Honda CR-V EX Hybrid

Honda CR-V, front
Honda CR-V, side
Honda CR-V, rear
Honda CR-V, interior
Honda CR-V, rear seats
Honda CR-V, boot

MAYBE you reckon Honda's aspirational ad slogan - The Power of Dreams - applies more to cars like the superfast NSX coupe than to an ‘everyday' crossover.

But the practical and capacious big selling CR-V is sure to answer a prayer or two for families who want to travel in comfort without draining the bank balance.

A week behind the wheel of the flagship 4WD Hybrid version complete with automatic gearbox brings it home just how relaxing and easy-to-live-with a well put-together SUV can be.

Like all other models in the current CR-V range, this is part electric powered alongside a petrol 2.0-litre engine which together push out a reasonable 184bhp. It's brisk enough for most families but don't expect fireworks with a top speed of 112mph and acceleration to 62mph in around nine seconds.

It is, however, effortless and relaxed with an almost magic carpet like ride which manages to reach a decent compromise between comfort and adhesion.

The continuous variable transmission helps juggle the petrol engine with the electric motor in a largely fluent fashion. Good sound insulation and a refined engine help in keeping noise levels low and banish the somewhat ‘frenetic' characteristics of CVT gearboxes.

Meanwhile, energy is sent back to the battery when the driver lifts off the accelerator or brakes. Some of the time at low speed , the ICE unit switches off altogether to allow you to travel purely electrically.

Although it's driven by all four wheels, this is a soft road capable of scrabbling up slippery tracks rather than conquering mountain slopes. Ground clearance is sufficiently high to avoid most bumps and humps you're likely to traverse.

The top EX model driven here comes with plenty of kit for its xxx purchase price including electric heated seats, huger panoramic glass sunroof, head-up display and leather upholstery.

The CR-V is a pretty large car and passengers are well catered for with plenty of head and legroom. Particularly impressive is space in the back, assisted still further by the fairly upright seating position. The boot, too, is generously sized being capable of absorbing almost 500 litres of luggage.

The cabin is a lesson in practicality to other makers - deep, wide door pockets, and a huge central mounted bin between the front seats is large enough to swallow most of the family clutter.

Unlike some SUVs of similar size, there's no option to buy a seven-seater, mainly because the battery pack beneath the floor eats up the space that a row of seats would fold into.

Despite its considerable size, economy is better than average. During gentle running we were able to clock up 45mpg, and even over a brisk, congested running its thirst didn't dip below 40mpg.

FAST FACTS

Honda CR-V EX Hybrid

Price: £39,840

Mechanical: 2.0-litre, 184bhp, petrol hybrid engine driving 4 wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 9.2sec

Combined MPG: 47.4

Insurance Group: 24

C02 emissions: 163g/km

Bik rating: 35%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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