Honda’s decision to drop diesel from the CR-V’s engine line-up might yet prove to be a sound one if the incoming hybrid is good. But, until that car arrives at least, you might well wonder if a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, hooked up to a CVT, will be the right fit for this near-1700kg car.
The answer to that question seems questionable out on the road. Backing turbo petrol power delivers the CR-V some desirable qualities: it’s a mechanically refined car when cruising at low engine speeds, and it revs more smoothly and freely than a like-for-like diesel might.
But it revs – a lot. Despite its efforts to make the CR-V’s transmission behave more like a torque converter automatic or even a dual-clutch auto at times, Honda has failed to engineer out the slushy, ‘elastic band’ feel out of this car’s power delivery entirely.
If you’re happy to adopt an unhurried stride, the powertrain is very respectable; it’s smooth and fairly easy to manage. But when you either want or need the car to accelerate hard, it resorts to spinning the engine crankshaft up to 5000rpm and letting the transmission dole out the torque to the car’s four wheels as best it can.