What is special about the Honda CR-V?
It may be one of the many innovations on the latest version of what is claimed to be the world’s bestselling SUV but what I found most useful was a digital speedometer writes Malcolm Ginsberg. You may say that is daft but it is that kind of positive thinking by the engineer/designers that turns a good car into something that is really user friendly.
This may sound a minor function on a well laid out product but with the numbers coming up very clearly there is no need to search on the dial to see if you are travelling at 30 or 35mph. The police are very particular around our way!
Another novel idea was a sunglasses box above the rear view mirror. It costs little but adds that something to the car.
The Honda CR-V has been around since 1995 and the latest offering is said to be the fifth generation and now is available in the UK as a hybrid, very fashionable as it gives a commitment to the environment and does not require a ‘plug-in’ facility. It is OK for manufacturers to espouse the virtues of their electric cars but for millions of us who are flat dwellers (and more and more are being built) there is the slight problem of charging.
At around 45mpg, and only available with a petrol engine, the figures are nothing special for quite a big car, although Honda would let us believe that 50mpg plus is available. With a 0-60 of 8.5sec the car is no slouch and what used to be called the gearbox is now all micro controlled including the parking brake. Reverse is a simple pull-up. There is a sports mode too.
The road test car came in a front-wheel-drive form but there is a four-wheel-drive version available. Wheels are 18in throughout the model range.
As with all manufacturers Honda is always fiddling about with its house style and this latest CR-V is no exception, offering the latest distinctive body enhancements. There is a vogue for larger wheel arches and Honda follows suit.
The highlight of the car has to be the powertrain. The hybrid system uses intelligent Multi Mode Drive technology (i-MMD) combining two electric motors, an Atkinson-cycle petrol engine, lithium-ion battery and a fixed-gear transmission to deliver high levels of refinement, responsiveness and efficiency. It is available in both FWD and AWD formats.
The engine automatically switches between three driving modes.
EV Drive, where the lithium-ion battery supplies power to the electric propulsion motor directly; Hybrid Drive, where the engine supplies power to an electric generator motor, which in turn supplies it to the electric propulsion motor; and Engine Drive, where the engine is connected directly to the wheels via a lock-up clutch. In most urban driving situations, the CR-V Hybrid will shuffle between Hybrid Drive and EV Drive for optimum efficiency.
At a 40mph cruise, the CR-V Hybrid will typically run in EV Drive for more than half of the time. At 62mph the car will be in EV Drive for approximately one third of the time, whilst at the motorway legal limit (and upwards) the car will run in Hybrid Drive.
For the average driver all this means you do not have to think and the car does the work.
The all new CR-V has numerous improvements and changes including Honda’s next-generation ACE (Advanced Compatibility Engineering) body structure, employing a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly.
For the driver Honda Sensing comes as standard as an assistive technology combining radar and camera information. Honda says that this latest CR-V has bigger and more responsive brakes and it certainly felt assured when required down some country lanes. Sitting that little bit higher up also helps.
The car was used on a 400 mile round trip taking in Castle Coombe (see BTN 14 September) and Edward Elgar on the Avon (See BTN 7 September). A report on Gloucester and the Jet Age Museum will follow.
With the top model there is a hands-free power tailgate enabling convenient loading access and this can be programmed to avoid contact with a low ceiling.
The loading bay has been increased by 160mm with a maximum loading length of 1,830mm. No problem for a 19.5-inch frame mountain bike.
The list of what we used to call ‘extras’ is extremely comprehensive and is partially shown here as an inventory. The only extras that the more expensive models have that are of real value (in my opinion) are the aforementioned tail gate, heated seats with memory (front and rear – keeps the kids happy) and a sun roof.
Plenty more but no smart entry and you have to press a button to start up. No real problems but standard on the SR and SE models.
The market that Honda is in with the CR-V Hybrid is very competitive but with a quality interior, easy driving and sensible pricing the latest model sells well. Worth looking at.