UK Drive: Honda CR-V Hybrid by James Baggott, Author, Car Dealer Magazine

What is it?

Honda’s best-selling CR-V SUV is reliable, practical and well-priced, and the latest model is stylish with a bolder, US-inspired look.

An increased wheelbase means a more practical cabin, with a seven-seat version an option on the petrol-powered model.

What’s new?

Honda offers the CR-V with a 1.5-litre petrol engine – and this, the Hybrid. It’s Honda’s first electrified SUV and aims to offer a good mix of efficiency and performance.

What’s under the bonnet?

A 2.0-litre VTEC petrol engine is paired to an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, giving a total output of 181bhp and 315Nm of torque.

Front- or four-wheel-drive is available, with an e-CVT automatic transmission. 0-60mph takes 9.0 seconds and top speed is 112mph, but it never feels as quick as those figures suggest.

Around town, it will exceed the claimed 53.3mpg fuel economy, but on motorways and at higher speeds fuel economy drops below 40mpg – disappointing for a model that claims to be so efficient.

What’s it like to drive?

The CR-V Hybrid is comfortable rather than sporty, with supportive seats and a well-composed suspension setup.

It’s refined at speed with limited road and wind noise and there’s some roll in corners.

How does it look?

The striking front nose and overuse of chrome give a more American look, resulting in a bold-looking SUV.

The new car is wider and more muscular and the angular front end makes it aerodynamically efficient.

All models also benefit from front and rear LED lights to give the CR-V plenty of presence.

What’s it like inside?

Quality is a big improvement, with plenty of soft-touch materials, as well as a clean, clutter-free layout, and wood trim. The absence of a transmission tunnel allows for a spacious centre console, while a traditional gearstick is replaced by buttons.

The seven-inch touchscreen is loaded with features but can be difficult to operate.

For practicality, the CR-V excels, even as the Hybrid. There’s 491 litres of load space, while the rear seats offer plenty of legroom and headroom for adults.

What’s the spec like?

The entry-level ‘S’ specification is a little disappointing, with satellite navigation and parking sensors missing. However, our high-spec SR grade car came with leather upholstery, keyless start and entry, heated front seats and ambient interior lighting.

The Hybrid costs over £2,000 more than the petrol model, a significant chunk of money considering that running costs aren’t exactly revolutionary.

Prices start from £30,130 for the Hybrid, with our test car costing £34,470 – putting it in a similar ballpark to Toyota’s RAV4.

Verdict

The CR-V Hybrid is the pick of Honda SUV’s line-up and is ideal for quiet and efficient town driving.

Honda should be admired for pushing ahead with electrification and abandoning diesel in its CR-V – especially as the SUV sector is still dominated by diesel-powered models.

However, for long-distance efficiency, diesels still make sense, but for urban drivers wanting a stylish and practical SUV, the CR-V Hybrid could be ideal.