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Honda CR-V Hybrid long term test review

CR-V sat-nav is clunkyEconomy is a Honda CR-V highlightSunglasses holder is also a mirrorCentral cubby is decently large

Long-term test reviews

Final Report - 5th February 2020

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - Final Report - 5th February 2020 - Main Image

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.

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - Final Report - 5th February 2020 - Image 2

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.

Tristan Young

Tester's notes

1. The CR-V is an easy car to live with, because it’s comfy, practical, easy to park and has all the kit you need.

2. The only two things that upset this easy atmosphere were the infotainment system and the adaptive cruise control. The former by being overly complicated and the second for be a bit ‘jumpy’ about shadows when it would sometimes hit the brakes.

The stats

Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD

P11D: £34,805

Official combined mpg: 40.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 41.5mpg

CO2: 120g/km

Update - 22nd January 2020

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - Update - 22nd January 2020 - Image 2 - CR-V sat-nav is clunky

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.

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - Update - 22nd January 2020 - Main Image - Changing the infotainment softwares 'skin' makes certain aspects a lot easier to use

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.

Tristan Young 

The stats

Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD

P11D: £34,805

Official combined mpg: 40.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 41.1mpg

CO2: 120g/km

Four-Month Report - 13th November 2019

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - Four-Month Report - 13th November 2019 - Main Image - Honda CR-V doors open wide

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.

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - Four-Month Report - 13th November 2019 - Second Image - Sunglasses holder is also a mirror

Sunglasses holder is also a mirror

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.

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - Four-Month Report - 13th November 2019 - Third Image - Central cubby is decently large

Central cubby is decently large

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.

Tristan Young

Tester's notes

1. Now the weather’s getting more autumnal I’ve noticed it takes ages for the windscreen to demist in the morning.

2. However, while you’re waiting for this, the heated seats do an excellent job of warming your backside.

The stats

Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD

P11D: £34,805

Official combined mpg: 40.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 41.1mpg

CO2: 120g/km

Update - 2nd October 2019

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - Update - 2nd October 2019 - Main Image - Honda CR-V at home in the country

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.

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - Update - 2nd October 2019 - Image 2 - Economy is a Honda CR-V highlight

Economy is a Honda CR-V highlight

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.

Tristan Young  

The stats

Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD

P11D: £34,805

Official combined mpg: 40.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 41.1mpg

CO2: 120g/km

Three Month Report - 18th September 2019

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - First Report - 18th September 2019 - Main Image - CR-V is a bit of a looker

A short week’s holiday in Northumberland has certainly shown up the Honda CR-V hybrid’s considerable strengths.

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - First Report - 18th September 2019 - Image 2 - Dog carrier fits easilyThe 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.

Tristan Young

Tester's notes

1. The boot lid only opens to a height of approximately 5ft 10in. I’m 6ft 1in, so I keep bumping my head when I forget to duck when loading the boot. Just a little extra height would have been hugely appreciated.

2. The CR-V may be new, but the sat-nav mapping isn’t. The holiday to Northumberland revealed a few missing roads.

The stats

Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD

P11D: £34,805

Official combined mpg: 40.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 41.1mpg

CO2: 120g/km

Update - 7th August 2019

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - Update - 7th August 2019 - Main Image - The CR-V's infotainment system isn't the most intuitive

Everything is going swimmingly with our long-term Honda CR-V. Almost.

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - Update - 7th August 2019 - Image 2 - Trying to get to a non-preset radio station proved problematic - even for a tech savvy teenagerThe 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.

Tristan Young  

The stats

Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD

P11D: £34,805

Official combined mpg: 40.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 41.7mpg

CO2: 120g/km

First Report - 24th July 2019

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - First Report - 24th July 2019 - Main Image

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.

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - First Report - 24th July 2019 - Image 2 - Decent boot size is able to take several bags of garden wasteAlso 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.

Tristan Young

Tester's notes

1. If you’re less than six-feet tall the boot opens to just the correct height. But if you, like me, are just over 6ft tall then you’ll have to remember to duck when loading the boot or risk bumping your head.

2. Throttle response in Normal and Eco modes is sluggish and the car isn’t quick to start with. Sport mode is best.

The stats

Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD

P11D: £34,805

Official combined mpg: 40.9mpg

Our combined mpg: 41.7mpg

CO2: 120g/km

Preview - 26th June 2019

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - Preview - 26th June 2019 - Main Image

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.

Long Term Test - Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD - Preview - 26th June 2019 - Image 2The 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.

Tristan Young  

The stats

Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid SR 2WD

P11D: £34,805

Official combined mpg: 40.9mpg

Our combined mpg: n/ampg

CO2: 120g/km