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In-depth reviews

Honda CR-V Hybrid review

The Honda CR-V is a spacious and comfortable hybrid family SUV with room for five, but its real-world fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures let it down

Overall rating

3.0 out of 5

Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol

Pros

  • Seriously quiet
  • Comfortable ride
  • Acceptable economy in real-world use

Cons

  • Poor official CO2 and economy
  • Dated infotainment and interior design
  • No seven-seat option
Car typeFuel economyCO2 emissions0-62mph
Hybrid39-43mpg151-163g/km8.8s

The Honda CR-V hybrid was initially offered alongside the 1.5-litre petrol model in the range, but these days the car is hybrid-only, with this 2.0-litre Intelligent Multi Mode Drive (i-MMD) petrol-electric setup being the only engine choice. It's a shame then, that the CR-V starts on the back foot with underwhelming official fuel economy of around 40mpg and CO2 emissions of at least 120g/km – both of which lag behind the numbers of its most direct rival, the Toyota RAV4. An all-new CR-V with plug-in hybrid power is on the way for 2023; this should improve things significantly.

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Still, the current CR-V is a pleasant thing to drive; quiet, comfortable and relaxed, flicking between petrol and electric modes depending on your speed and how aggressively you use the throttle. This is no conventional hybrid system, either, since in default Hybrid mode, the 2.0-litre engine functions solely as a generator to charge up the batteries, which in turn power the electric motor that drives the wheels.

There's an EV mode to force as much electric running as the car can manage, but the lithium-ion battery only has a 1kWh capacity, so stints in that mode are limited to just over a mile. It's only if you accelerate hard that the petrol engine actually couples with the wheels to directly drive the car. You barely notice this complexity from behind the wheel, however. The CR-V is an assured car to drive, riding comfortably and almost silently in most conditions. Only when you accelerate hard does the engine rev loudly.

Inside, the CR-V is nicely laid out, with a seven-inch driver's display behind the steering wheel and flanked by battery charge and fuel gauges. A touchscreen sits in the centre console above the buttons for drive, neutral, park and reverse modes, although the infotainment system’s graphics look a little dated these days.

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The CR-V comfortably seats five, with only the middle seat in the back suffering from slightly reduced headroom. Boot space comes in at 497 litres – a good size for family motoring, although there are usefully bigger and more practical non-hybrid alternatives out there, including the Skoda Kodiaq, which you shouldn't discount if you simply want an efficient, practical family SUV. After all, the CR-V is no more economical than the diesel alternatives in this class.

There are five trims: S, SE, Sport Line, SR, and EX. S and Sport Line are front-drive only, SE and SR can have either front or four-wheel-drive, while the EX is four-wheel-drive only. A mild update for 2021 brought some suspension and steering tweaks for improved ride and handling, along with some interior trim changes and wireless phone charging on the top-spec EX. The update also improved efficiency across the board.

For a more detailed look at the Honda CR-V, check out our account of running one for several months, or read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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