Honda CR-V eHEV – Review

Honda CR V eHEV Review

By Liam Bird, June 2024

I’ll admit, I was slightly apprehensive. April’s early showers still had more than a hint of our recent and well past its welcome monsoon season about them, not to mention a heavy dose of hail stones on more than one occasion, and various Goodwood group’s social media posts cast tales of woe; predictions of potentially very muddy car parks, the fitting of towing eyes – just in case, you understand – plus the need for wellies, four-wheel drive, and being towed back to tarmac by tractor.

Would the fields surrounding the Duke of Richmond’s racing circuit turn into something reminiscent of the Somme come the Member’s Meeting weekend?

If the heavens did open again for the umpteenth time this year, would the new Honda CR-V e:HEV hybrid I’d booked be up to the job?

And where exactly did Honda hide the towing eye?

Honda CR V eHEV Review

“Extra traction”

A five-hundred mile round-trip in my rattley 20 year old Suzuki Jimny, despite its go anywhere you point it prowess, was not something I really wanted to contemplate. Still, if needs must…

A couple days before Honda were due to deliver the CR-V, their always obliging press office rang. “D’you mind if we change the booking? The plug-in hybrid (e:PHEV) we originally had you down for isn’t available next week, would you mind taking the regular hybrid (e:HEV) instead?”

“Is the regular hybrid four-wheel drive?” I asked.

As it turns out the hybrid – the e:HEV – is four-wheel drive. Result!  Both hybrid versions of the Honda CR-V come with a 181bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor(s), but only the e:HEV has four-wheel drive thanks to a second electric motor that powers the back wheels. The e:PHEV – is front-wheel drive only, but it does gets a much bigger (17.7kWh) battery.

On this occasion I was more than happy to have the promise of extra traction over the promise of extra electric-only range. Plus, I wouldn’t have to mess about trying to find somewhere to plug something in; Honda e:HEVs are self-charging, drawing power from regenerative braking. But, had I been intending to tow a trailer or caravan to Sussex for the weekend, it’s the plug-in I would have wanted.

Honda CRV eHEV Review

“New two-speed gear box”

Actually, that should say needed. You see, Honda have fitted the CR-V with their new two-speed gearbox (it helps out at low speeds), the plus point of which is that it has allowed Honda to equip the e:PHEV with a towing mode. With said towing mode engaged, the e:PHEV can utilise all of the power from its petrol engine and its electric motor to tow up to 1,500kg. Granted, that’s not Land Rover territory, and it wouldn’t pull your classic racing car to Goodwood, or anywhere else for that matter, nevertheless, and for comparison, 1,500kg is the same as the Kia Sorento and the Lexus NX can handle.  Conversely the e:HEV – that’s the four-wheel drive, non-plug-in, remember? Do try to keep up at the back  – doesn’t have towing mode. As such, the e:HEV can only pull 750kg.

Fortunately, you don’t have to tow an Air BnB. You do though, if you want to enjoy one of the best season opening weekends of classic car racing, have to drive from out here in the Far Unlit Unknown to West Sussex.

Don’t ever say I don’t fully test the test cars!  That’s also enough distance to see if Honda’s claims of a range 596 miles on a single tank of unleaded ring true.

By the time I’d go to Midhurst, the CR-V’s digital dash was telling me it was averaging 41.3 mpg, but there was less than a half a tank left. I’m not one to ever let the fuel light come on, so I topped-up the tank. That range check would have to wait for another weekend.

Honda CR V eHEV Review

“A few observations”

The drive to Sussex did though allow me, and my passenger, to make a few observations.

The driver certainly gets the better deal comfort-wise; the driving position can be made near perfect thanks to a multi-adjustable seat. The passenger seat however doesn’t tilt, and there’s no height adjustment. It all feels a bit flat on the left (in a RHD, that is).

There’s more wind noise than you’d expect in a premium – or, at least, a car with a premium price-tag – SUV, especially- so from around the top of the windscreen pillars. Is that because there’s less engine noise? It’s hard to say. The low speed ride isn’t good.

Despite tall side walls, the tyres thump on all but the most minor of road imperfections – at least things smooth out on roads that permit higher speeds. The boot is huge, there’s acres of rear leg room, and there are proper knobs and dials for heating and ventilation. And being a Honda, build quality feels bomb-poof.

Honda CR V eHEV Review

“Pick your spec very carefully”

So what about that all-wheel-drive system and those quagmire car parks?

Upon arrival at Goodwood, all was dry. Except until Sunday evening, by which time we’d left the circuit, when it peed down yet again. The car park surfaces were hard, no wheels spun, no one got muddy, and no all-wheel drive systems were needed. I’m still glad we had the reassurance of having it though.

If there is a moral to any of this, it’s that if you’re thinking of buying a new Honda CR-V hybrid, be sure to pick your spec very carefully.

Honda CR-V 2.0i MMD Advance
Engine: 1,993 cc, 4Cyl, 16V-turbocharged petrol
Transmission: Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT) all-wheel drive.
Electric Motor Torque: 335 Nm
Electric Motor Power: 135 kW
Engine Power: 184 bhp @ 6,100 rpm
Torque: 140 lbft @ 4,500 rpm
0-62mph: 9.5 sec
Max Speed: 116 mph
MPG: 42.8 (WLTC combined).
CO2: 151 g/km
Price: £48,995 (Car Driven £49,670)


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