Final Report - 5th February 2020
Looking back at our 4000 miles with the Honda CR-V hybrid reveals some interesting and salient points.
At the start of our six months with the SUV we were, if we’re honest, sceptical about the fuel consumption claims, unsure about the styling and looking forward to the interior space.
To knock the last point off first, the CR-V was even more practical and roomy than we expected. The boot is massive – something that isn’t always the case when car makers add in electric power to an existing model, because the batteries and motors have to go somewhere.
Coming to the middle point, we’re still a little unsure about the styling at the front, it’s just too fussy for such a large car, but this is subjective.
However, it was the fuel consumption that amazed us most. The Honda CR-V hybrid is the first test car I’ve ever run that has genuinely achieved a fuel economy figure higher than the manufacturer’s claim.
At 41.5mpg the figure may not look that high but take into account the CR-V’s size and the fact it’s a petrol and the figure looks more impressive. The equates to 14p a mile. That’s equivalent to diesel costs, except that the company car tax bracket (28%) is significantly lower.
And this is the point; you can have a large car with diesel economy without the stigma of the black pump and tax implications. A good result for Honda and its company car customers.
Update - 22nd January 2020
In my third report on the CR-V, my 13-year-old daughter, described her experience with the user interface for the car’s sat-nav as making her “feel like a granny with a new mobile phone”.
I have now had some feedback from Honda to mention that, hidden deep in the car’s software, is a different ‘skin’ (essentially a new look and layout) to the stereo and sat-nav.
With this new ‘skin’ activated it does indeed make certain aspects a lot easier to use; for instance, you can now switch between DAB and CarPlay more easily and finding the presets for the radio stations is also easier. However, the system is still a far cry from the latest technology available in rival vehicles.
Four-Month Report - 13th November 2019
Understandably, we’ve covered a lot about the hybrid aspects of the CR-V; it’s the ‘new’ part of the car, after all. However, for those that aren’t familiar with what the rest of the CR-V package is like to live with, here’s a short guide.
First and foremost, the big Honda is incredibly easy to live with.
I’ve already written about how large the boot is, so let’s look at the rest of the interior. That starts with getting into the car. The doors open really wide; this is particularly useful for the rear seats when sorting out kids and their car seats.
If you’re putting adults, rather than kids, in the back seats, then there’s really good leg- and headroom, plus you can easily seat three adults. There’s also two USB sockets for the back seats so the kids don’t squabble over that.
Up front, there’s loads of storage space, best of which is in the central ‘bin’ which is big enough to take a DSLR camera – plus this space also has two USB sockets, one HDMI and one traditional 12v power outlet (there’s a second 12v outlet in the dash too).
However, my new-found favourite thing is the roof-mounted sunglasses holder that doubles as a mirror.
Update - 2nd October 2019
Until this point I had steadfastly believed that no matter how you drive, fast or slow, the Honda would always return 41mpg, which is also just above the official fuel figure for the large SUV.
However, a recent refuel followed by 50 mile cross-country run in the CR-V hybrid, mostly consisting of hilly B-roads and busy A-roads, resulted in the trip computer reading 53mpg.
Even allowing for overreading of about 4mpg, that’s 10mpg up on normal.
Interestingly, as soon as I got back to my normal habitat of town and motorway, the figure fell again.
At least now I’ve got something to aim for, because I now know the Honda will give even better fuel figures.
Three Month Report - 18th September 2019
A short week’s holiday in Northumberland has certainly shown up the Honda CR-V hybrid’s considerable strengths.
The boot feels significantly larger than the official claimed figure of 497 litres, and so can easily accommodate our double dog cage. There’s also plenty of rear-seat legroom, which means the kids are less inclined to kick the back of your chair. Or if you’ve left them with relatives you can stuff squashy overnight bags into the footwell.
The long motorway journey from Surrey also gave me time to mull the whole ‘hybrid’ terminology. Given the only fuel you ever put in the CR-V is petrol (it’s not a plug-in hybrid) and that you can’t guarantee it will run purely on electricity even if you press the EV button, it’s really just a very efficient petrol car. And that’s the point. Honda has built a large 2.0-litre petrol SUV that’s as efficient in the real-world as the 1.6 diesel it replaces.
I’m getting an almost unwavering 41mpg and paying petrol prices for the fuel, plus the CO2 figure of 120g/km means the car’s in a lower tax band (28%) than the outgoing diesel (31%).
A win for all concerned.
Update - 7th August 2019
Everything is going swimmingly with our long-term Honda CR-V. Almost.
The infotainment system is not what you’d call intuitive. Sure, it’s got an amazing array of functions and many, many customisable settings, but some things that should be easy just aren’t.
The perfect summary came from my tech-savvy teenager who tried and failed to switch to a non-preset radio station in the CR-V (because she didn’t like my choice of Absolute 80s– or anything else I’d preset) and uttered the immortal phrase: “I feel like a granny with a new mobile phone.”
Fortunately, if it does all get a bit too much, Apple CarPlay is standard, so I find myself just using this more and more.
First Report - 24th July 2019
This is a first. After more than 20 years of running a range of test cars, the Honda CR-V hybrid is the first to achieve a real-world fuel efficiency figure better than the official mpg.
Yup, the CR-V has averaged 41.7mpg against the official 40.9mpg.
What’s more I have to admit that just about all of this has been done with the Sport mode engaged (see Tester’s notes). I’ve only briefly tried Normal or Eco, which are also on offer, but will remedy this soon.
The Honda has provided a few other positive first impressions, too.
First up is comfort level, which is excellent. I’ve already been on a few longer journeys and can report zero back pain or discomfort. It’s easy to find a comfortable driving position and there’s a good range of seat adjustments including powered lumbar support.
Also helping longer journeys is the adaptive cruise control, which includes a stop-and-go function. In traffic jams it’s the smoothest system I’ve tested and tries to keep the car creeping for as long as possible before it has to stop.
Also worthy of early praise is the size of the boot. Not only is there a decent expanse of floor area, but it’s good height, too. And with the seats folded you can get two ‘dumpy bags’ in for a tip run.
Long may the CR-V continue to outperform my expectations.
Preview - 26th June 2019
Honda is no stranger to the hybrid market, so it should come as no surprise that the latest version of the CR-V, introduced at the start of this year, is now offered as a self-charging petrol-electric hybrid.
The hybrid element means company car drivers can now have a family SUV with one of the most competitive benefit-in-kind tax positions going.
The 120g/km emissions figure is already better than most diesel adversaries’, which incur a 4% penalty. For this tax year, the CR-V comes in with a 28% tax band.
Fuel consumption is where the Honda could struggle. Its official figure of 40.9mpg is some way behind diesel rivals’. But as we’ve said before, petrol is a lot cheaper than diesel these days and it could be that the CR-V costs less per mile.
Over the next six months we’ll find out.