Honda CR-V e:HEV

   A quick Google search this evening seems to cast a doubt over whether the letters CR-V, as in Honda CR-V, stand for Compact Recreation Vehicle, or Comfortable Runabout Vehicle. Apparently, according to wikpedia (so perhaps we’ll never know for sure), Honda say it’s the latter: Comfortable Runabout Vehicle. Whereas the term Compact Recreation Vehicle was first used in a British car review article that was republished by Honda. I hasten to add that it wasn’t me that wrote said article.

    After a week of being the custodian of Honda’s latest CR-V I’m very much inclined to agree with the Comfortable rather than Compact bit. The CR-V is somewhat larger than it used to be – as it so ably demonstrated when I offered to drive three of my six-foot-plus tall friends out to dinner one evening. No one complained of a lack of either leg or headroom, and according to the largest one of the towering trio there was “sprawling space to spare”.  If you’re in the market for a very commodious 5-seater…

    As for whether or not I used the CR-V either as a runabout, or for recreation.

   In its week with me the CR-V tackled the daily commute, the weekly shop - a 40 mile round-trip from out here in The Far Unlit Unknown to somewhere barely any brighter, – plus trips to both Sussex for the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and Bedfordshire for the annual SMMT test day at Millbrook. Together we clocked-up over 850 miles, which is not the kind of mileage you’re inclined to do in something uncomfortable.

    Neither is it the kind of mileage you’re inclined to cover in something that’s uneconomical.

And that, brings us nicely round to being able to mention the fact that the new CR-V, the one I sampled, is now available as a hybrid. Notice, hybrid, not plug-in hybrid; there are no cables that need connecting here, thus you won’t be constantly looking for an empty charging point, or suffering from constant range anxiety.

     The only difference externally to that of more, shall we say traditionally, powered CR-V is the discreet eHEV badging. Fear not CR-V fans, you still get that familiar broad-hipped, high-riding, mid-sized SUV stance, albeit now with Honda’s recently revised “face” – which essentially means an updated grille and new headlamps.

   It’s the bits you can’t see that make the difference.

    The CR-V hybrid uses a unique powertrain that comprises of a 2.0litre Atkinson Cycle petrol engine and not one, but two, electric motors. One of the motors provides propulsion – at parking speed the CR-V moves on electric power alone – the other is a generator/motor that converts energy from the petrol engine into electricity, which can the either be used straightaway or stored in the car’s lithium-ion battery. Controlling it all is Honda’s Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) software, which not only offers three different driving modes; pure EV, Hybrid, or Drive (i.e petrol-powered), but also means from the driving seat the transition between power-sources is imperceptible.

    The downside to all of this new tech, if you can call it one, is that the CR-V hybrid uses a constant velocity transmission (CVT). Most of the time it’s as smooth as silk – press the drive button and that’s it. However, like all CVTs, when you need to overtake, you’re joining a motorway, or you’re going uphill and you need some extra oomph, that fixed-gear makes it sound as though you’re slipping the clutch while simultaneously revving the engine to the max; and it’s something that doesn’t stop until you lift –off again. Fortunately, Honda have fitted extra interior sound-proofing to help reduce any unwanted noise, but the fact remains that when really required to earn its keep the CR-V sounds more like an industrial vacuum-cleaner than it ever does and F1 championship winner. Not that you’ll ever be trying to set any lap-records in it that is, and driven sensibly you should easily see high 40s mpg.

     A couple of other things you may need to consider if a Hybrid CR-V currently tickles your fancy: It’s strictly a five-seater (there’s no seven-seat option), and towing-wise it’s limited to just 750kg. Also, the sat-nav and touchscreen is all a bit last generation in appearance and operation, and if I’m being really picky, some the interior plastics aren’t quite as premium-feeling as you might be expecting.

    You can get both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive variants however, both of which benefit from Honda SENSING; Honda’s suite of safety features which includes collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition, as standard and regardless of spec.

      When Honda launched the CR-V they more-or-less had the whole Compact (or was it Comfortable?) SUV market to themselves, whereas these days your local garage forecourt is awash with Sportages, Kodiaqs, Koleos, Qashqais, Atecas, Tiguans, RAV4s, Across, XC60s … the list goes on, and quite whether or not the CR-V still qualifies as compact, I’ll you decide. That said if your SUV needs are more recreational than they are adventure travelling or tundra-plundering, then the CR-V hybrid should still, most definitely, be something you should consider.



Honda CR-V 2.0i-MMD Hybrid SR – 2WD eCVT


Engine: 1,993 cc, iVTEC, Atkinson Cycle, 4Cyl, 16V-turbocharged petrol

Transmission: Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT) front-wheel drive.

Electric Motor Torque: 232 lbft

Electric Motor Power: 181 bhp (135kW)

Power: 143 bhp @ 6,200rpm

Torque: 129 lbft @ 4,000 rpm

0-62mph: 8.6 sec

Max Speed: 112 mph

MPG: 53.3 combined.

CO2: 151 g/km

Price: £35,270 (Car Driven £35,820)


Many thanks to John Honda’s UK press office for the loan of the CR-V



Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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