The Honda CR-V stands as a hallmark in the compact SUV segment, renowned for its blend of versatility, comfort, and reliability. With its sleek design, spacious interior, and advanced technological features, the CR-V continues to captivate drivers seeking a practical yet refined driving experience. Whether navigating city streets or venturing off the beaten path, this perennial favorite embodies Honda’s commitment to innovation and performance, making it a compelling choice for modern drivers.

Honda’s Vision

First of all, let’s delve into the realm of dreams. Honda’s iconic slogan, “The Power of Dreams,” resonates deeply, encapsulating our innate desire to envision the extraordinary. For Honda, those dreams manifest in various forms – be it a sleek superbike, a luxurious private jet, or a powerful speedboat engine. And nestled within this pantheon of dreams sits the Honda CR-V.

While it may not evoke the same visceral excitement as the Honda Civic Type R hot hatch, the CR-V holds its own allure as a spacious family SUV boasting a hybrid engine, making it a coveted choice in today’s automotive landscape.

With the previous generation, Honda embarked on a journey away from traditional diesel and petrol powertrains, embracing the efficiency of hybrid technology. Now, with this latest iteration, Honda takes a bold step forward by introducing a new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant alongside the standard hybrid model. This expansion offers consumers two compelling options, each delivering remarkable efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Notably, the PHEV variant – branded as the e:PHEV – marks Honda’s inaugural venture into the European plug-in hybrid market. While it enters the scene with confidence, it faces stiff competition from rival PHEV family SUVs, including offerings from Kia, Land Rover, and Lexus.

Performance and Drive

Both iterations of the Honda CR-V are equipped with a potent 181bhp 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine coupled with an electric motor. However, while the e:HEV boasts four-wheel drive, the e:PHEV opts for front-wheel drive and incorporates a significantly larger 17.7kWh battery.

In our testing, we achieved a commendable 0-60mph time of 8.4 seconds in the hybrid e:HEV. This performance may not top the charts in terms of speed and power among hybrid SUVs, yet the CR-V predominantly relies on its electric motor, facilitating swift acceleration from standstill without feeling sluggish.

Regardless of your choice between the two variants, reaching motorway speeds or maneuvering through congested traffic is effortless.

For those seeking electrifying performance in a PHEV, the Lexus NX 450h with its 305bhp engine presents a compelling option. Clocking an impressive 0-60mph time of just 5.8 seconds at our private test track, it outpaces the competition.

When operating on a fully charged battery, the e:PHEV seamlessly transitions into electric mode, delivering smooth, quiet, and brisk acceleration up to motorway speeds and beyond. During our real-world test, it covered 37.6 miles before the engine kicked in – slightly shy of its official 51-mile range but surpassing the 36.8 miles achieved by an NX on the same day.

A notable addition to the CR-V is the innovative two-speed gearbox, enhancing performance at low speeds. Moreover, this gearbox enables Honda to introduce a towing mode exclusive to the e:PHEV variant. Engaging this mode allows the e:PHEV to harness the full power of its petrol engine and electric motor, towing loads of up to 1,500kg – equivalent to the capabilities of the Kia Sorento and Lexus NX.

Conversely, the e:HEV lacks a towing mode and offers a towing capacity of 750kg, significantly less than the 1,500kg boasted by the NX 350h and the 1,650kg offered by the Kia Sportage.


For those prioritizing comfort, the e:PHEV distinguishes itself by swapping out the reactive dampers found in the e:HEV for adaptive ones, resulting in a smoother ride between the two variants.

The e:HEV exhibits a slightly firmer ride quality. While it handles scruffy road surfaces with more forgiveness and absorbs potholes with less jarring impact compared to a Mazda CX-60, it struggles to maintain composure as effectively as a Volvo XC60.

Nevertheless, both versions strike a commendable balance between comfort and control. While it may not offer the plush comfort akin to a CitroΓ«n C5 Aircross, the CR-V compensates by providing better stability over uneven terrain, minimizing discomfort for passengers prone to motion sickness.


Traditionally, large family SUVs like the CR-V aren’t typically synonymous with agile handling, yet there are some impressive contenders in the market – notably the BMW X3 and the Mazda CX-5. The Peugeot 5008 and the VW Tiguan also hold their own in this regard.

Fortunately, the CR-V exhibits commendable prowess on twisty roads. It feels notably more agile than the CX-60 or XC60, effectively minimizing body lean through tight corners. While its steering may feel somewhat weighty in urban environments, it offers a reassuring and responsive feel at higher speeds. However, there’s room for improvement in terms of tire grip, and while enjoyable, we’d hesitate to label it as outright “fun.”

Even with the CR-V e:PHEV’s adaptive dampers set to Sport mode, it falls slightly short of the engaging dynamics offered by models like the X3 or CX-5.


When pushing the CR-V, its engine tends to be more audible compared to competitors, particularly as it works diligently to swiftly generate electricity and recharge the battery while the electric motor propels the wheels.

However, with its larger battery capacity, the e:PHEV variant has the capability to operate solely on electric power for extended durations, effectively eliminating engine noise. Even when the battery is depleted, and the engine resumes operation, the transition remains seamless – a notable contrast to the Lexus NX, which introduces slight vibrations through the steering wheel and seat.

Nevertheless, the CR-V does exhibit a noticeable amount of wind and road noise at highway speeds, surpassing levels experienced in many rival models such as the Kia Sorento, Lexus NX, Land Rover Discovery Sport, and Volvo XC60. This heightened noise level during longer journeys could potentially lead to some fatigue.

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