Honda CR-V long term test: report 2

On paper, the Honda CR-V mixes family SUV practicality with hybrid efficiency, but what's it like to live with? We're finding out...

Honda CR-V 2022 long-term Humber bridge

The car Honda CR-V 2.0 i-MMD Hybrid SR eCVT 2WD Run by John Bradshaw, chief photographer

Why it’s here To see if this hybrid-powered family SUVs can cut it as an all-weather, all-purpose workhorse 

Needs to Carry heavy, bulky equipment all over the country while being comfy, safe and economical

Mileage 2212 List price £36,580 Target Price £34,997 Price as tested £37,365 Test economy 40.5mpg Official economy 42.2mpg

17 November 2022 – The power and the fury

A long journey gives you a great opportunity to get to know a new car, and a recent trip up the A1 to Humberside told me all I needed to know about how my Honda CR-V conducts itself. 

Set a steady cruise and, when the traffic gods are kind enough to let you maintain a constant speed, the 2.0-litre engine hums away in the background in a fairly subdued manner. However, if you're forced to slow by a pocket of more sluggish traffic, an Eddie Stobart lorry inching its way past another, for instance, the serenity is short-lived if you want to regain pace with anything approaching urgency.

Honda CR-V 2022 long-term dash display

It's all to do with the hybrid power system, which is rather complicated to explain, but it boils down like this. Usually, the petrol engine's job is to generate electricity to power a pair of motors that drive the car. At higher speeds, though, the engine powers the wheels itself. Now, of course, the engine produces the most electricity when it's turning at high revs, so putting your foot down to accelerate hard has it girding its loins and emitting a Rob Roy-style battle yell. 

Better news is that the motorway ride is extremely calm. The CR-V disguises scruffy surfaces well enough to make you think that the Government's highway repair budget must be going a long way. The potholes that you can distinctly see as you approach them must have been fixed with some kind of invisible filling; I barely feel them when they pass beneath. The driving seat is comfy, too, although it could be even better; the way the backrest adjustment works, my perfect position seems to be halfway between two detents, making it impossible to select.

Honda CR-V 2022 long-term gear selector

I guess I need to get used to it being almost, but not quite, spot on. And that's not the only thing I need to get used to. The gear selector continues to defeat me. Because there's no gearbox as such, there's no mechanical gear selector, just an array of buttons.

My instinct, when putting an automatic car into drive, is to grab something and pull it back, and the only control that makes the Honda CR-V move when you pull it back is the reverse gear toggle. Drive gets its own button, handily marked with an illuminated D. Perhaps I should get a hat made up that says the same thing.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Read more about our long-term Honda CR-V >>

See more long-term test cars >>

Also consider