Honda CR-V Hybrid Review | AA Cars

Summary

With SUVs proving so popular, it’s no surprise that manufacturers are taking advantage of such lucrative models with new hybrid options. Plug-in models are proving especially popular, but regular hybrids are also a compelling option. One of the latest is Honda’s CR-V Hybrid.

Pros 

  • Efficient around town
  • Refined 
  • Lots of standard kit 

Cons 

  • No seven-seat option
  • Uninspiring to drive
  • Slow touchscreen system

Introduction

The CR-V is Honda’s most popular car across the globe. It’s been around since 1995 and has attracted a loyal audience in that time, building a reputation for comfort, practicality and reliability. It was produced in the UK between 2000 and 2018, and was a key contributor to UK automotive manufacturing. 

This latest fifth-generation is the first not to be produced at its plant in Swindon. It’s also quite a radical change from the norm, as Honda has ditched its usual diesel engines. But is this the right decision? 

Latest model

The latest fifth-generation CR-V arrived on sale in 2018, and quickly impressed with its bold design and improved spaciousness (its longer wheelbase provides more interior space). The design was altered from previous versions with this CR-V looking bolder than ever with a prominent front grille and chrome detailing. 

But it’s the hybrid that’s the big news here, which re-established Honda’s electrified presence after the firm was without such a model in its range for several years. The innovative powertrain, which essentially replaces a diesel version, is offered with front- or all-wheel-drive, and impresses with its urban efficiency. 

Driving feel 

Since the CR-V arrived in the ‘90s, it’s been at its best when driven leisurely – refinement and comfort being two areas where it impresses. And the introduction of this Hybrid model fits that perfectly. 

As it’s a regular hybrid, rather than a plug-in, the majority of the time it runs on petrol with an electrical boost. But when trundling around town, the CR-V is impressively quiet and relaxing to drive. Sportiness isn’t its thing, so look elsewhere if you’re looking for something fun – the CVT automatic gearbox doesn’t respond well to harsh acceleration. 

Looks and image

In terms of styling, the CR-V isn’t radically different to its predecessor – or in fact, the model before that. But it’s arguably bolder than before, adopting US-inspired styling with its big grille and a heavy use of chrome all around the car. 

You also now get LED headlights at the front, while horizontal rear LED lights appear at the back and provide some cool road presence, especially at night-time. It’s arguably a better-looking car than before, and it’s certainly not as controversial to look at as other models in this sector – the Toyota RAV4, for example. 

Space

While the Honda CR-V Hybrid remains a spacious SUV, it’s not quite as versatile as the regular petrol version. While the normal CR-V offers a 7 seat option, the battery storage makes the Hybrid a strict 5-seater. That said, the third row is cramped anyway, so it’s not a huge loss. The boot itself has also been reduced in size from 561 litres to 497, though it’s still pretty roomy. 

The good news is that passenger space is entirely unaffected, with those in the rear seats likely to be impressed by just how much room is on offer. There are loads of useful cubby holes dotted around the cabin, too.  

Engines and running costs 

The CR-V Hybrid features a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine that’s mated to an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery. In total it produces 181bhp and 315Nm of torque – meaning it has 10bhp and 95Nm more torque than the regular petrol versions. A fun-sapping CVT automatic gearbox is used, while you can choose it with either front- or all-wheel-drive.  

In terms of performance, this model can accelerate from 0-60mph in 9 seconds and can reach a top speed of 112mph. In terms of efficiency, Honda claims it will return 53.3mpg and low CO2 emissions of 120g/km. Used around town (where the Hybrid makes the most sense), you’re likely to achieve those figures. However, if you do a lot of longer journeys and motorway miles, the Hybrid might not work out much cheaper to run than the petrol. 

Powertrains

  • 2.0-litre petrol engine mated to electric motor and battery (181bhp)

Rivals

  • Hyundai Kona Hybrid – from £23,160
  • Kia Niro – from £24,900
  • Lexus UX – from £29,950
  • Toyota RAV4 – from £30,790
  • Lexus NX – from £35,860

Trim levels 

Like the petrol CR-V, four trim levels are available. Equipment highlights and pricing are as follows.  

S – £30,500

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Automatic lights
  • Climate control
  • Cruise control
  • LED headlights
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Keyless entry and start
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • DAB radio
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Electric lumbar support (driver)

SE – £32,360

  • Leather steering wheel
  • Automatic wipers
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Reversing camera
  • Fog lights
  • Electrically folding door mirrors
  • Seven-inch touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Satellite navigation

SR – £34,840

  • Leather interior
  • LED fog lights
  • Heated front seats
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Roof rails
  • Privacy glass
  • Heated windscreen 

EX – £39,050

  • Heated steering wheel
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Head-up display
  • Electric tailgate
  • Heated rear seats
  • Electric driver’s seat

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