★★★★☆ | Honda CR-V
Hot on the heels of every manufacturer it would seem these days, Honda has released a new SUV. Not so totally new because the CR-V has been a staple part of Honda’s UK line-up for many decades.
Here, however, Honda is showcasing their new petrol and more importantly, a hybrid drive system. Again, nothing new from Honda except this time it is fitted into their large SUV.
The CR-V demonstrates two things, Class-leading space and an increase in size. All common factors with a new launch. 2 things, however, do stand out and that is space inside is very much on the generous side and the overall feel of the car is not so large that it feels like a nuisance to drive on narrow country lanes.
THEGAYUK tried two models back-to-back. Both front wheel drive but with two different powertrains. Firstly the hybrid with a CVT gearbox and a petrol manual.
Between the two models, one thing is very evident between the two models and that’s the ride. The all petrol drove better. It was softer, compliant and more engaging to drive. No doubt this is due to the lack of excess weight in the rear from the hybrid system. Another is silent running. While the petrol could be raucous when pressed, the hybrid with its near silent electric motors became all too familiar in whine from the CVT gearbox.
The CVT is not to my liking and I was a bit disappointed. Honda’s press release mentioned a unique intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) with clutch lockup between petrol and drivetrain when in engine mode. It still behaved like a conventional CVT system and the paddle shifts on the steering wheel didn’t make much of a difference except when it ‘sport’ mode. On the plus side, its transition between battery, petrol or both was seamless.
Combined economy varied between power units. 53.3mpg for the Hybrid and 44.8mpg for the all petrol. That seemed a lot for the petrol to achieve, despite its lighter agile feel and the hybrid also struggled to achieve those figures. But there are 2 things standing in the way. Review cars are hardly driven softly and combined figures are not those in the real world. However, we did see a constant 45+ mpg in the Hybrid. So the penalty for that heavy feel looks like it could be offset by less time at the pumps.
There were other good points to be seen in these SR mid-range models and that is in its fit and finish. There was a lot to like. General tactility was top class with soft feel where you expected it to be hard plastic. The wooden effect inserts, however, were not universally liked but I liked them. The effect is pretty good. It’s not luxury wood but then at £31,565 for the Hybrid and £31,435 for the petrol, neither is the price.
And this is the key to the CR-V. It’s price. In this segment, the CR-V SR offers a lot of car for the money, it’s just at the moment I am struggling to justify to myself that the hybrid is better. If it was my money I’d go for the all petrol.
Rear doors lack sound deadening
Less agile feel in the hybrid model
Car – Honda CR-V SR petrol/hybrid models
Price – £ £31,435 / £31,565 (as tested)
MPG – 44.8/53.3 mpg (combined)
0-62mph – 9.3/8.8 seconds
Top Speed – 130/112 mph
Co2 – 143/126 (g/km)