HONDA CR-V PLUG-IN HYBRID: don’t mesh with the biggest so far

JUST when you thought it was safe to go shopping for a CR-V  there’s now a new one to make the decision making process that much more complicated.

The previous generation of Honda’s big selling SUV ditched pure petrol power in favour of a hybrid set-up. We drove one earlier this year and were suitably impressed.

Now they’ve moved the game on by adding a new plug-in hybrid version – and it’s fair to say impression has been replaced by unadulterated longing.

There are plenty other PHEV family SUVs out there, but the big Honda (big in size, definitely bigger in price) hits the ground running with its smart new mesh grille front end treatment, streamlined LED lights, lots of standard equipment and an uncluttered and smart interior. The seats are firm and supportive with plenty adjustment whether you’re tall or short, slim or have an overactive knife and fork affliction. Driving position is high and the view all round good.
From a performance point of view it feels quicker than the official figures reflect – certainly not noticed the 9.4 seconds to 62mph pass quite so quickly recently, and it doesn’t have a problem getting up to motorway speeds or nipping past dawdling traffic.

The electric range is just shy of 51 miles and there’s a new two-stage gearbox fitted to the CR-V which means less engine noise when accelerating. (In electric mode there’s obviously no engine noise at all). And it’s allowed Honda to add a towing mode to the e:PHEV version. With that engaged, the e:PHEV can use all of the power from its petrol engine and electric motor, towing up to 1500kg and making it a serious consideration for families with touring caravans.The suspension set-up has an acceptable balance between firm and soft, taking speed bumps in its stride though you’ll notice it leans a bit through corners, no matter what drive mode you’ve selected.

Every CR-V gets front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera. The top of the range Advance Tech trim swaps the camera for a 360-degree one and even gets Honda Parking Pilot, which will park the car for you in certain circumstances if you feel like letting a £54k car do that for itself….

You shouldn’t have any issues loading bulky items into a CR-V, because there’s no real load lip. Because of the way the back seats fold down, you have an unimpeded flat space up to the back of the front seats (useful for trips to buy furniture, for example).

You get lots of physical buttons and dials to quickly access parts of the infotainment system or to adjust the air conditioning. That makes it far less distracting to use when you’re driving. In fact just about everything is within easy reach of the driver.

Every CR-V comes with 11 airbags and Honda’s latest Honda Sensing 360 system, which keeps an eye on all areas of the car and includes blind-spot monitoring and cross traffic monitoring.

On a public AC charger, two and a half hours will charge the 17.7kWh battery from 0 to 100 per cent  using a 6.8kW AC charger.


Honda CR-V Advance Tech e-PHEV

Price: £53,995 (£54,670 as tested)
Engine: 1993 cc, four cylinder, petrol, plug-in hybrid
Power: 146bhp (181bhp electric)
Torque: 139lb/ft (247lb/ft electric)
Transmission: two speed automatic
Top speed: 121mph
0-62mph: 9.4 seconds
Economy: 353mpg
Emissions: 19g/km

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2023 Honda CR-V