The new CR-V gets a hybrid variant for the first time, and Honda promises better ride quality across the line-up

The new Honda CR-V, which has been revealed at Geneva motor show, will be offered with the options of seven seats and a hybrid for the first time.

There will be two powertrains available: a 1.5-litre turbocharged VTEC petrol engine, available with either a manual or CVT gearbox, or a hybrid 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol engine with two electric motors - one for propulsion and one electric generator motor - which was previewed by a prototype version at last year’s Frankfurt motor show.

Honda UK boss Dave Hodgetts predicted that an equal split between petrol and hybrid sales in the UK would take three years. 

The new model does not get a diesel, a dramatic move given that 60% of current CR-V sales in the UK are diesel. Hodgetts said he believe plenty of people would turn to petrol instead, but added that "higher mileage drivers would wait for hybrid". Deliveries for the petrol CR-V start in autumn, while the hybrid - only available on the five-seat version - arrives in 2019. 

The gearbox on the hybrid is a new single fixed-gear ratio transmission, which Honda claims ensures smoother torque delivery. A system called i-MMD (Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive) manages the powertrain, so drivers don’t have to switch between the three drive modes - EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive. The Atkinson cycle engine relies on the electric motor for low-end torque, but the motor can also assist the 2.0-litre petrol engine when required. 

Honda claims that fuel economy for the petrol-only model will be class-leading but stopped short of revealing official figures; these will be released nearer the car’s sale in autumn. The car’s underbelly has been specially sculpted to improve aerodynamics and improve fuel economy. 

The brand describes the CR-V’s chassis as "the most sophisticated" one on the model yet, with the main goals being improved ride quality and better capability off-road. 

Honda claims that the CR-V seven-seater with a third row of seats will have class-leading access and leg room for the rearmost seats. Outwardly, it’s grown in every direction to accommodate the extra interior space. 

Hodgetts said take-up of the seven-seater would be "lower than you'd think", but added that plenty of customers have previously asked why the brand does not offer a seven-seater. 

The car’s ground clearance grows to as much as 208mm for four-wheel-drive petrol cars, contributing to what Honda claims will be true off-road potential. 

Tech highlights on the new CR-V include two 7.0in displays - one in place of traditional dials and the other serving as the main infotainment display. A powered tailgate also features, with a system that prevents the door from scraping low ceilings. 

The model, which has only has subtle exterior changes, is already on sale in America, but this is the first time it's been seen in European specification. 

Prices are expected to rise, given the model’s size increase over its predecessor, meaning a higher entry point than the current car’s £23,475. Deliveries for the petrol CR-V will start in autumn, while the hybrid arrives in 2019. Rivals will include smaller SUVs such as the Volkswagen Tiguan and Nissan Qashqai, as well as larger offerings including the Nissan X-Trail and Ford Kuga.

The CR-V was Honda's third biggest seller in the UK last year, after the Jazz and Civic. Once the new model is on sale, Hodgetts is hoping for sales of 15,000 annually in the UK. He admits the majority of buyers will be loyal Honda customers, but hopes the introduction of the hybrid variant and seven-seat option will bring new buyers to the brand too.

Read more

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Our Verdict

Honda CR-V

Can the Honda CR-V bring anything new to a crowded arena?

Join the debate


28 February 2018

As someone in the replacement SUV market by end of year, only thing I need to know from Honda for now is the hybrid CO2 figure. From that its either 'might be interesting' or 'forget it'

28 February 2018

I can't see sales Honda's projected sales growth with ever more rivals and without the option of a diesel. No, they're not flavour of the month but they still have a role to play especially in the SUV class. Not that the CRV is in any way 'sporty'

28 February 2018

Why oh why do they do it?

Every time I find a car that I like, and that just fits in my garage, they make the next version bigger. So the battle to find a car to match my needs starts all over again. 

28 February 2018

Why oh why do they do it?

Every time I find a car that I like, and that just fits in my garage, they make the next version bigger. So the battle to find a car to match my needs starts all over again. 


28 February 2018

....and so, at a stroke, Honda shoots itself in the foot! Its sole USP being its more compact size.

This up-sizing of every generation of vehicle just has to stop.....the roads just arent getting any bigger, and neither are parking places/garages.

Utter madness. 

28 February 2018

Another crappy fake SUV, another ugly Honda.

XXXX just went POP.

28 February 2018

I agree with the comments about size, I guess that is driven by the USA version demands. But the current size is perfect, seats 5 easily, plenty of room and proper big boot. My PHEV is sometimes a bit ungainly due to its size, I had a CRV before which was easier to find spaces for so it would have been nice to downsize again, apparently not as its got bigger.

6 March 2018

when Honda enable me to have anything other than funeral black interior fabric or leather trim without buying the top model we will come back to them, in the meantime it is BMW or LR for us again...

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