Honda’s sparkling CR-V hybrid

15 February 2019

HONDA has added a much-needed Hybrid option to its CR-V range of SUV models that now compete in the most hotly-contested sector of the UK car market.

The demonization of diesels means that Honda currently has just a single petrol offering in the guise of a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit that achieves a real-world economy figure of about 35mpg.

This is easily overshadowed by a plethora of similarly-upmarket mid-range SUVs powered by diesel or hybrid engines.

Now Honda is aiming to fight back by unleashing its Hybrid option, although the £37,255 flagship price puts it into very competitive company.

The newcomer arrives here this month to line up alongside the petrol version that reached showrooms in the early autumn with prices ranging from £26,000 to £36,500.

The Hybrid starts at £29,100 for the entry-level version with S-level trim and equipment and two wheel drive.

The flagship model has EX trim and equipment plus four wheel drive.

Unlike the petrol model, the Hybrid comes with batteries that restrict seating for occupants to just five rather than seven.

There is a choice of drive to two or all four of the wheels, plus trim and equipment options of S, SE, SR and EX.

All versions come with a suite of safety features that Honda calls Sensing, comprising collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition. 

SE grade adds parking sensors and a rear view camera, while the SR and EX will also boast blind spot warning and cross traffic monitoring, with low-speed-following on the cruise control available on all grades.

The SR grade also adds smart entry and start, a leather-trimmed interior and active cornering lights.

Moving up to EX adds a heated steering wheel, head up display, a hands free automatic tailgate, heated rear seats and a panoramic glass sunroof.

Honda has high hopes for the new Hybrid, which is a form of power that the company believes will account for two thirds of all its sales within about five years.

Similar forecasts are being made by a range of rivals, including Toyota, which has declared war against economical but controversial diesels in favour of Hybrid-only models.

In the case of the Honda CR-V the Hybrid premium is about £800 over equivalent petrol versions, so it is up to potential purchasers to decide if that makes it a financially viable proposition depending upon their annual mileage.

The saving over the petrol-only version could be as high as 15 miles per gallon, with the Hybrid using a four-cylinder two-litre petrol unit plus a pair of electric motors.

Power output is 180bhp with pulling power of 315Nm, which translates in to a 0-60mph acceleration time of 9.2 seconds and a top speed of 110mph.

There is a continuously-variable automatic transmission system plus four wheel drive with an official economy rating of just above 50mpg and a CO2 figure of 126g/km.

Such will be the demand for these petrol/electric vehicles on the second-hand market that the £800 premium is likely to be retained or even enhanced, making them a sensible investment in the longer term.

Nonetheless, there should still be a healthy market for the petrol-only versions, especially for moderate-mileage users wanting seven seats.

In this guise the CR-V starts at £25,995 for the 2WD manual S grade and tops out at £36,455 for the AWD EX with CVT.

Standard across all grades are parking sensors and a rear view camera plus the Honda Sensing safety system.

Buying the vehicle on a PCP attracts a monthly payment of £280 over three years for the SR version with four wheel drive.