New Honda CR-V

comfortably

economical

Honda CR-V Hybrid, front action
Honda CR-V Hybrid, full front static
Honda CR-V Hybrid, side static
Honda CR-V Hybrid, front action 2
Honda CR-V Hybrid, front action 3
Honda CR-V Hybrid, rear action
Honda CR-V Hybrid, dashboard
Honda CR-V Hybrid, boot 2
Honda CR-V Hybrid, rear seats
Honda CR-V Hybrid, front seats
Honda CR-V Hybrid, dash detail
Honda CR-V Hybrid, boot 1

COME on Honda, admit that people after sensible, safe, reliable family transport don't especially want a car that's sporty, athletic and muscular.

Those last three adjectives are called on by Honda to help describe its new CR-V, fifth generation of an SUV that's a huge seller around the world and which has just arrived here with the choice of a hybrid powertrain.

That means goodbye to the chance of a diesel engine in your new CR-V, choosing instead from 1.5 litre pure petrol power or, from now, a 2.0 litre petrol and battery powered alternative.

The latter adds between £3,100 (on less expensive trim lines) and £1,400, for the range topper, in return for the promise of better fuel economy and, perhaps, a glow of eco-green satisfaction from the owner.

The CR-V Hybrid is priced from £29,105 for a two-wheel drive in S trim and tops out at £37,255 for the plushly equipped EX with all-wheel drive.

They all use the same 2.0-litre petrol engine and mix in power from an electric motor when on-board electronics reckons you need more urge or there's the chance of improved economy, with an extremely modest 1.2 miles of pure electric running on tap.

The result is a car with a usefully low CO2 120g/km output in two-wheel drive format or 126g/km if you choose the likely more popular and heavier all-wheel drive model. Both will top out at 112mph and reach 62mph in 8.8 or 9.2 seconds respectively.

So, not especially sporty, athletic or muscular. But sitting in the now larger passenger cabin and surrounded with fixtures and fittings so solid you'd bet on them lasting forever, you probably won't care.

For you'll have bought your CR-V Hybrid for the thought of decent economy - 45.8mpg showed after a morning's drive in an AWD version, against a claimed 51.4mpg -and the certain knowledge the car will perfectly fit your lifestyle.

Which probably won't be sporty, athletic or muscular. More likely to involve school runs and trips to the supermarket or taking granny out to lunch than surfboarding or training with the second eleven.

Driven in an un-sporty way the hybrid CR-V is a notably calm and ordered way to put miles under the car's tyres. Asking for peak performance simply makes the single-speed automatic gearbox produce more noise, as though it knows you don't really want to play at racers.

Honda isn't actually quite sure how much power the newcomer provides; quoting 143bhp for the petrol engine and 181bhp for the electric motor. But you can't simply add the two together (or you'd have a bit of a rocket) and there isn't a combined figure to quote.

Honda is happier to talk about a longer loading length in the boot - enough to take a mountain bike, you athletic types may note - along with extra legroom and split rear seats that flop flat with a single tug on a lever. There's no seven seat option on the Hybrid, thanks to the extra space needed for the more complicated drivetrain.

The car is no longer than before but its extra width makes its feel a more substantial machine on a typical British side road, where the new suspension deals nicely with the ruts and potholes that pepper the Tarmac.

In least expensive S trim the new CR-V Hybrid has single zone climate control, 18ins alloys, electric and heated door mirrors and DAB radio with eight speakers. The SE adds satellite navigation, dual zone climate control, rear view camera, touchscreen for audio controls and parking sensors.

Move up to an SR trim and you find heated front seats, privacy glass, active cornering lights and a leather interior. Top spec EX trim goes further, with heated steering wheel and rear seats, glass sunroof, hands free access to the powered tailgate and a heated steering wheel.

Pretty well every added feature will make you and your passengers more comfortable on the journey but won't make the car more athletic or sporty.

Which is the way Honda will keep selling so many CR-Vs.

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