Farewell to overpayment

Just a few years ago, almost every Honda car tried to be extravagant in some way. Even the previous CR-V was quite out of line with its competitors, but in my eyes it seemed perhaps even overpaid. This novelty started its life on a clean sheet of paper and with the outgoing generation it has a similar, perhaps, only side silhouette.

The design of the car is significantly sleeker, the huge front mask with the distinctive brand emblem is followed by LED lighting technology, and underneath we find a sporty bumper. The bar at the bottom is functional, by the way, and automatically opens or closes to regulate cooling and aerodynamic drag.

Photo: Honda

Don’t those taillights remind you of something, um… Swedish? Otherwise, the new CR-V is elegant and we like its looks.

Honda did not invent anything new in terms of the shapes themselves. So the CR-V is still a typical SUV with a square body and L-shaped taillights. And again – no unnecessary frills or an effort to impress. Simple shapes, but they form an extremely functional whole.

The novelty is fitted exclusively with eighteen-inch wheels. As we learn from the engineers directly at the presentation, a smaller size would drown in a large body, while larger wheels increase fuel consumption and thus emissions. Eighteens are therefore a compromise between the two. In person, the CR-V feels more robust than its predecessor, and it’s not just a feeling, the novelty has actually grown a bit. The car is now 10 millimeters wider, and even 80 millimeters longer, while the wheelbase has improved by half of that.

The new CR-V The past CR-V Difference
Length 4 706 mm 4 600 mm +94 mm
Width 1 942 mm 1 855 mm +97 mm
Height 1 674 mm 1 689 mm -15 mm
Wheelbase 2 701 mm 2 662 mm +39 mm
Volume of the luggage compartment 587 l 497 l +90 l

A lesson in ergonomics

If there’s one thing I’m really excited about when it comes to Honda news, it’s undoubtedly the new interiors. Sure, you can argue that the Japanese are now fitting solutions from the Civic into all models, but why change something that works great?

When you first get behind the wheel, you immediately notice the low-slung instrument panel, which gives the car a decent view in all directions. Digitization was not forgotten – the Honda CR-V has a 9″ multimedia system screen and a 10.2″ digital instrument panel. The graphics and readability of both displays are at a very good level, as is the clarity and agility of the infotainment. In addition, Honda has worked extensively on remote connectivity with the car. Through the mobile application, in addition to the usual actions (locked/unlocked, car localization, driving data, etc.), you can monitor the charge status of the plug-in hybrid or use the phone as a digital key.

Photo: Honda

The rear bench can be moved up to 190 millimeters and the inclination of the backrests can also be adjusted. With a height of 178 cm, I can sit by myself with a good margin in front of my knees and above my head. The increase in the wheelbase of the car definitely benefited.

But don’t worry, the CR-V is definitely not over-engineered. Look under the center screen. Yes, you saw that right, temperature control dials! Overall, I feel that I immediately settled in the cabin, set the ideal driving position and was able to hit the road. No lengthy search for which function, as was the case with ergonomically successful Volkswagens a few years ago. Thanks for that, Honda!

However, it is not only the arrangement that is successful, the materials themselves also deserve praise. Pleasant leather seats, soft surfaces all around you. In the press release, Honda talks about getting closer to the premium segment, but in this case it is definitely not just an empty phrase of marketers.

Photo: Honda

The hybrid has a battery under the floor of the trunk, so the total volume is paradoxically larger for the plug-in (pictured). It holds 617 liters as standard, the hybrid still manages a respectable 596 liters.

With energy behind

Honda is not a newcomer in the field of hybrids, after all, the predecessor was already offered with an electrified drive. Here, however, the e:HEV solution is brand new, while the plug-in hybrid e:PHEV is appearing in Europe for the very first time. Both versions have the same internal combustion engine – a two-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with an Atkinson cycle and direct injection, which itself has increased between generations to 109 kW (148 hp) and 189 newton meters. The electric motor then supplies an additional 135 kW (183 hp) and 335 newton meters. While the plug-in version will only be offered with front-wheel drive (due to the battery, rear-wheel drive wouldn’t fit in the chassis), the drive-only hybrid can also be had with four-wheel drive with a drive shaft and an all-new control system for active power distribution.

The battery of the hybrid has a capacity of 1.06 kWh and is stored under the luggage compartment floor. The plug-in hybrid logically has a larger battery, its 17.7kWh package promises a range of up to 82 kilometers on electricity alone.

Countless improvements

Just listing the technological novelties of the drive would take up a separate article, so let’s introduce them at least briefly. The internal combustion engine receives a high-pressure and multi-stage fuel system and a low-temperature active catalyst. In order to increase performance, the total area of ​​the exhaust ducts was expanded, and to minimize noise and vibration, Honda used a full urethane engine cover and increased the strength of the crankshaft.

Hybrid e:HEV works with a brand new lightweight transmission developed by Honda, which is equipped with two electric motors – the main and the generator. Compared to the predecessor, they are no longer in the same axis, which made it possible to increase the transmitted torque by 6.5% without taking up space. The maximum speed of the drive electric motor has also increased by 1,500 rpm to a total of 14,500 rpm. Thanks to this, the maximum speed is seven percent higher.

For the transmission, it is worth mentioning the addition of a second gear ratio, when the engine is connected directly to the wheels. The existing high ratio is joined by a lower one, and Honda promises that the drive will be able to work as efficiently as possible in a wider range of driving scenarios. The tables speak of a consumption of 5.9 l / 100 km for front-wheel drive, in the case of 4 × 4 the appetite is eight tenths higher. And a plug-in hybrid? Table 0.8 l / 100 km and mainly 18 grams of CO2 per kilometer, which gives us the benefits of electric number plates. As always, the reality will depend on how often you charge and how far you drive.

The front wheels accelerate from standstill to 100 km/h in exactly nine seconds, the four-wheeler needs four tenths more. The maximum speed with the drive of both axles is 187 km/h, the front wheels can whiz up to 194 km/h, which is a nice number for a full-hybrid, because the limiter usually cuts them to 180 km/h. The plug-in hybrid is even the fastest, going up to 195 km/h.

Photo: Honda

Only the internal combustion engine has 2 kW and 14 Nm more between generations.

For little with or without cable

We are the first to test a hybrid with single-axle drive. The car starts on electricity, i.e. completely silently. The combustion engine connection comes later and imperceptibly, we do not register any jerking or other adverse effects. When the gas pedal is pressed more forcefully, there is an immediate electric assistance, the acceleration under full throttle is rather linear, but we have more than enough power for safe overtaking maneuvers.

Driving comfort and well-being on board are also exemplary. Of course, perfectly smooth districts around Porto, Portugal play into our Honda’s cards, but even on a series of bumps, I don’t feel that the chassis is lost. However, the 18s are also fitted with proper tires with the size 235/60 R18. And driving? Not overpowered, but not unnecessarily stiff either. It actually copies the driving characteristics of the car, which can be neutral for a long time and does not start to resist unpleasantly even at a higher speed. Sure, the CR-V isn’t a circuit toy, but it sits on the asphalt in corners and boldly circles the curve without excessive lean.

Photo: Honda

Thanks to the 6.8 kW charging, the plug-in hybrid can be charged to 100% in 2.5 hours. Even though the plug-in version is the only one with adaptive shock absorbers, the comfort of both versions seemed similar to us during our first drives. The privilege of the externally charged CR-V is the Tow mode for towing a braked trailer of up to 1,500 kg.

As part of getting to know each other, we covered several tens of kilometers of all kinds – from driving through congested Porto through flat districts to a highway section with a maximum permitted speed of 120 km/h. Perhaps only here I would find a small criticism, namely for noise reduction at a higher tempo. The rolling noise from the wheels and aerodynamic whistling could be worked on a little more. On the contrary, the consumption was sympathetic. Without any effort to drive economically, the consumption of the hybrid settled at 6.2 liters. It would certainly be possible to drive for less, which are values ​​that turbodiesels achieve in cars of a similar design.

The plug-in hybrid does have a smaller tank (46.7 vs. 57 l), but with regular recharging it is expected to have significantly lower consumption. With a full charge, the car actually declares over 80 purely electric kilometers, and at a leisurely pace the range disappears proportionally to the distance traveled. However, Honda does not try to waste energy as soon as possible, on the contrary, it works efficiently with it. And so, in the end, we are rewarded with the consumption of exactly two liters, while half of the juice remains in the battery. We observe that at brisk pace, the plug-in is less willing to turn or make sudden changes in direction. But again, the electric nudge is significantly more intense at full acceleration in a straight line.

The new Honda CR-V pleased us with its pleasant appearance, excellent interior and very well-tuned hybrid with low consumption. We’ll see how the so far praised chassis copes with the pitfalls of Czech districts. And we will find out soon, the first pieces of the new generation are already moving on our roads and soon you can look forward to a full-fledged test!

Even Czech prices are no longer a secret. A hybrid with front-wheel drive starts at 1,119,900 CZK, for a four-wheeler, prepare 1,169,900 CZK. The plug-in hybrid version costs CZK 1,394,900. At first glance, it may seem like a lot of money, on the other hand, let’s not forget that Honda put everything important into standard equipment. There we can find automatic two-zone air conditioning, diode lighting technology, heated seats and a rear parking camera. Actually, you only pay 17,900 / 22,900 CZK extra for the pearl/premium varnish. If you compare similar equipment with competitors, they will not differ significantly in price.