2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid review - price, specs and release date
The Honda CR-V Hybrid has banished diesel power from the range, but does it offer the performance and economy that large SUV buyers expect?...
Priced from £29,105 | On sale Now
Given that 60% of people who bought this large SUV's predecessor plumped for a diesel engine, it seems strange that Honda has dropped it in favour of the new CR-V Hybrid you see here.
However, the Japanese brand has long been known as an innovator, and it claims its latest hybrid system delivers diesel-like fuel economy by switching between three different modes depending upon the driving conditions.
The petrol-only variant still lives on, though, so does the Hybrid make a compelling case as the best CR-V?
2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid on the road
The CR-V Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor that together produce 181bhp. You can select EV mode to run on electric power alone, which sounds promising, but the electric-only range isn't even three miles. Most of the time, the CR-V Hybrid will run in hybrid mode, using the engine to provide power to the electric motor, which then drives the wheels.
It’s worth noting that the Hybrid is the quickest version of the CR-V, beating the petrol from 0-62mph by 0.5sec, thanks to the immediate torque of its electric motor.
Much like the petrol CR-V, the Hybrid has steering that weights us progressively, helping you place it accurately on the road. And while this is heavier than the Volkswagen Tiguan's, it doesn't make parking a chore.
More of a problem is the fact that the Hybrid pitches and leans to a greater extent than the petrol – a car that already fails to match the body control of the Tiguan and Mazda CX-5. As a result, it can feel distinctly cumbersome on winding roads.
Pressing the Sport button doesn't help, because this sharpens up the accelerator response but has no effect on the suspension.
In addition to EV and Hybrid, there's a third driving mode: Engine. This is usually called into action when maximum power is required, such as when merging onto a motorway or when cruising at higher speeds for an extended period, and when it's engaged, the 2.0-litre petrol engine is directly connected to the driven wheels.
Running costs will naturally be lower than for the petrol, although not by a huge amount. The Hybrid claims 40.9mpg versus the petrol’s 38.7mpg (WLTP combined), while CO2 emissions are 120g/km and 143g/km respectively.
2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid interior
There's plenty of steering wheel adjustment, while electrically adjustable lumbar support for the driver's seat is standard across the CR-V range.
Far more annoying is the 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system, which is slow to respond and has complicated menus that are distracting to use while you're driving.
Rear occupants are well looked after, with reclining seats, lots of leg room and large door pockets. True, the Hybrid doesn't offer the third row of seats available in the petrol (blame the need to fit the batteries beneath the boot floor), but this is no great loss, because those sixth and seventh seats are so cramped that they're uncomfortable for adults and not really suitable for bulky child seats.
Instead, you get a spacious boot that should be more than up to the task of hauling five passengers' worth of holiday luggage. What's more, its lip is very low by large SUV standards, making it easy to load heavy, awkwardly shaped items.
The Hybrid commands a premium of around £3000 over the petrol, but even entry-level S trim comes stocked with safety features, including lane-keeping assistance and automatic emergency braking, plus automatic headlights. Up to SE and you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that serve to mitigate Honda's poor infotainment software, as well as dual-zone climate control and 18in alloy wheels.
For even more detail, have a look at our in-depth 16-point CR-V review.