Honda CR-V Hybrid long-term test

Being a big family SUV with a hybrid engine should make the Honda CR-V pretty hot property right now. But, does it have its work cut out over the next few months?...

Honda CR-V long term test review 2023

The car Honda CR-V 2.0 i-MMD Hybrid Advance | Run by Lawrence Cheung, new cars editor

Why it's here Honda's latest e:HEV hybrid system has impressed us in the Civic hatchback, so does it work just as well in its bigger stablemate?

Needs to Fit everyone in with long distance comfort in mind and require infrequent stops to the petrol station

Mileage 4185 List price £48,995 Target Price £48,020 Price as tested £49,990 Test economy 37.3mpg Official economy 42.8mpg Dealer value now £37,620 Private value now £37,389 Running costs (excluding depreciation) Fuel £256.03 

16 February 2024 – Life's a beach with the CR-V

Studies have shown that spending time outdoors is a great way to unplug and relax from everyday life, whether it’s by taking a walk in a park, going for a bike ride, or heading to the beach. I’m very fortunate to have a job that takes me to the last option quite often and it’s a great opportunity for a screen break when our photographer wants to head there for a car photoshoot. 

Honda CR-V Hybrid, long term farewell

In many ways, having my Honda CR-V shot here seemed like a fitting way to sum up my time with it. Because, like the setting, my hybrid Honda is calming to drive and free of distraction – it’s been a great place to de-stimulate after a hectic day. It commands very little effort from the driver. You just hop into the driver’s seat, press the ignition and Drive buttons and off you go. And since my car spends most of its time running purely on electric power, progress is smooth, too.

Having one of the most user-friendly layouts in its class has also helped. The row of physical buttons and knobs for the heated seats and ventilation system means I can immediately locate and switch on everything that helps defrost the car (and driver) as soon as I start it on a cold morning.

Honda CR-V hybrid long termer, touchscreen

It might only equate to a matter of seconds, but I’ve hopped in and out of test cars which have these functions integrated into the touchscreen, and you have to wait for a laggy infotainment system to boot up before you can select them. Having these physical controls makes it far less distracting to adjust the temperature while I’m driving, too. 

Indeed, the 9.0in touchscreen is pretty small by today’s standards and the graphics don’t look as crisp against premium rivals, but it‘s easy enough to use. I can customise the bottom row of shortcuts with my most commonly used functions, including the in-built sat-nav, Apple Carplay and the radio so I don’t have to dig around the menus very often.

Honda CR-V Hybrid, cruising, side

However, in a similar way to spending time at the beach, there’s plenty of background noise as well. This is one of the main areas where the CR-V struggles to compete against its more hushed premium rivals, and the road and wind noise it generates while driving is something even the Bose 12-speaker sound system struggles to drown out.

There are no complaints when it comes to the sheer size of the thing. Being around 5ft 11in tall, I’m the tallest member of my family, so the CR-V’s relative lack of head room against rivals was never a problem for us. The sliding rear bench allowed us to juggle between the generous amount of leg room and boot space, although the lever is so neatly integrated in the outer corners of the seat base, it actually took us a while to find it (we were expecting to find them located underneath the seat base).

The CR-V’s cavernous boot meant there were only a couple of occasions when I needed to fold down the rear seats. While the CR-V had no problems swallowing a flat-pack tv unit (at a length of 180cm) or an old 50in plasma TV, a small ridge below the rear seatback means the floor isn’t completely flat when they are folded, so these longer items did require a bit of leverage to help clear it before sliding onto the extended load bay.

Honda CR-V Hybrid, boot, furniture

Due to a lack of charging at home, going for the hybrid was more practical than if I’d paid more for the plug-in hybrid CR-V, but would I be tempted by another rival? The CR-V is without question a likeable family SUV, but it's also towards the expensive end of the class.

At the time of writing, a high-spec Toyota RAV4 GR Sport can be had for £46,800, while a Lexus NX 350h AWD Premium Pack costs £46,435. True, for £49,990 (including metallic paint), you get plenty of kit in my CR-V, but the lack of sound deadening and a more upmarket interior means it can be quite easily overlooked on a buyer’s shopping list. 

Overall, I’ll miss the CR-V’s ability to turn journeys into an easygoing one, and in my opinion, it’s just a few small steps away from being a great family SUV.

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