We find out if a hybrid engine add even further appeal to the fifth generation CR-V
The Honda CR-V continues to be one of the world’s best-selling compact-crossover SUVs, but it’s facing stiff competition from such equally good rivals as the new Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota RAV4 to name just two. While not as off-road-capable as a Jeep Cherokee, the CR-V’s available all-wheel drive can easily handle deep snow and poor road conditions. With room for five passengers, good storage space and an available turbocharged engine, Honda’s CR-V for 2019 shines bright. The new CR-V’s 1.5 litre petrol engine taken from the Civic is available in two power outputs of 173hp and 193hp in the Auto AWD guise. The turbocharged 1.5 does is a good engine but might lack power for some owners. The new CR-V hybrid we are testing here could be the ideal option. Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre petrol engine along with twin electric motors and a lithium-ion battery in the boot. Thanks to what Honda is calling ‘intelligent Multi-Mode Drive’, or i-MMD for short, it can seamlessly switch between power options while on the move.
At low speeds, for instance, the battery powers just the electric motors that drive the wheels — the engine is kept out of the equation. You’ve got around two kilometres of all-electric propulsion, although when switching to Hybrid mode the engine supplies power to the electric motors, which then drive the wheels — and it can charge the battery backup, too.
Then there’s Engine Drive, which comes into play at higher speeds. This allows the engine to directly drive the wheels, bypassing both the battery and the electric motors. There’s no gearbox, just a lock-up clutch that transfers power depending on need. On start-up there’s no noise, and the CR-V silently whisks away in the manner we’ve come to expect from hybrids. Gain a little pace, and the engine comes in seamlessly, grumbling away ever so slightly. The overall refinement is very good and it’s helped no end by the added sound insulation material installed throughout the car, as well as Honda’s innovative new active noise-cancellation system. Under hard acceleration, the engine does produce some noise, but once you’re up to speed it settles down well. It’s quiet and comfortable, and the ride remains composed.
It’s got a wheelbase that is 30mm longer than the older CR-V, and this provides better interior space. Honda has also included active aerodynamics in the car, which allows a shutter to open or close behind the grille depending on how well the engine is being cooled.
Honda has included a wide variety of its latest safety technology to ensure that those inside and outside the CR-V Hybrid are kept as safe as possible. The Honda CR-V is loaded to the brim and has functions like Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS), Traction Control, a 4-channel Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist and a new Electric Brake Booster (EBB), Automatic Brake Hold and Hill Start Assist, Driving Attention Monitor that alerts the driver for reduced attention and more such safety features.
The Honda CRV’s exterior is designed to give it a sporty and urban look, unlike the usual notion associated with the SUVs and has an ideal size for a city SUV. Upfront is a big chrome grille flanked by sharp headlights and wing-shaped LED day time running lights giving it an aggressive look. The body lines and horizontal fog lamps also add to the flare. Move to the side and you see chrome window lining, chrome body line and eye catching alloy wheels. At the rear is the large angular L shaped tail lights and an overtly square design language. Overall, the Honda CR-V is eye catching and gels well with the urban landscape. Honda has done well to make the CR-V look different. It’s a chunky-looking SUV and that’s good, with dynamic lines running the length of the car helping to hide its overall bulk. Only for a few hybrid model badges, you’d be hard-pressed to tell that this had a cutting-edge powertrain underneath it, and that’ll likely appeal to those who don’t want to shout about the fact they’re driving a hybrid.
Honda CR-V’s cabin has a lot of positives, starting from the variety of materials used for the cabin design, be it the piano black finish or the wood line bifurcating the dashboard with the lower half. The CR-V is rich in features and has a panoramic sunroof, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Smart Entry with push button Start/Stop and many more such features. SUVs are all about practicality and Honda has intelligently used the spaces inside the cabin. Take for instance the front arm support that can be arranged in many ways to store your stuff. Also, the boot has a lot of small compartments that can be managed according to your luggage. The boot itself is wide and practical. For us, the standout features in the CR-V’s cabin would be the digital instrument console, and the switch type electronic gear selector.
The CR-V Hybrid is an excellent proposition for those looking to drive down fuel costs without making too many sacrifices in terms of overall driving experience. This is probably the best CR-V produced by the Japanese firm. Our model had all the bells and whistles with it being an executive 4WD model but with the starting price at €38,000 for the hybrid it is within most buyers price range and well worth a closer look. If you are a Honda fan you will love the CR-V Hybrid and if not this CR-V hybrid may convert you.
Model Honda CR-V Hybrid
Engine Size 2.0-litre four-cylinder with twin electric motors
Transmission Single-speed reduction gear, all-wheel drive
Acceleration (0-100km/h) 9.2 seconds
Top Speed 180 km/h
CO2 Emissions 126g/km
Road Tax €270 per year
Base Price €38,000
Our Test Model €49,500