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UK Drive: Honda CR-V Hybrid proves to be a capable and smooth electrified option

UK Drive: Honda CR-V Hybrid proves to be a capable and smooth electrified option


The motoring world is pushing towards electrification, and Honda is no different. The CR-V Hybrid is its latest electrified vehicle

What is it?

Honda’s CR-V SUV has proven to be a smash hit for the Japanese manufacturer, and has gone on to become one of the best-selling SUVs around the globe.

It’s quite easy to see why. It’s reliable, practical and well-priced. The latest CR-V has also upped the ante when it comes to style, and has adopted a bolder, US-inspired look.

Honda CR-V driving on a road

An increased wheelbase also results in a far more practical cabin, with the option of a seven-seat version on the petrol-powered model. A more premium-feeling cabin rounds off the updated package. But here, we’re in a slightly less conventional version.

What’s new?

In a move that aims to represent the shift in the way the market is heading, Honda has done away with its traditionally popular diesel-powered cars, and instead chosen to offer the CR-V with a 1.5-litre petrol engine – and this, the Hybrid.

Hybrid logo

Honda’s ambitious aim is for two-thirds of its sales by 2025 to be electrified in some way, and this CR-V Hybrid is the only electrified new Honda you can buy today, although the firm has produced plenty of electrified models in the past.

The CR-V is, however, Honda’s first electrified SUV, and aims to offer a good mix of efficiency and performance. But does it live up to those claims?

What’s under the bonnet?

It starts off with a 2.0-litre VTEC petrol engine, which is paired to an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack to produce a total output of 181bhp and 315Nm of torque.

There’s the option between front- or four-wheel-drive, while all feature an e-CVT automatic transmission. The gearbox is really the sticking point and prohibits maximum power delivery when accelerating harshly, although it remains smooth. It can accelerate from 0-60mph in 9.0 seconds and offers a top speed of 112mph, but it never feels as quick as those figures suggest.

The claimed 53.3mpg fuel economy figure also feels a touch ambitious. Around town, it will easily match and exceed that, but on motorways and at higher speeds for longer stints, fuel economy drops below 40mpg, which is disappointing for a model that claims to be so efficient.

What’s it like to drive?

Relaxation is the buzzword here, with the CR-V Hybrid firmly sitting on the comfort end of the spectrum – rather than the sporty.

Supportive seats and a well-composed suspension setup result in a comfortable ride on long distances, while even the large 19-inch alloy wheels fitted to our test car didn’t seem to upset the ride too much.

Rear view of a Honda CR-V Hyrid driving on a road

It’s also refined at speed, with a limited amount of road and wind noise making its way into the cabin. In the corners there’s a decent amount of roll, but that’s a worthy payoff for a comfortable family SUV – providing buyers aren’t expecting thrills.

How does it look?

The latest CR-V has adopted an evolutionary look to its styling, although we think the looks have gone a bit more US-centric than they ever did in the past. The bold front nose and overuse of chrome undoubtedly helps make it look more American, but it’s hard to deny that it’s resulted in a bold-looking SUV.

Grey Honda CR-V Hybrid

The latest car is also wider and more muscular than past CR-Vs and it adopts a similar front end to the latest Civic as part of Honda’s latest ‘family face’. But it’s not all just for show – with the CR-V’s angular front end resulting in it being one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars in its class.

All models also benefit from a full suite of LED lights at the front and rear, which certainly help to give the CR-V plenty of presence.

What’s it like inside?

Honda has worked hard to improve the CR-V’s interior and the quality is certainly a big improvement. There’s plenty of soft touch materials used throughout, as well as a clean, clutter-free layout, and wood trim – the latter we’re not so sure about. The absence of a transmission tunnel also results in a hugely spacious centre console, while a traditional gearstick is replaced by buttons.

But as with the rest of the Honda line-up, the seven-inch touchscreen is infuriating to use. Sure, it’s loaded with features, but it can be difficult to operate and is some distance off the class best.

Interior of the Honda CR-V HybridAs for practicality, the CR-V excels, even in slightly more impractical Hybrid guise. Stick with the standard 1.5-litre CR-V and you can have the option of seven seats, but with the room taken up by the batteries, it’s not an option here. There’s 491 litres of load space to play with, while the rear seats offer plenty of legroom and headroom for adults. You also don’t have a transmission tunnel eating into legroom.

Boot open on the Honda CR-V

What’s the spec like?

Go with the entry-level ‘S’ specification and you might feel rather shortchanged, with no satellite navigation or parking sensors appearing on the kit list. However, our high-spec SR grade car came well-equipped, with leather upholstery, keyless start and entry, heated front seats and ambient interior lighting all included.

Close up of the Drive button

The Hybrid costs over £2,000 more for a like-for-like trim level compared to the standard petrol model, which is quite a chunk of money to absorb – particularly when the running costs aren’t exactly revolutionary.

Prices start from £30,130 for the Hybrid, with our test car coming in at £34,470. This puts it in a similar ballpark to the Toyota RAV4 – the only direct hybrid rival to the CR-V.


The CR-V Hybrid’s punchy, relaxed and refined powertrain makes it the pick of Honda SUV’s line-up, and it’s ideal for drivers who spend the vast majority of their time driving around town – where the quietness and efficiency of a Hybrid come into their own.

Close up of the Drive button

As with Toyota, Honda should be admired for pushing ahead with its electrification aims and abandoning diesel in its CR-V – especially in the SUV sector which is still dominated by diesel-powered models.

But is it a few years too early? Perhaps. For long-distance efficiency, diesels still make the most sense, but for urban drivers wanting a stylish and practical SUV, the CR-V Hybrid could be ideal.

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