What is it?
The Honda CR-V has been an important part of this firm’s line-up for almost 30 years, and continues to be one of the world’s best-selling SUVs. Even in the face of more competition, it continues to hold its own, and is renowned for its practicality and reliability.
Hybrid models are integral to Honda’s European line-up, and not only will this new CR-V be offered as a ‘self-charging’ setup, but there will also be the option of a plug-in hybrid model – a first for Honda.
With Honda recently introducing the mid-size ZR-V to its range, there’s been the scope to push the CR-V up in terms of size and quality, with this model having far more of a premium billing than its predecessor.
What’s under the bonnet?
Both hybrid versions revolve around a similar setup to what you find in both the latest Civic and ZR-V – using a 2.0-litre petrol engine as their base. It’s joined by twin electric motors too, which within them house the transmission.
Power output is the same for both models, with the CR-V producing 181bhp and 335Nm of torque, allowing for a 0-60mph time of around nine seconds, depending on version. Standard hybrid models are all-wheel-drive, while the PHEV instead is front-wheel-drive-only.
For maximum efficiency, you’ll want the plug-in model, which brings a claimed range of up to 50 miles. With this, Honda claims up to 353mpg and 18g/km CO2 emissions. As for the standard hybrid, Honda claims 42.8mpg and 150g/km CO2 emissions.
What’s it like to drive?
This latest CR-V majors on comfort. Regardless of version, the model comes on fairly small 18-inch alloy wheels, which equate to a supple and compliant ride that is ideal for British roads. Despite the additional weight of the plug-in version, it’s every bit as comfortable too.
Behind the wheel, the CR-V offers terrific visibility courtesy of small pillars, while the 360-degree camera systems make this Honda very easy to manoeuvre, despite its extended size. Though neither hybrid model is especially powerful, they deliver more than enough pace, with a smooth and quiet power delivery.
How does it look?
Honda has worked to give the new CR-V a far aggressive and sportier look, which is shown with the more angular design and large patterned grille. It looks good, while retaining the familiar CR-V silhouette and details such as vertical LED rear lights.
The standard hybrid and plug-in hybrid models also adopt different styling, with each getting a unique grille and bumpers – the PHEV being the more aggressive choice in this respect.
What’s it like inside?
If you value usability, there’s a lot going for the CR-V’s clear and simple-to-understand interface. You’ve got the same nine-inch touchscreen as the Civic, as well as physical climate controls that are much easier to use on the move than those on a screen. The general look and feel of the cabin is smart, and there’s a real feeling that the CR-V is designed to last for a long period of time.
It also offers a vast amount of interior space. The increased dimensions certainly help, especially as the previous model was hardly short of room. Adults will be able to stretch out and get comfortable in the rear seats, while the rear doors open at almost right angles, massively aiding access. At 578 litres, the boot is a great size as well.
What’s the spec like?
The CR-V range kicks off with the Elegance model, which gets a lengthy list of equipment, including heated leather seats, a panoramic glass roof, electric boot and keyless entry.
Make the step up to the Advance and it brings a Bose sound system, head-up display, ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel. If you want the plug-in hybrid, you’re limited to the flagship Advance Tech grade. You predominantly pay for the plug-in setup, but it also brings tweaked styling, along with a dedicated tow mode and semi-autonomous parking capability.
Honda’s CR-V has certainly made a big jump for this latest model. It builds on key strengths of its predecessor – comfort and interior space – and also adds comprehensive standard equipment and a great interior.
The addition of the plug-in hybrid setup is certainly welcome as well, though you can still choose the regular, and still-impressive, standard hybrid as well.