cabin tech: We may aesthetically prefer the CR-V’s design, but the Escape’s interior is well-executed, too. More importantly, its SYNC 3 user interface is intuitive in a way the Honda’s isn’t. It includes a Wi-Fi hot spot as well.
Greater towing capacity: For the most part, the days when buying a hybrid meant settling for less power are behind us all. But when it comes to towing capacity, the CR-V hybrid is still surprisingly weak – just 1,000 pounds. The Escape hybrid is good for 1,500.
Available plug-in hybrid version: There’s a technology one step beyond hybrid called plug-in hybrid, or PHEV. PHEV vehicles can charge from a wall socket and drive a certain distance on electric power alone. Ford builds an Escape PHEV capable of traveling up to 32 miles before it uses a drop of gas. For most of us, that’s enough to do our daily commute and errands without stopping at the pump but still have the freedom to take a road trip without worrying about charging. Honda doesn’t make a PHEV CR-V.
These two have almost the same horsepower and fuel economy and carry identical warranties.
The all-new Honda CR-V hybrid might be the best-looking affordable small SUV, holds onto its resale value well, and feels upscale inside. The Ford Escape hybrid has more user-friendly tech, better towing power, and the option of a plug-in hybrid that might suit your lifestyle better.
Either one could serve you well for years.
|2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid||2023 Ford Escape Hybrid|
|Engine||2.0-liter hybrid 4-cylinder||2.5-liter hybrid 4-cylinder|
|Horsepower||204 hp @ 6,100 rpm||200 hp @ 6,250 rpm|
|Torque||247 lb-ft @ 0-2,000 rpm||155 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||43 city/36 hwy/40 combined mpg||44 city/37 hwy/41 combined mpg|
|Basic Warranty||3 years/36,000 miles||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Powertrain Warranty||5 years/60,000 miles||5 years/60,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety Rating||TBD||5 stars|
|Max Seating Capacity||5||5|
|Wheelbase||106.3 inches||106.7 inches|
|Overall Length||184.8 inches||180.1 inches|
|Width||73.5 inches||74.1 inches|
|Height||66.2 inches||66.1 inches|
|Turning Diameter||37.3 feet||39.0 feet|
|Headroom, Front||38.2 inches||40.0 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||38.2 inches||39.3 inches|
|Legroom, Front||41.3 inches||42.4 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||41.0 inches||40.7 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||57.9 inches||57.6 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||55.9 inches||56.0 inches|
|Cargo Volume||39.3/76.5 cubic feet||34.4/60.8 cubic feet|