CR-V 2.0i-MMD AWD Hybrid EX e-CVT
drivers still secretly yearn
for a diesel under their bonnet.
Mostly this is down to their fuel-
sipping economy. Unfortunately,
diesel cars are now racing down
the same extinction road as the
dodo. But there is a persuasive
alternative Hondas Hybrid SUV...
FOR ALL THOSE SUV FANS who count on four-wheel drive underpinning their
driving, it's the CR-V AWD that will be your 'car of interest'. And with its
fully self-charging petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain and satisfyingly low thirst,
it offers diesel aficionados a double dose of good news.
You don't have to understand electricity to flick a switch and turn on the lights
in your home; likewise, you don't actually need to know what goes on under your
bonnet. However, just for the record, most of the time the Honda's 'e-CVT' hybrid
powertrain uses its 2.0-litre petrol engine (143bhp/129lb ft of torque) not
as a primary driver but as a generator to power an 181bhp electric motor that
charges the battery pack that feeds the electric motor (with a muscular 232lb
ft of torque) that drives the wheels. On the road this means that, unlike so-called
'mild' hybrids, the CR-V's hybrid unit delivers instant electrified performance
whenever your right foot asks for it.
the CR-V.s autobox couldn't be easier. Easily to hand where you'd find a normal
selector lever are four buttons: P, R, N, D. In addition you can select your
preferred driving style: Sport, ECON, and EV (Electric Vehicle). And for a spot
of direct manual control you'll find paddle-shifters on the steering wheel.
really matters is
that given its lively
performance, with decent
step-off and ample
oomph whenever you put
your foot down,
driving the CR-V Hybrid
is an honest pleasure.
The numbers are good
too: from standstill to
the benchmark 62mph
clocks in 9.2 seconds;
and at 112mph, the top
speed is an easy fit
with the UKs
limited motorways and
To make this all happen as smoothly as possible, the CR-V's hybrid powertrain
cycles between full Electric Vehicle mode (engine off and the battery doling
out the drive, Hybrid mode (engine running and charging the battery to power
the electric motor), and Engine mode in this setting a lock-up clutch
enables the engine to directly drive the wheels. A CVT autobox delivers smooth
changes but what's most impressive is the seamless way the CR-V continuously
switches between these power sources as it manages the powertrain options.
Most of the time you'll never notice the combustion engine kicking in and out.
Better still, because the electric motor delivers the power for the bulk of
the driving, the CR-V feels more like a full EV, offering, as it does the instant,
max torque, throttle response and usefully quick pick-up that's the hallmark
of pure electric drivetrains. Sure, you know when the petrol engine is working
particularly when your right foot calls down to the engine room for some
determined acceleration. That noted, the CR-V Hybrid is even more hushed when
the petrol engine switches itself off.
What really matters is that given its lively performance, with decent step-off
and ample oomph whenever you put your foot down, driving the CR-V Hybrid is
an honest pleasure. The numbers are good too: from standstill to the benchmark
62mph clocks in 9.2 seconds; and at 112mph, the top speed is an easy fit with
the UK's 70mph-limited motorways and dual-carriageways.
Crucially, economy-wise, for many making the switch to hybrid from oil-burner,
the CR-V comes up trumps: a week's hard driving in mixed conditions over a full
range of roads rewarded us with a real-world combined test average of 44.6mpg
good enough to ensure you don't ever miss that good old, bad old familiar
diesel rattle! Officially the Hybrid returns 39.2mpg (Combined) and 48.7mpg
(Touring). Longer runs often lifted the mpg to 50. Commendable from an automatic,
four-wheel drive, large SUV. For the record, there are ECON and EV modes, respectively
for maximising economy and whispering through emission penalising city zones.
And the CR-V looks good too. Undeniably handsome from all angles, the latest
CR-V Hybrid models are, under the bodywork, not quite identical to their range-sisters.
Due to the hybrid hardware installed in the back, Hybrids models come configured
only as five-seaters; however, for the majority of motorists it's an arrangement
that's perfectly fine.
substantially to the driving pleasure is the well-sorted ride not always
the case with bigger SUVs. Even on not-so-brilliant blacktop the CR-V's fluent
suspension feels barely ruffled, dealing nonchalantly with that pox on Britain's
roads the ubiquitous pothole. Smaller imperfections are ironed out with
the insouciance of far more expensive cars and even speed humps are breezed
over pretty effortlessly. All in all it makes for a comfortable and relaxing
mile-eater. Body control is well managed too, so even those not usually keen
on sitting behind the driver will be able to chill out.
to the driving pleasure
is a well-sorted ride.
Even on not-so-brilliant
blacktop the CR-Vs
fluent suspension feels
barely ruffled, dealing
nonchalantly with that
pox on Britains
the ubiquitous pothole.
All in all it makes for a
comfortable and relaxing
mile-eater. Body control
is well managed too,
so even those not
usually keen on sitting
behind the driver will be
able to chill out...
These latest CR-V cut it on the twisties too. The chassis has been nicely fettled,
and the body feels reassuringly tied-down so there are no unpleasant surprises
even if you arrive a tad quicker than planned at a bend. The steering feels
light but sharp, and is clearly singing from the same hymn sheet. Overall, Honda's
five-seater SUV majors on self-assurance more than enough to keep most
drivers more than satisfied.
From behind the great-to-grip, multifunction steering wheel it's all tickety-boo
with a spot-on driving position underscored by excellent visibility (the slim-ish
A-pillars and deep front side windows help a lot too) that makes placing the
CR-V a breeze even in the worst traffic or when pressing on along country lanes.
Glance in the rearview mirror and there's plenty of glass for a decent view
of what's happening behind. Parking is likewise a doddle, courtesy of front
and rear sensors and a multi-view rear-lookin camera.
The shapely, supportive, and well-padded cream-coloured leather upholstered
seats really do look the biz and boost the overall ambiance, itself undeniably
smart and the quality emphasised by first-rate soft-touch materials and tasteful
finishings. Top dead centre of the dash is a 7-inch crystal clear infotainment
screen that's the ideal size thankfully, unlike too many these days,
it's not so big that it takes over the cockpit.
Getting aboard is effortless thanks to the wide-opening doors and the well-considered
height of the seats' hip-points. Once there you won't have any complaints about
the space the CR-V's wide cabin is extremely accommodating, with comfortable
seats and masses of leg- and headroom even the panoramic sunroof won't
cramp your hairstyle! The driver is pampered with full power seat adjustment
including a two-setting seat/mirror recall along with a heated rim for the wheel;
both front seats come with powered lumbar, three-stage seat heating, comfy headrests,
and height-adjustable seatbelts.
Other major 'plusses' include a dedicated panel for the two-zone climate system
with proper knobs and buttons that are both easier and safer to alter when driving
than having to look away from the road to stab a touchscreen (anytime you wish,
you can display the climate settings on the main screen). For just about everything
else the touchscreen is the convenient go-to.
well as accommodating people, the CR-V comes with generous storage solutions
for their 'stuff'. Pride of place goes to the huge locker between the front
seats capped by a large sliding armrest; beneath the armrest is a removeable
sliding tray arrangement that offers a customisable home for all your pocket
lint even a tablet or laptop. Add to that a practical glovebox plus big
bottle-holding door bins. A drop-down overhead glasses holder will keep your
shades safe, and, cleverly, also incorporates a wide-angle mirror so you can
check that any rear seat passengers are properly belted-up.
comms are all
youll need and accessed
via the touchscreen sited
conveniently at dash-
central the seven-inch
display is home to
Hondas Connect system
that brings built-in
Garmin 3D SatNav,
Infotainment, and a DAB
digital radio with a nine-
Theres also E-Call
a brilliant Head Up
display (shows posted
speed, current road
speed, and foolproof
graphic SatNav prompts)
and WiFi smartphone
charging along with
plenty of USB ports...
In flagship EX spec the Hybrid has all the bells and whistles including cream
leather upholstery, keyless entry and locking, keyless Start, All-Wheel Drive,
tinted and privacy glass, heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats,
dual-zone automatic climate control, powered tailgate (usefully, opened and
closed from the driver's seat as well as the key-fob), powered 8-way adjustable
driver's seat with memory recall, panoramic two-section glass roof (with fully-sliding
front section, one-shot controls, and blackout sunblind), powerfolding heated
door mirrors (on-demand and automatically when locking and leaving), four fast-acting,
one-shot up/down-op tinted windows, electric parking brake with auto-hold, and
a set of 18-inch metallic dark grey and machined face finish alloy wheels.
The comms are all you'll need and accessed via the touchscreen sited conveniently
at dash-central the seven-inch display is home to Honda's Connect system
that brings built-in Garmin 3D SatNav, Infotainment, and a DAB digital radio
with a nine-speaker stereo. There's also E-Call emergency response, a brilliant
Head Up display (shows posted speed, current road speed, and foolproof graphic
SatNav prompts) and WiFi smartphone charging along with plenty of USB ports.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring is standard so you can easily
use the touchscreen to control your phone's apps. The instrument panel is also
first-rate everything you might want or need is displayed logically,
and you can customise and prioritise the information to suit yourself.
Safety is equally well addressed with a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating plus
Honda's comprehensive advanced safety suite (automatic emergency braking with
Collison Mitigation Brake System, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assistance,
adaptive cruise control with Low Speed Follow, Intelligent Speed Limiter, etc).
You also get traffic sign recognition, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic
monitoring (alerts you to any vehicle approaching from either side when you're
reversing), emergency stop signalling, automatic dip/main switching, auto lights
and wipes, reverse-tilting door mirrors, windscreen wiper de-icing, LED taillights
and, for when darkness falls, bright-eyed LED headlights.
Passengers invited into the rear cabin will feel they're in the best seats thanks
to the massive amounts of personal room that put the CR-V right up there with
the best of big SUVs for head-, foot- and legroom. As limo-like as it is, the
CR-V's rear cabin is made even better because, unlike in the seven-seater pure-petrol
CR-Vs, passengers don't have to cede an inch to a third row and can make full
use of the adjustable backrests of the three-stage heated seats.
likeable features include the panoramic glass roof that extends back far enough
those travelling in the back to benefit from the sky views and feel the sun
on their faces, stadium seating that sits you higher than those up front and
long, deep side windows for watching the world slide by, good-sized bottle-holding
door bins, proper reading lights, large pouches on the front seatbacks, a wide
and well-padded centre armrest with built-in cupholders complemented by large
outer armrests, central air vents, and a pair of USB charging ports.
open the handsfree
powered tailgate and
even though much of the
are fitted under the boot
of luggage room
swallows 497 litres of
luggage. Maxed out in
full loadbay mode and
loaded to the window
line, the boot area zooms
to 1,059 litres; load to
the roof and cargo
capacity jumps to 1,638
litres. The loadbay floor
is also seamless
help when pushing long,
bulky items aboard...
Even three sitting side-by-side is not a squeeze in the wide back compartment.
The minimal-height central floor tunnel means passengers using the middle seat
can actually enjoy a comfy journey. Add to that 90-degree-opening doors and
the usually tricky business of fitting child seats (and the youngsters to go
in them!) becomes a breeze. Topping it all is the way the CR-V's well-behaved
ride doubles down on the physical comfort, its ingrained sense of calm making
it a great place to travel, not least on long motorway trips, as the Hybrid
creams along at the legal limit.
While comfort is a given, the Hybrid also delivers the necessary handling agility
for drivers who need to press on. Thanks to reassuring stability and nimble
handling, responsive and nicely weighted steering and in spite a useful
200mm ground clearance the CR-V Hybrid drives well enough to be enjoyable
to pilot at more than just a comfy canter especially when cutting through the
Plip open the handsfree powered tailgate and you'll find that even though much
of the Hybrid's electric gubbins are installed beneath the boot floor, there's
still plenty of luggage room. In five-seat mode the regular-shaped boot swallows
497 litres of luggage. Need more? Just pull the levers at the tailgate end to
release and fold the rear seats and you'll appreciate the hassle-free. practicality
of this 4.6-metre-long SUV.
Honda has a reputation for going 'one better'. The CR-V's rear seats are cleverer
than those in many other cars as the backrests flop down, their seat
bases simultaneously sink lower into the floor. Not only do the folded seatbacks
then sit perfectly flat (many don't) but you also get a deeper load space.
Maxed out in full loadbay mode and loaded to the window line the boot size zooms
to 1,059 litres; load to the roof and this significantly increases cargo capacity,
to 1,638 litres. The loadbay floor is also seamless a real help when
pushing longer and bulkier cargo aboard. Even better, there's no pesky load
lip to get in the way when lifting items in or out. Finally, should you need
to pull a trailer the Hybrid is good for a braked 750kg; plus the roof will
support another 75kg.
Whatever your reasons for ditching 'Dirty Di', the CR-V Hybrid will repay you
with excellent fuel economy and a heap of other benefits. Right from the get-go
it wraps you in its friendly, high-quality ambiance, it's extremely comfortable
to travel in, and it's a practical and spacious SUV to own with satisfying hybrid
performance. Happily it's also completely free of any nagging 'range anxiety'
issues. One of the most likeable and appealing large SUVs you can buy. ~ MotorBar
Honda CR-V 2.0i-MMD AWD Hybrid EX e-CVT
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 9.2 seconds | Test Average: 44.6mpg
Power: 143bhp+181bhp | Torque: 129lb ft+232lb ft
| CO2: 126g/km