site search by freefind
MotorBar
Honda CR-V 2.0i-MMD AWD Hybrid EX e-CVT
Click to view picture gallery“Many 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 — Honda’s 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.

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...”
Using 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.

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.

Adding substantially
to the driving pleasure
is a well-sorted ride.
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.
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
...”
Adding 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.

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.

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...”
As 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.

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.

Plip open the handsfree
powered tailgate and
even though much of the
Hybrid
s electric gubbins
are fitted under the boot
floor, there
s still plenty
of luggage room
the
regular-shaped boot
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
a real
help when pushing long,
bulky items aboard...
Other 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.

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 twisties.

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 | 41,155
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 9.2 seconds | Test Average: 44.6mpg
Power: 143bhp+181bhp | Torque: 129lb ft+232lb ft
| CO2: 126g/km
.