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Hyundai Tucson Hybrid vs. Honda Cr V Hybrid 2023

1. Introduction

The car makers are putting forward their best attempt to compete in the electrifying world of hybrid cars. Two approachable 4x4 hybrids that will be the centre of attention for most are the new models to the tricky 4x4 scene are the Hyundai Tucson and the Honda CR-V. The Hyundai Tucson is a recent addition to the 4x4 scene and has made a firm imprint immediately. The contender in this instance is the 2-litre 4x4 automatic model Hyundai Tucson Hybrid. This faces off against a tough rival just coming into the picture in this market, the Honda CR-V Hybrid. Prices are officially released for the Honda at £37,105 for the S model up to £40,850 for the top spec EX. The Hyundai pips it at a more substantial £40,995. This is a marked difference from its previous generation model which was a lot more affordable. Let the showdown begin!

1.1. Overview of Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

Tucson Hybrid will be the first hybrid model in the country when it is launched in May. According to Hyundai, the company targeted a combined 30 mpg or better fuel economy estimate for the new model. Tucson will utilize Hyundai's lightweight Theta II 2.4-liter engine mated to a Kia-developed six-speed automatic transmission and a 40-horsepower electric motor that will be built in-house by Hyundai. Developed entirely by Hyundai, the compact, high-output electric motor is designed for minimal maintenance over the life of the vehicle and as an eco-friendly alternative to internal combustion. Torque for the electric motor is 151.2 lb-ft and it is capable of propelling the vehicle up to 30 mph on electric power alone. It will also feature an engine stop-start system that will further conserve fuel. Fuel-saving engine control is done giving a seamless transition of power between the engine and motor. During low-speed driving, the system can even bring the vehicle to a stop and transition driving to pure electric. An important fuel economy measure is an active ECO mode that smoothes out throttle response to further improve real-world fuel economy. Tucson will utilize an on-demand electronic four-wheel-drive system that employs a 50 kW electric motor at the rear, effectively making it a through-the-road all-wheel-drive vehicle. Pricing and complete specifications will be available closer to the vehicle's launch date in May 2022.

1.2. Overview of Honda CR-V Hybrid 2023

The Honda CR-V Hybrid 2023 is the third generation of the hybrid version of CR-V. As a car that has had previous hybrid versions, the all-new CR-V Hybrid is expected to deliver a refined and comfortable drive without having to sacrifice its versatility and availability of high ground clearance for off-road capabilities. The 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid will utilize Honda's latest generation of 2-motor Hybrid technology that prioritizes full electric drive mode of the hybrid system, enabling an efficient and exhilarating driving experience. This new hybrid system will be available in both FWD and AWD versions. Electric drive mode is prioritized for the FWD version, where it will utilize its electric motors in normal driving situations and only utilize its engine when it is in a high load situation. While the AWD version will come with an additional rear electric motor to support the electric motor that is available in all hybrid system versions. This will enhance its AWD performance and is suitable for those who want to use the hybrid as a towing vehicle or a match to those who live in an area where snow and uphill/downhill roads are common. Compared with the previous CR-V hybrid, this newest generation hybrid has a 184.5 kW power output, which is an increase from the previous 158 kW. Powering the new CR-V Hybrid is the latest developed e:HEV badge K24W i-VTEC Inline-4 DOHC engine, which is specifically designed to parallel its hybrid system. This new Hybrid system and engine are expected to deliver more powerful acceleration compared to the previous generation of CR-V hybrid. Measures for energy efficiency improvements were also compared to the previous generation CR-V hybrid, with 18.7 km/L JC08 compared to 17.8 km/L JC08 in the previous generation. This new hybrid version will be developed and produced in North America for North American customers. This is also the first Honda hybrid vehicle that is assembled in North America. The 2023 CR-V Hybrid will be released in North America in spring 2023, and it is expected that this 2023 CR-V Hybrid will be available in other regions. The new CR-V Hybrid aims to provide a vehicle that meets electrification needs for customers who want a more sustainable future with Honda and is expected to be an important model that will lead the introduction to electrification of future Honda vehicles for North America.

2. Performance and Efficiency

Moving onto the crucial topic of fuel economy and range. The Honda CR-V Hybrid is the winner here, with the EU fuel economy cycle suggesting the Honda will see 53.4mpg combined, 50.4 urban, and 54.3 extra urban. Test figures from various sources suggest real-world driving could see numbers around the 40-45mpg range judging by reports from Honda Accord Hybrid owners and motoring journalists. The petrol-only 1.5L CR-V ranks at 34.9mpg combined, so a substantial saving can be found in the hybrid option. The Hyundai is rated at 39mpg US or 47mpg UK combined. Real-world figures are yet to be determined; however, the lower fuel economy figure in comparison to the Honda is offset by the fact the Tucson has a larger 78L fuel tank. The CR-V Hybrid only has a 57.6L tank. Due to the vast differences in petrol prices around the world, an accurate range to expect is too difficult to illustrate at this point in time.

Starting with engine specifications, a 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder is found in the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, paired with a 44kW electric motor for a combined 230HP and 258lb-ft with power delivered to all 4 wheels via a 6-speed automatic. No specification of the engine in the powertrain model offered in Europe was found. The Honda CR-V Hybrid borrows the powertrain from the Honda Accord Hybrid (which will get its own review shortly). A 2.0L in-line four, also with a 44kW electric motor, offers a combined 212HP and 232lb-ft. It drives all 4 wheels through an e-CVT. It is worth noting that the Honda CR-V Hybrid makes more power than the non-hybrid EU spec CR-V, which is sold with a 1.5L VTEC Turbo producing 173HP and 162lb-ft as the only engine option.

2.1. Engine Specifications

The main function of these engine setups is to enable the CR-V to achieve significantly better fuel economy figures than the Tucson. Honda claims the CR-V will manage 53.3 miles per gallon on the new WLTP cycle and will mix between petrol and electric power with EV mode for short distances. Meanwhile, the Tucson on a combined cycle will only manage around 47.1 miles per gallon, and while it too can run with zero emissions it doesn't have an EV mode, the engine simply collaborates with electric power based on driving situations. Factors such as weight, economy modes, and drive patterns will also affect fuel economy on both vehicles, but it's clear that the CR-V has the advantage here.

Both SUVs use a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder naturally aspirated engine in combination with electrical motors to move you, however past that the similarities cease. The CR-V uses a much less efficient Atkinson cycle engine, ultimately producing a total of 212 bhp with its electric motor, and has no mechanical powertrain, which means there's no direct connection between the gasoline engine and wheels. Instead, the engine operates as a generator to provide electricity to the electric drive motor or to charge the battery. The Tucson, nevertheless, has a more traditional setup utilizing the electric motor to assist the gasoline engine directly, and allowing for a complete system output of 230 bhp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The difference in ability to send power directly to the wheels leads to a notable difference in performance, but we'll get to that later.

2.2. Fuel Economy and Range

The Hyundai Tucson Hybrid is equipped with a 1.6L inline-4 engine which is paired with an electric motor drivetrain offering a combined output of 230hp and up to 258 lb-ft of torque (with the AWD system). In contrast, the Honda CR-V Hybrid uses a 2nd generation 2-motor hybrid powertrain, that teams a highly efficient 2.0-litre i-VTEC inline 4-cylinder Atkinson cycle gasoline engine to an electric propulsion motor that produces 143hp and 129 lb-ft of torque. The system in the CR-V is mated to an electric continuously variable transmission (e-CVT) that transfers power to the wheels. Both the Tucson and CR-V provide the option of an all-wheel drive powertrain system. When it comes to fuel economy, the two vehicles are relatively similar on paper with the specification of the Tucson Hybrid at 37-38 mpg combined and the CR-V hybrid touting exactly 38 mpg combined, the difference may be seen in real-world usage due to the weight, aerodynamics, and tire resistance. The CR-V Hybrid offers 5 drive modes: EV Drive, Hybrid Drive, Engine Drive, and a mode that contributes to each of the 3 aforementioned modes; these will adjust automatically based on driving conditions and driver input influencing the potential fuel economy. The Tucson offers similar modes with Eco, Sport, and Smart available, altering the driving characteristics to favor economy or performance. The EV mode is driver-selectable, but the system will relegate to EV or Hybrid mode based on driving conditions to optimize efficiency. Both vehicles aim to provide a smooth and efficient transition between the power sources, in the CR-V Hybrid the driver will feel less frequent gear changes due to high ratio operation of the motor and engine.

2.3. Acceleration and Top Speed

The top speed in a hybrid vehicle is quite low, ranging between 99-112 mph for the CR-V to about 193 km/h for the Lexus. All hybrids tend to reach their top speed quite slowly, and this is not a priority when it comes to designing a hybrid system. Both vehicles have an electronically controlled variable transmission, which is a weird and convoluted way to say that they have a CVT, and they also both have on-demand all-wheel drive for those slippery conditions. However, the 0-97 km/h acceleration is a much more relevant measure for getting up to speed on the freeway, or to help you determine how quick the car will be taking off from lights and intersections. The CR-V Hybrid is quite slow even by hybrid standards, with an acceleration time of 7.6 seconds. The 2.0L petrol Tucson hybrid, on the other hand, is faster than you would expect of a hybrid, with a 0-100 km/h time of a little over 10 seconds. The vehicle is almost 300 kg lighter than the CR-V, and the engine has more power, but these numbers are primarily due to the contributions of both the electric motor and the battery to the acceleration performance of the car. Unfortunately, these performance values are probably no small part of an indictment on the currently sad state of hybrid SUVs.

3. Features and Technology

The CR-V has an available wireless phone charger and 3 years of HondaLink Assist, which includes 24-hour emergency service. From 2014 and newer, it will also have compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An available navigation system is also offered. The Tucson has an 8-inch color touchscreen and is available in a few different trim levels with the option of adding premium features such as voice recognition and a navigation system. Both vehicles offer rearview cameras, but only the Tucson has Dynamic Guidelines, which will rotate the display to predict the vehicle's path.

While the Honda CR-V has numerous safety-enhancing features, the Hyundai Tucson offers various advanced safety features, many focused on collision avoidance. These include: Downhill Brake Control (DBC), Hillstart Assist Control (HAC), Brake Assist System (BAS), and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control System (TCS) and ABS. All of these features work together to assist the driver in avoiding a collision in inclement weather on many types of road surfaces. Both of these vehicles offer active front head restraints and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) to enhance safety during daily driving. Combine these with Hyundai's 5-mile-per-hour bumpers, front crumple zones, and seat folding rear head restraints, and it's easy to see why the IIHS awarded both vehicles a Top Safety Pick rating.

Honda CR-V Hybrid and Hyundai Tucson Hybrid both offer various technology features, with each vehicle having a different type of that feature. Honda CR-V uses SmartVent airbag technology which can ensure the safety of both the driver and the passenger. A Multi Endpoint Reversing system is a very unique feature of Honda. It will remember and return to the starting position and the speed the driver took the vehicle to a certain position. It can store information for four different positions and speeds. With the Drive By Log HDD, the vehicle will be able to record without a camera equipment by matching the sensor information with the speed and steering angle. This feature is useful in determining the cause of an accident. Honda CR-V also has a Wiper Linked Headlight which provides good visibility when turning on the wiper in wretched weather. Finally, with the HTM (Hill Start Assist), the driver can determine the slope and keep the vehicle from rolling.

3.1. Safety Features

Step up to the CR-V Hybrid Touring and above, and they offer very similar safety and driver assist features, the main differences being, Honda LaneWatch gets replaced with Blind Spot Information System in the CR-V EX and FWD models, and the Tucson Limited adds Remote Smart Parking Assist. Both vehicles received top safety ratings, with the 2023 Tucson yet to be rated by the IIHS.

The base Tucson Blue Hybrid features Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, and Driver Attention Warning as standard. Moving up to the Tucson Hybrid SEL adds Blind-Spot Collision Warning and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist. The Tucson Hybrid Limited adds parking collision-avoidance and a Surround View Monitor.

Both the Tucson and CR-V are available with a variety of advanced safety and driver assist features, many of which are reserved for higher trim levels. The Honda Sensing suite of features comes standard on all CR-V trims and includes adaptive cruise control, collision-mitigation braking, and road-departure mitigation.

3.2. Infotainment System

The Honda CR-V has a 9-inch touchscreen that will come standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a wireless phone charger, and a wifi hotspot with the purchase of the Touring trim level. Honda Civics and Accords have recently acquired a volume knob and tuning knob that many are hoping will make its way to the CR-V, but only time will tell. The lack of a tuning knob paired with the use of laggy touch buttons should be a very discouraging factor for those who spend lots of time browsing for music and radio stations. Both hybrid and gasoline CR-V models will have the same infotainment options. Android Auto as a digital car key, an option that has been available for iPhone users with Apple CarPlay for quite some time now. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be used to boot a plethora of apps, including the new Gmail and Google Calendar app specially designed for driving, and a new encrypted message feature for those who want a nifty way to send text messages via voice. The CR-V has a 6-speaker sound system standard for the LX, EX, and EX-L. However, the Touring trim model has an upgrade to a 9-speaker system with a 330-watt premium audio and Sony's S-Force front surround system for that high-quality sound. This could be a big selling point for audiophiles who are still not satisfied with factory audio and find it too costly to replace or upgrade speaker systems in a new car. The CR-V also has a 7-inch driver meter display and a push-button gear selection panel.

3.3. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Now, comparing the physical features. Both SUVs have automatic cruise control and lane-keeping assistance. The Hyundai has highway driving assist, which can keep the vehicle centered in its lane and at a safe distance behind other vehicles. The Honda has similar features and something called traffic jam assist. This can keep the vehicle centered in its lane and at a safe distance behind other vehicles, much like highway driving assist, but it can also follow the car in front of it in stop-and-go traffic and bring the vehicle to a complete stop. Both systems are quite advanced, and it's a tough call to say which is better. The Hyundai system may be on the simpler side, but it has a better chance of with less room for error, given that it will not take full control of the vehicle. The Honda system is more comprehensive but is more complicated with more room for malfunction. Come 2023, the Honda system is more advanced, the Tucson system will likely be offered as an upgrade on the base model versions. Both SUVs have various sensors and cameras and plenty of active safety features, but the specifics vary by trim level.

The advanced driver-assistance may be something to strongly consider. These systems are designed to automate and enhance safety by taking over control of the vehicle. Drivers should be aware that these systems are classified on a scale from 0-5. The Honda CR-V Hybrid features Honda Sensing technology, which is in the middle of the scale, level 2.5. It is a step above the previous Honda system and other competitors, featuring updated sensors, cameras, and a more efficient processor. The Hyundai Tucson Hybrid has a Remote Smart Parking Assist feature, and it is currently only one of 4 Hyundai models to feature this technology. Hyundai also has ProPilot 2.0 technology, and the plan to implement this system is quite aggressive, trying to include it in 85% of all vehicles by 2024. Given that the level 2.5 Honda Sensing technology is on the newer side, it may be on par with the Hyundai technology when 2023 rolls around, and at the least, Honda Sensing will be an available feature on the CR-V Hybrid. At this moment in time, however, the more advanced system is the Hyundai ProPilot 2.0 system.

3.4. Connectivity and Convenience Features

Hyundai has a function that amplifies a driver's phone to use it for emergencies and other necessities when far away from their device. This could be useful for those who require a phone for communication but have difficulty keeping it in the vehicle. Step back and back remembered features exist in both cars, but Hyundai has gone one step further with developing a function that reminds you to check the back seats if the rear doors were used before the trip for the safety of small children.

Both of these cars have a Wi-Fi hotspot with a free trial period. They also have smartphone integration in that they both support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, Honda has a smart satellite navigation app, whereas Hyundai has a regular navigation function. Regular navigation systems are dependent on the car's networks, thus needs internet access, whereas Honda's system does not require that.

Honda CR-V Hybrid has a wireless charging station as opposed to a wired link in comparison to Hyundai Tucson. Both of these cars have a dashboard that has an application menu, but in comparison to Honda, the Hyundai has dark themes. It greatly reduces the illumination and eases the eyes at night. The screen size in Hyundai is 10.25 inches as opposed to 9 inches of Honda's. Audiophiles would prefer the sound system in Hyundai, which is a Bose sound system consisting of 8 speakers.

4. Price and Availability

The Hyundai Tucson Hybrid 2023 will launch later in the year. We have yet to receive an official release date, but it is expected to be released toward the end of the year. The non-hybrid 2022 Tucson that this new model is replacing has a starting price of $24,187. The 2023 Tucson Hybrid will likely have a more expensive starting price than this, due to it being a more expensive model. Pricing has not yet been confirmed, so we cannot compare prices at this time. Configuration for the 2023 Tucson Hybrid should remain similar. The 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid will likewise be released later in the year. Car and Driver reports that the CR-V Hybrid's price will rise slightly in the 2023 model year, by roughly $1200. This will likely make the starting price around $29,000-30,000. The 2022 CR-V Hybrid has a starting price of $30,560, so this estimate might be a bit conservative. Configuration should also remain similar to the 2022 model. With these projected prices, the Tucson Hybrid will be the cheaper option, and likely one of the cheapest options in this segment. This should take effect as a big influence for drivers considering an AWD vehicle from a reputable brand. Both models will still be more expensive than traditional gasoline-powered SUVs, but it is always good to see more affordable AWD hybrid options on the market.

4.1. Pricing Comparison

Hyundai launched an all-new 2022 Tucson as a 2022 model year vehicle. Hyundai has made a significant change in market strategy in the past decade to improve brand image and increase market share by offering substantial product value at competitive pricing, and the new Tucson certainly reflects that. During a recent period of sales decline, Hyundai and Kia continued to attempt to increase sales and have maintained incentives and increased sales through improved SUV and light truck sales. The previous vehicle generation grew market share largely through incentives and competitive pricing, but the new Tucson represents a significant improvement in brand image and market positioning and can likely be considered an attempt to move more upmarket to compete with vehicles in the CR-V compact SUV class. This could be a consideration for a price increase of the new Tucson compared to the previous generation in the absence of incentives and the desire to capture increased profit with less sales volume. During previous vehicle launches, the price of new generation Hyundai vehicles has increased compared to the previous generation but remained below similarly equipped vehicles in their classes.

Honda launched an all-new CR-V for the 2020 model year as a carryover of the 2019 model. Honda has also made a heavy push in recent years to capture a greater share of the light truck and SUV market. To that end, we could speculate that Honda may be attempting to grow market share through sales increases as they have done with previous vehicle launches. Because of this, it can be expected that Honda will not significantly increase the price of the CR-V.

Both the Hyundai Tucson and the Honda CR-V are in the same compact SUV vehicle class, so current sales trends may offer some insight about pricing strategies. Pricing strategies are a big part of a manufacturer's new vehicle launch. It can be difficult to determine whether a manufacturer is planning to position a vehicle in a different segment or simply attempting to gain market share with more competitive pricing. Unfortunately, the price of the hybrid version of the 2022 Tucson was not initially available, so a direct comparison of the Tucson Hybrid and CR-V Hybrid is not possible. As a result, I will compare pricing trends for the gasoline versions of these vehicles to determine their relative price positions within their segments.

4.2. Availability and Release Date

Hyundai announced that the new Tucson Hybrid would be available on the market in the first half of 2022. This has caused some confusion in the automotive market, as the 2022 model will still be a gasoline-powered vehicle. The confusion arises because Hyundai's model years are different than the calendar year. Unlike many manufacturers who release a model year in the late months of the prior calendar year, Hyundai releases the model year around mid-to-late calendar year. So, the 2022 Tucson Hybrid will not follow the traditional schedule that its model year would suggest, it will actually be a 2022 model released in the 2021 calendar year. As a result, the 2022 Tucson Hybrid will essentially come out 6 months after the traditional release schedule for a 2022 model. This can cause confusion for consumers that may think the Hybrid is not yet released, and just finished production. The 2023 Tucson Hybrid, as the name suggests, will be a 2023 model released in the traditional calendar year and will be available in the earlier months of 2023. On the other hand, Honda has taken a much clearer approach to the release schedule of the CR-V Hybrid. The 2020 CR-V Hybrid hit the market in March of 2020. The 2020 model was actually a 2021 model year, released in the early months of 2020. Assuming Honda follows a similar schedule, we could expect the 2023 CR-V to be available in the early months of 2023. This would line up quite nicely with the Tucson Hybrid, and provide consumers with a clear choice between the two vehicles that will likely be cross-shopped quite frequently.