Motoring and Property Editor
3:40 PM 7th February 2019
Honda CR-V Now With Hybrid Power
Honda has been selling the CR-V since 1995 and as each generation passes, the new model moves the game on in key areas. More refinement, better safety equipment, lower emissions and more toys has been the order of the day.
In line with many other manufacturers, Honda has made the decision to cease installing diesel engines in many of its models. Instead it sees a combination of a petrol engine and batteries as the future.
A little explanation is called for here methinks...
The Honda system combines two electric motors, a 143bhp 2.0-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine, a lithium-ion battery and a fixed gear transmission. It aims to deliver high levels of refinement, responsiveness and efficiency.
Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models are available with prices starting at £25,995, rising to £37,305 for a top-spec EX variant.
Now slightly longer and with an extended wheelbase, this has allowed Honda to create a more spacious interior for both passengers and luggage. Honda does now offer a seven seat option, but not with hybrid versions, as the space is needed for the batteries.
Interior quality has been improved, so expect to find soft touch plastics, leather seats in most models and plush carpeting. There’s a touch of faux wood on the dash, a tad 1980s perhaps...
Equipment levels are high with alloy wheels, a large touchscreen, climate controlled air conditioning and Apple Car Play a standard fit across the range.
The UK Media launch took place in Yorkshire and it was a delight to be able to test the new CR-V on some fine driving roads. From fast dual carriageway to icy rural moorland tracks, we tackled them all.
At cruising speeds the CR-V offers a comfortable ride and an absence of wind and road noise. Our top spec cars came fitted with adaptive cruise control which when set, happily maintained a safe distance from the car in front and also offered steering support.
Away from the steady cruise and things can get a little noisier especially if you adopt a press-on driving style. The source of the noise is the engine, which thanks to the innovative fixed gear transmission, means that when a sudden burst of acceleration is called for, maximum engine revs ensue until the required speed is reached or you back off the pedal...
It is much less of an issue if you adopt a more relaxed gait.
Honda quotes a 0-62mph sprint time 9.2 seconds for an all-wheel drive version if that sort of thing interests.
Of more importance perhaps are the hybrid CR-V’s green credentials and on paper the figures make for good reading. Up to 53mpg is quoted for the combined cycle and low emissions of 126g/km CO2.
On our two hour test route we achieved around 36mpg. I would hazard a guess that around 40mpg should be attainable with a more relaxed approach...
Although under instruction not to venture off the beaten track in our all-wheel drive test car, we did tackle a short muddy track. In normal driving, power is fed to the front wheels. When they start to lose grip, up to 60% of the power can be seamlessly fed to the rear wheels.
The system works in practice and has obvious benefits to the car’s overall economy figures. As we appear to be getting harsher winters, specifying the AWD system would seem sensible at a cost of an extra £1,100.
Safety and security behind the wheel is the CR-V way. High speed cornering is undramatic, but there is little to encourage an exuberant driving style. The car is clearly set up more with comfort in mind and I am sure most buyers will approve.
The Swindon-built CR-V is a quality product aimed at a knowledgeable and affluent audience. Traditionally Honda buyers tend to buy the top specification models and I see no reason why this will not continue to be the case.
As legislators increasingly demonise diesel, Honda’s move to offering hybrid petrol engines seems to be a sensible one.
The high mileage motorist will bemoan this move, but for a family looking for a spacious, well-built family SUV, the new CR-V will be ideal.
Factor in Honda’s enviable reputation for build quality and reliability, putting your cash into the latest CR-V may well be a smart move.
Fast Facts (as tested)
Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid EX
Metallic paint add £550
0-62mph in 9.2 seconds
Top speed 112mph
Fuel economy 51.4mpg for the combined cycle
Emissions – 126g/km CO2