Time Well Spent: Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid EX-AWD – 8/10

*RECOMMENDED*

“It doesn’t excite but it doesn’t send you into a slumber neither. Overall its a very pleasant and well equipped car – if you liked and owned the old CR-V this one will not disappoint. Excellent refinement, quality and use of technology make it a winner in my book”

The all new Honda CR-V Hybrid EX AWD. One of the smoothest and refined cars in its class.

The Honda CR-V, its the worlds best selling SUV for those who were unaware of the fact. Its been around since 1995 and has proven here in the UK to be a reliable, good selling SUV. This market sector is heaving with a type of car that I personally still don’t really go for. Call me old fashioned possums but I still adore a big saloon, hatchback or estate car. The CR-V, in my book, has always been a fine car to drive, although the outgoing model had questionable styling and felt just a little bit boring compared to newer rivals, to answer this, the current CR-V is top to toe inside out new.

You now have their splendid 1.5 turbo petrol unit with 6 manual gears or a CVT gearbox option and this all new 2.0 Petrol hybrid – fans of the cracking 1.6 iCDTi diesel will have to mourn… there’s no diesel option. The hybrid is offered in four trim levels: S / SE / SR & EX and a choice of front or four wheel drive, but note the base model S is only a front drive model and the range topping EX AWD, as its title suggests, has four wheel drive. The driveline is overseen by a system Honda call intelligent multi-mode drive or i-MMD for short.

The 2.0 Atkinson Cycle petrol unit is coupled to Honda’s iMMD hybrid transmission. Its refined, smooth and very economical around town. On longer runs its rivals are more frugal… but not by that much to make it a dealbreaker. Total power is 107Kw (181bhp in old money)

The overall control of the driveline has three modes: pure electric / hybrid engine and engine only. Depending on your driving environment at the time depends on what operation mode the car operates in. The 2.0 naturally aspirated engine uses the Atkinson cycle working in alliance with two electric motors – one for propulsion and the other for power generation. It may sound complicated, and yes it is, but look… its a Honda so don’t worry, settle down, read on safe in the knowledge its bound to be utterly reliable in service.

Its overall stance and styling is unmistakably Honda, but where it differs is the appearance of it looking a little more European. I was very impressed when I studied the external in macro-vision, the panel gaps, trim fitting, attention to detail and paint application are all very good. Insofar as kerbside appeal matters, the CR-V looks business-like and premium… in other words – rather posh. This continues on the inside too with lashings of leather, a touch of imitation timber and a splash of chrome where its required not to mention a superb quality carpet with a deeper than normal pile.

Once you have a really good poke, prod and touch around the interior you begin to forgive that slightly expensive price tag – and that’s before you even drive it

All the knobs and buttons operate with a lovely damped and solid feel to the touch. Not carved from stone like a Q series Audi but way ahead of direct rivals in terms of quality. Lovely textures and attention to build detail too but the infotainment is clunky, clumsy and in need of an update. Seats support you and smell as good as they look. Instruments are a bit sci-fi but work well in practice and are easy on the eye.

All the controls, knobs, switches and twiddly bits operate with a feeling of solidity that you wont find in many other cheaper rivals. Once you have a really good poke, prod and touch around the interior you begin to forgive that slightly expensive price tag – and that’s before you even drive it. Interior build quality finds very little to complain about thanks to decent grades of leather, plastic, lots of soft to the touch trim and nothing feeling loose or cheap. The outgoing model had a quality feel – this all new model is even better.

Out on the road you can really feel where Honda have done their utmost to reduce noise and vibration. In the urban areas the CR-V interior is that quiet its almost eerie. In fact when driving in electric only EV mode, an artificial noise is emitted from the front in order to herald its motion to jaywalking pedestrians. The lack of clicking relays or whining noises from the motor or generator makes the CR-V stand out from some lesser engineered hybrid offerings. Only a faint sound can be heard when braking from speed when the re-generation function is in operation. When the engine is working on motorways or other fast roads it remains calm, smooth and quiet.

Electric tailgate reveals a capacious 1638 litres of total space and almost totally flat floor with a sensible sill height. SE models and above feature an effective audio sub-woofer speaker that you can see here towards the front right of picture.

There is just a bit too much body roll from time to time if you press on, nothing to make the tyres howl in complaint but I did think to myself; whoops a daisy on a couple of occasions

Road and wind noise is very low. Drive on a smooth tarmac topped motorway or fast A-road and the CR-V is almost as quiet as a limousine. The steering is nicely weighted with feeling to artificial, the brakes are meaty and confidence inducing and the ride comfort is only unsettled by the nastiest of ruts or potholes. Overall, the ride is soft and forgiving but the pay-off for this welcome comfort is a slightly wallowing feel when entering and exiting fast bends. There is just a bit too much body roll from time to time, nothing to make the tyres howl in complaint but I did think to myself; “whoops a daisy” on a couple of occasions.

Comfort is top notch and I am pleased to see this carry on from the old model. The controls are simple and easy to decipher / operate if you are steeping out from a different brand. The only form of complaint is the info-tainment unit, the sat nav works well but the Garmin font looks old fashioned and lethargic. Operating the trip computer, pairing a Bluetooth device and overall setting operations can be a bit complicated too. Also of note, I found scanning the DAB frequencies for my favourite stations rather infuriating to do – all simple with experience of course but what alpha-male reads the instruction books?

It will seat four in luxury and five at a pinch. Rear comfort is aided by media ports and seperate air vents. Good leg and headroom helped by wide opening doors for easy access. Refinement is excellent.

Honda claim an overall figure of 51.4mpg and I achieved around 45mpg – for my kind of travelling that wasn’t bad… but not class leading

When it comes to shifting your goods and chattels the CR-V doesn’t let you down. This car is a genuine five seater with ample leg and head room. Middle rear passengers may feel a pinch however and the hybrid battery pack that lives under the seats and boot floor means you have to do without a seven seat or spare wheel option. Seats in use gives you just under 500 litres of cargo room, drop down the rear seats and that rises to slightly under 1640. Other storage space is plentiful with under armrest cubbies, a good sized glovebox and capacious door pockets – that latter are floodlit with a stylish LED glow in the dark.

In summary its a hybrid so what’s the full SP and fuss? Emission output is ok for the size and power of the car but economy is only average unless you never venture outside the town or city. My week with the car involved a bit of commuting to work and a long drive from the Sussex Coast to South Wales and back. Honda claim an overall figure of 51.4mpg and I achieved around 45mpg – for my kind of travelling that wasn’t bad… but not class leading. But if you want to join the hybrid set and still enjoy the feel and experience of driving, the CR-V is a good choice. Excellent quality and class leading refinement awaits you at your dealer.

It doesn’t excite but it doesn’t send you into a slumber neither. Overall its a very pleasant and well equipped car – if you liked and owned the old CR-V this one will not disapoint. Excellent refinement, quality and use of technology make it a winner in my book.

OVERALL SCORE – 8/10

 

THE HUMBLE OPINION:

**RECOMMENDED CAR**

It looks genuinely premium inside and out and drives with such refinement – Honda have got it almost right with the new CR-V.

The really clever bit is the technology that beavers away in the background. You can barely notice it switching from one drive mode to another. No shunt, no jolt and unless you really floor the pedal – barely any vibration or excess engine noise.

Around town economy is very good (expect around 50+mpg) but long distance running isn’t the best. What I say is this… if you live in the city or trundle around in traffic, the CR-V is a great weapon of choice. On those long high speed runs the CR-V falls behind some rivals in the fuel stakes. The pro’s far outweigh the con’s in my book though.

Lets not forget the superb build quality too. In EX trim you are lacking very little in terms of bells and whistles. All Honda need to do is sort out once and for all the bloody infotainment / trip computer units… in my opinion they’re simply not good enough.

Overall though, its a smashing thing to live with… it really is. Try to spend a little time with it rather than a 15 minute test drive with the salesman twittering in your lug ‘ole. Its one of those cars that grows on you.

Doesn’t set your soul on fire but that’s how Honda’s rock.

 

Model Tested: CR-V 2.0 Hybrid EX – AWD CVT

Price: £37,305 excluding options

Power Unit: Atkinson cycle 2.0 petrol (naturally aspirated injection)

Driveline: Hybrid iMMD system with all wheel drive / regeneration via two electric motors

Power / Torque: 107KW / 243Nm

Performance: *0 – 60 in 9.2 seconds with 112mph max

Economy: *51.4mpg combined (45.3mpg on actual test)

Co2: 126G/Km

*Manufacturers or Govt claimed data

 

What’s Great?

  • Excellent build quality
  • Well equipped
  • Urban fuel economy is impressive
  • One of the best driving hybrids, if not the best in its class right now
  • Superb refinement
  • Spacious and practical
  • Technology that works really well and without fuss

What Grates?

  • Infotainment system hopelessly complicated and needs improving
  • Notable body roll during hurried cornering
  • Pure electric range and petrol MPG on longer distances could be a bit better
  • Only comes with four wheel drive in EX trim
  • No seven seat or spare tyre option available owing to power cell location

To find out more on the Honda CR-V CLICK HERE

 

2 comments

  1. I have heard these are super smooth operators.

    This read seems to confirm that. Looks classy too.

    Enjoyable review

    • I own the old model (2.2 iCDTi) model and have just passed the 150,000 mile marker. New clutch was fitted last month and outside of tyres and brakes that’s been it.

      Must have a gander into my dealer for a look at one of these in the not too distant future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s