Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
9:43 AM 26th October 2019

Hybrid Power For Honda’s Popular CR-V

According to Honda, the CR-V is the world’s best-selling SUV. On sale since 1995, as each generation passes, the new model moves the game forward in key areas. More refinement, better safety equipment, lower emissions and more toys has been the order of the day.

With diesel engines falling rapidly out of favour, the latest CR-V is being offered with petrol engines only, some with hybrid power.

On test here is a top spec EX model, fitted with a 143bhp 2.0-litre engine which combines with two electric motors, a lithium-ion battery and fixed gear transmission. The aim is to deliver high levels of refinement, responsiveness and efficiency – we’ll see!

The CR-V can be had for as little as £25,995, though the EX tops the price list at a heady £37,305. The competition is now fierce and the choice bewildering, but rest assured that those attractive Honda virtues of top-notch build quality, ease of use and reliability all seem present and correct with the CR-V.

An extended wheelbase has allowed Honda to create a more spacious interior for both passengers and luggage. A seven-seat option is now available but not with hybrid versions as the space is needed for the batteries.

Rear passengers will enjoy a surfeit of head and legroom and the luggage compartment a gargantuan 497 litres.

Soft touch plastics abound, the leather seats suitably cossetting and carpeting plush. There’s even a touch of faux wood on the dashboard…
The EX trim level wants for nothing with an opening panoramic sunroof, climate-controlled air conditioning and a head-up display amongst the highlights.

I had a busy week behind the wheel which encompassed plenty of local running around, a few days at the seaside, a car launch in the Lake District and a quick round trip to Manchester airport – 600+ miles in total, 39.1mpg displayed on the trip computer as the car departed. A fair result though I would mention that I achieved over 50mpg from a hybrid Toyota RAV4 a few months back…

However, in this post diesel world, 40mpg from a large family SUV seems quite reasonable and there is the option of some short distance battery only running when in an urban environment. A plug-in CR-V is on the horizon no doubt.

As a motorway cruiser, the CR-V acquits itself very well. Wind and engine noise are well muted, but there is a tad more road noise than is perhaps desirable. Away from the high-speed cruise, the CR-V can be hustled along the twisty stuff. Ultimately the car’s high centre of gravity engenders a tad too much body roll, to the discomfort of passengers (as they were quick to point out).

More emphasis has been placed on ride comfort, which for this type of vehicle makes sense.

Honda quotes a 0-62mph sprint time of 9.2 seconds with all-wheel drive and this seems quite believable. However, full bore acceleration is a noisy affair as the engine and CVT transmission play catch up. Most of the time however the engine remains reasonably muted.

I had no time to fully test the AWD system. In normal driving, power is fed to the front wheels. When they begin to lose grip, up to 60% of that power can be seamlessly fed to the rear wheels. An extra £1,100 pounds is required and will be money well spent for the rural dweller.

The CR-V is a quality product aimed at a knowledgeable and affluent audience. Traditionally Honda buyers tend to opt for the top specification models, and I can see this continuing. The move to hybrid power is a sensible one and all but the very highest mileage drivers will be happy.

Factor in Honda’s enviable reputation for build quality and reliability, putting your money into the latest CR-V may well be a smart move.

Fast Facts

Honda CR-V Hybrid EX – AWD CVT
Price £37,305
Metallic paint add £550
0-62mph in 9.2 seconds
Top speed 112mph
Economy 51.4mpg (combined cycle -NEDC)
Test economy 39.1mpg
Emissions 126g/km CO2