Honda CR-V Hybrid engines, drive & performance

The Honda CR-V Hybrid features a very clever powertrain and the 2.0-litre engine is quiet and capable

0-62mph Top speed Driven wheels Power
8.8 secs 112mph Front-wheel-drive 184bhp

The CR-V Hybrid has a 2.0-litre petrol hybrid setup that's capable of driving in three different modes: Hybrid Drive, Engine Drive and EV Drive, switching between them automatically depending on how fast you’re going.

In Hybrid Drive, the engine runs quietly, powering an electric motor generator instead of the wheels. The generator then sends power to a second electric motor to provide propulsion. Only in Engine Drive mode do the revs begin to rise, as here the engine turns the wheels directly. In EV Drive, a 1kWh battery powers the electric motor, although its small size means electric-only running is only possible for very short distances.

You also need to drive a reasonable distance to fully recharge the battery. The CR-V Hybrid does this in two ways: by converting excess energy from the engine and by recovering energy produced when slowing down, a process called regenerative braking. You can adjust the strength of the regenerative braking using paddles either side of the steering wheel: harsher regenerative braking supplies the battery with a greater amount of energy to be redeployed later, while a softer setting allows you to coast further after lifting off the accelerator.

Honda CR-V Hybrid engine, 0-62mph and acceleration

The 2.0-litre engine in the CR-V Hybrid produces 143bhp, although the electric motor is responsible for the peak power figure of 181bhp. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 8.8 seconds in front-wheel-drive cars and 9.2 seconds in all-wheel-drive cars, although they share a top speed of 112mph.

Because the engine spends most of its time powering the electric motor generator, it doesn’t rev loudly very often. In fact, it’s so quiet that you barely notice the car automatically switching between Hybrid Drive and EV Drive modes on the go. The only time the engine really makes a noise is when you accelerate hard.

Handling

The CR-V Hybrid is designed with comfort in mind, so the suspension is tuned to cushion you from the road. It does a good job of absorbing bumps and cracks in the tarmac, as well as controlling the body lean caused by this softer setup in corners. The CR-V Hybrid is no sports car, but nor does it wallow from side to side like some less well executed SUVs.

The quiet running is just about the best thing about this car: even at motorway speeds there’s little in the way of wind noise, and not much in the way of tyre noise, either.