Honda CR-V long term test
On paper, the Honda CR-V mixes family SUV practicality with hybrid efficiency, but what's it like to live with? We've been finding out...
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 10783 List price £36,580 Target Price £34,997 Price as tested £37,365 Test economy 38.1 mpg Official economy 42.2mpg Running costs (excluding depreciation) Petrol – £1861 Trade-in value now £28,314 Dealer price now £29,002 Private price now £28,552
24 January 2023 – a portrait of the CR-V
Looking back at my time with my Honda CR-V, I’m reminded of one of the lenses I frequently use as What Car’s chief photographer: Nikon’s 18-200mm ‘superzoom’. It’s not the cheapest in its class, by any means, but it costs a fraction of what you pay for some alternatives that won't give you a better snap. And it's extremely versatile.
Just like how that lens is equally adept at shooting close-ups as it is at capturing things in the distance, the CR-V will do pretty much any transport job you ask it to. I’ve covered its practicality previously, but just last week I was amazed by how many big bags of garden waste it gulped down. With its convenient, commodious boot, it’s a very capable load lugger. And the CR-V is just as good at carrying people.
It recently took me, my wife and our friend Christina on a trip to the French Pyrenees – 1500 miles in total – and proved a great tool for the job. Christina took the back seat, and commented on how spacious and airy she found the car, with the generous windows affording her a great view out as the scenery unfolded.
Of course, the French autoroutes we followed for much of the trip were rather smoother than the UK's lunar-surface A-roads, but even when we tackled rougher, local roads, the CR-V's ride remained comfortable. From behind the wheel, I could feel the odd moment when the CR-V’s soft suspension caused it to float and wallow over faster crests, but the effect was never nauseating enough to put the smart upholstery in peril.
I was well catered for, too. The driving seat is nice and high, and the windscreen pillars slim, resulting in a truly panoramic view forward – a big help when threading the CR-V along the narrow car-carrying coaches of Le Shuttle, which took us under the English channel.
What's more, despite my early misgivings about the seat adjuster (my perfect backrest position lies between two detents, making it impossible to achieve), I experienced no discomfort even at the end of my 14-hour return drive. I was thankful for the seat being heated, too, although I really would have loved a heated steering wheel. Alas, only those wealthy enough to stretch to range-topping EX trim are treated to one of those.
Elsewhere, the pleasingly well-made dashboard is tidily arranged; the controls I use most often – the stereo’s volume knob and the air-conditioning settings – are all easy enough to find and use without taking my eyes off the road for long, and without having to delve into an infotainment system menu.
Still, that’s just as well, because the CR-V’s touchscreen isn’t the most intuitive to operate; too much flicking between menu pages is required for simple tasks such as changing the radio station. The system in the Nissan Qashqai that I ran previously was much more user friendly.
My only other gripe is related to the noise generated by the CR-V's hybrid power system when I put my foot down; the rising engine revs bring a sonic crescendo that fades only when cruising speed is reached. And, for all its cleverness, that hybrid system hasn’t brought quite the miraculous fuel economy I’d have liked it to; consumption has generally hovered around the 41mpg mark.
That dipped further on faster French roads; the autoroute speed limit is 130km/h (a hair's breadth beyond 80mph), and after bouts of cruising at near that, the trip resulted in an average of around 34mpg. Far from disastrous, but hardly parsimonious.
So, as the sun sets on my time with the Honda CR-V, would I recommend it? Absolutely. It wasn't especially fun to drive, but it made for a relaxing way to pass the miles, and as much as I enjoy a spirited drive every now and again, stress-free motoring is more important to me. This is a car that's well equipped and very nicely made, too. And it has managed to hold onto its value pretty well with more than 10,000 miles under its wheels.
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