We recently had the pleasure of Honda’s hybrid CR-V. It’s a very nice vehicle and was a big hit with my family. More on that later. Our car was the SR, one below the top EX spec, so was very well equipped with leather upholstery, a suite of electronic aids and toys such as lane-keeping assist system, brake assist (BA), vehicle stability assist (VSA), adaptive cruise control / intelligent adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition system, low-speed following, honda connect™ infotainment system with 7” touchscreen and Garmin satellite navigation and so much more.
At the end of the day, it’s a Honda, so is very well built and well equipped as you would expect. The only things we felt were missing were electrically adjustable front seats, electric tailgate, maybe a glass roof. (Apart from the tailgate, these features can be found on the EX model.)
You may have spotted that this is the CR-V Hybrid. That means that this has a conventional petrol engine, in this case, a 2.0L, and also has a battery and electric motors. This drives through a CVT gearbox which is essentially a type of automatic gearbox and is very smooth.
The CR-V seamlessly switches from electric to petrol depending on conditions and how much charge is in the battery. You can hardly detect the car managing this for you and switching from one to the other.
For example, if you are driving around town with a good amount of charge in the battery, you will probably be using the electric motors (which means the car is almost silent). When that runs down or the speed increases, the petrol engine takes over or joins in. It’s very clever and incredibly smooth.
In terms of power figures, the petrol engine produces 143bhp and 175Nm torque and the electric drive produces 183bhp and 315Nm torque. This model is 2wd but they also offer the CR-V in 4wd if that is your preference.
You don’t need to plug this in either, it generates its own electricity from either the engine or from your braking. When you slow down, the electric motors work as dynamos and generate electricity. You can see the battery level increasing on the dashboard, as you slow down.
It’s a great system and is a real pleasure to drive. It’s economical too.
We have only really been able to do short local journeys due to lockdown, even though the restrictions have eased somewhat, and we are seeing over 40mpg. Remember, this is a well equipped, good sized SUV, so we think this is great. Honda quote WLTP combined economy figure of 40.9mpg which we would say is very realistic, in fact, we would expect to do better in the real world.
An interesting by-product of the electric drive is noise or lack of it. Generally, when you pull of from stationary, you will be under electric power. This means it will be very smooth and also almost silent. It’s great for those mornings when you want to be quiet and is quite a novel experience too. In car parks and at crossings and the like, you often see people doing a double-take as you silently waft off.
I’m a fan of Honda’s. I’ve had a few over the years and appreciate the engineering that goes into them. The CR-V is no exceptions. The interior of the CR-V is a very pleasant place to be. It’s refined, spacious and comfortable, with plenty of room front and rear. You just know that in 15 years, this interior will look pretty much exactly the same too, thanks to Honda’s legendary build quality.
Overall we loved our time with the CR-V. There is a 7 seat version available now but not in hybrid form due to the space needed for the battery. There is no diesel variant available anymore either.
Perhaps the ultimate validation of the CR-V is that my wife keeps asking me if we have to give it back, and if so can I get a lease quote for one. We get to try lots of different cars and if she’s happy, that’s enough for me.
Hondas CR-V starts at S £27.270 for the 1.5 turbo S 5 seater. Our SR hybrid was £34,840 + £850 for the metallic paint option.