Honda CR-V EX Hybrid AWD, a superbly practical SUV

In Car Reviews, Honda by Kieran Bicknell

Honda CR-V – What a wonderful surprise

Given that I was expecting a Honda Jazz Crosstar when the wonderful team at Honda PR said there would be a last-minute unforeseen swap to a CR-V, I was a little surprised. Instead of driving a rugged-style supermini, I would instead be driving the pinnacle of Honda’s SUV range; A tough task, but someone’s got to do it.

I’ve said before about my love for driving SUVs, and immediately the first thing I did upon taking delivery of the Honda CR-V was check out the interior. Safe to say, I was definitely impressed.

The EX sits at the top of Honda’s model range, and it certainly shows. Plenty of leather surfaces cover the interior, including the dash which immediately gives an executive air, backed up by the wonderfully-soft and supportive heated seats. The ‘moon roof’ was a lovely touch, which combined with the tan leather interior made for an impressively light and airy cabin. Overall, the interior felt like it was from a much higher class of car, and I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed spending time in the driver’s seat based on the interior quality alone.

As you’d expect, space and storage abound in the CR-V. Everywhere you look there was storage, while the physical space inside the cabin was shocking. From inside, it felt like I was in a much larger car, and that translates to good news for rear-seat passengers too – there’s enough room back there to host a now-illegal gathering of six.

Boot space is also mighty impressive at 497 litres, while the rear seats fold down to give an incredible 1,638 litres of space should you need it.

On the road, driving the CR-V is a very pleasant experience indeed. Save for the CVT transmission which occasionally made itself all-too-known under heavy acceleration, the miles flew by in wonderfully comfortable peace.

Despite being a high-end model, Honda has thankfully opted for a good chunky tire/wheel combo, giving plenty of cushioning from the sidewalls. Adaptive cruise and active lane-keeping assist both work flawlessly, though, like many, Honda’s active cruise can be a little too slow to respond when moving out to overtake.

The mild-hybrid system is also very good. While not as inclined to stay in EV mode as long as the new Jazz, the CR-V will still creep around town on electric power alone. Regen can be controlled via the paddles on the wheel, though true ‘one-pedal’ driving is sadly not possible here. Once warm, the switchover between EV and ICE is undetectable, save for under heavy acceleration.

Parking is a little tricky with this larger CR-V, and I found reversing into a space far easier than trying to judge the size of the space over the bonnet. That being said, parking cameras and sensors make light work of manoeuvring the vehicle.

Being AWD, the CR-V also makes an excellent choice for those that live out in the sticks. While nothing serious was attempted, I found it coped with decent off-road inclines with ease, even on uneven and rocky surfaces – more than enough for all but the most serious green lane enthusiasts.

So, the bad bits? Well, there are only a few small niggles: The price for the EX is steep, starting from £39,050 without options. The A/C controls are buried in the infotainment system sadly, and even a hard shortcut button doesn’t detract from the frustration of trying to adjust the A/C while on the go via the screen.

Performance is also a little lacklustre, especially when coupled with the noisy (albeit perfectly capable) CVT. That being said, no one in their right mind would use such a vehicle for any sort of spirited driving, and the power was more than enough to get up to motorway speeds easily and inspire confidence when driving, it’s also pretty quiet on a long run.

Overall, a very welcome surprise car for the week. Wonderful interior design, excellent styling and all the practicality of a supertanker – Honda is onto a winner here.

Car reviewed: Honda CR-V EX 2.0 i-MMD Hybrid AWD eCVT, on the road price £38,280 0-62mph 9.2secs Top speed 112mph Engine 1993cc 4 cylinder unleaded Euro 6.2 Fuel Economy Combined 51.4mpg CO2 emissions 126g/km Max Power 184PS Torque 315Nm Transmission CVT Continuously variable transmission

Kieran Bicknell

Motoring writer

Kieran Bicknell offers his fresh take on car reviews by making the most of his dynamic, yet detailed approach to writing. Having graduated from university with a BA (Hons) in Photography and spending a number of years as a freelance automotive photographer. Kieran is now putting his knowledge and writing skills to use, with the ability to supply both written articles and imagery. Kieran feels at home in anything from small superminis to the latest SUVs, and relishes the opportunity to drive, photograph and write about anything with four wheels.

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