Being a motoring journalist, a hack, is somewhat perpetually troublesome. Here we are, looked upon as supposed experts, yet how do you define a motoring journalist? What is the true value of motoring journalism? They are writers, precision grammarians, not engineers. One problem with motoring journalism is that it can never benchmark or validate the long-term reliability of a car. The average motoring hack has a press car for a week, then writes a thumbs-up review. Motoring journalism can not test for reliability over the course of a week, or even a 6-month long-termer, regardless of manufacturer.
Regardless of the manufacturer? Yer-avin-a-laugh yeah? Honda is the gold standard for reliability. OK, that’s an over the top statement, but it is statistically true. Yet making consistently reliable vehicles isn’t enough for car buyers in the West because a vast majority prefer prestige over reliability.
And after a few months/years of prestige vehicle ownership, they log into their Trustpilot account and complain like a privileged Karen about the lack of reliability of their newly acquired prestige-premium autobahn annihilator while at the same time eating avocado on toast and arguing over a vacant car parking space… to a stray dog.
The world’s gone mad.
You can trust Honda to deliver a reliable car, it may not be exciting but look at it this way. What is exciting about putting down £50K or £60K on a car that spends more time in a garage hooked up to a diagnostic computer than it does on the road? What is exciting about being stranded on the hard shoulder in your three-pointed star?
Oh lord, why don’t you buy me a re-li-able car?
Anyway, the Honda CRV eHEV, it’s available in two trim levels and is powered by one engine, a 4-cylinder, 184bhp/315Nm torque 2.0-litre hybrid engine.
Standard interior equipment is generous, the highlights include heated leather seats, Sat-Nav, dual-zone climate control, auto wipers, adaptive cruise control, heated/folding door mirrors, a 7-inch infotainment system with Garmin Sat-Nav, premium speakers system with sub-woofer.
In addition, you get a lot of driver safety assists thrown in such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information incl. Cross Traffic Monitor, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist System, and much more.
The infotainment system is clunky and outdated but usable. Thankfully the CR-V does offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so most people will end up using either one.
The Honda CR-V has a big exterior profile and that extends into the interior, it offers plenty of room up front and in the rear. Practicality is generous, the boot is 497-litres with the seats up and 1,692-litres when the rear seats are folded down.
The interior is well made and feels much more mature and plusher than a key rival such as the bloody awful VW Tiguan. However, one improvement I would make is to install much more comfortable seats. Unfortunately, Honda doesn’t offer any seating upgrades, and while the seats offer good lateral and longitudinal support, the seat padding is simply too firm.
Nevertheless, the seats are comfortable enough over short durations, but for longer-duration driving… the arse will eventually fatigue.
Ride And Handling
SUVs will never offer sport car levels of ride and handling, in all honesty, I am not looking for an SUV sports car. I am just interested in an SUV that offers me practicality, comfort and ease of use.
All I need is a comfortable ride backed up by safe and predictable handling in all conditions. And you know what? Honda CR-V delivers, yes there is a bit of pitch and roll to deal with if you throw it around like a rag doll. If you drive ‘normally’ you may not be rewarded with life affirming driving dynamics but you will coast to your chosen destination securely whether you take a countryside detour or long haul it on a motorway/highway.
The Hybrid Stuff
The hybrid system works without you ever knowing what is going on. An electric motor twinned with a 2.0-litre petrol engine recharges a 1.1 kWh battery pack. The most EV range you will get from the battery is about 2 miles. Pure EV mode is engaed mostly when crawling in traffic or at low speeds, 20-30mph. Because the battery is constantly and kinetically recharged through coasting or braking you always have EV power at the ready to boost the engine system power.
The CR-V hybrid has three driving modes, my advice is to permanently opt for Sports mode. Forget the other two modes, it feels like you have deployed a massive parachute. Sports mode will give you that instant EV torque enabling the CR-V to sprint out of the blocks like a 100 meter athlete. Sports mode doesn’t affect fuel economy, indeed whatever mode you select the CR-V will manage, at best, 34mpg on a combined run. Not the best next to a Toyota RAV 4 Hybrid which can manage 50mpg.
The Honda CR-V Hybrid isn’t the most efficient in its class. Even a non-hybrid, petrol, 2.0-liter BMW X3 will manage the same fuel economy. But the X3 isn’t the CR-V’s biggest problem right now, it’s Honda. A new generation CR-V is about to launch, perhaps later this year, and it is much better, much better looking, better technology better efficiency.
That’s not to discount the current generation CR-V, discount being the operative word. As the new-gen CR-V comes to market expect heavy discounting of the current model and when that happens you’ll get a lot of car for not much investment.
The CR-V is a decent SUV, don’t ignore it because of its image of being reliable.