2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid earns Top Safety Pick from IIHS

It'll sip fuel and keep passengers mighty safe.

Smart, frugal and safe.

Honda wants a piece of families' hearts -- and driveways -- with its updated 2020 CR-V. Notably this year, the Japanese automaker will sell customers a CR-V Hybrid that returns pretty great fuel economy, even if the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid one-ups it.

But Honda can load up with yet more marketing ammo after the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the CR-V Hybrid a Top Safety Pick on Tuesday. The hybrid model's rating mirrors the standard CR-V.

The award means the 2020 CR-V Hybrid met the IIHS' updated and more challenging criteria to earn the award this year. Now the IIHS mandates winners must earn a Good rating in all six crash tests, score top marks in frontal-crash protection (vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian) and offer Acceptable- or Good-rated headlights. The big changes are in the crash-test portion of the safety exam. Previously, winners could skirt by with an Acceptable rating in one crash test, specifically, the passenger-side small overlap test. The criteria for a Top Safety Pick Plus award is even more challenging this year.

The CR-V Hybrid aced each portion and squeezed by with Acceptable-rated headlights. They're standard on every single trim, while the standard CR-V's Touring trim offers Good-rated headlights. Other more affordable CR-V trims only scored a Marginal mark for their headlights, however. As is often the case, the safety award is not a blanket accolade.

Prices for the CR-V Hybrid start at $28,870 after a destination charge. It's slightly cheaper than the most affordable RAV4 Hybrid, but the Honda manages to return 38 mpg combined compared to the Toyota's 40 mpg combined estimate.

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