New Honda CR-V is brand's first plug-in hybrid for Europe

3 weeks, 4 days ago - 15 May 2023, autocar
New Honda CR-V is brand's first plug-in hybrid for Europe
Bold new look, two hybrid options and larger dimensions for Honda's Toyota RAV4 rival

The new Honda CR-V will go on sale in the UK in the coming months, bearing a bold new look, dramatically increased dimensions and offering the choice of plug-in hybrid power for the first time.

It has been revealed in Europe alongside the new Honda e:Ny1 EV and mid-sized Honda ZR-V hybrid as the Japanese brand comprehensively overhauls its European line-up.

Revealed last year in the US, the new CR-V will be available as either a PHEV or with a familiar e:HEV full-hybrid powertrain, both based around a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine - carried over from the outgoing car but with claimed efficiency, performance and regiment improvements.

The plug-in hybrid offers an electric range of 51 miles – enough, Honda says, for the SUV to be used as an EV for the majority of daily driving – and can be fully topped up in 2.5 hours at an 11kW charger.

The SUV was the first model in the Japanese brand's line-up to ditch pure-ICE power and its successor follows the same path in Europe, despite being launched in the US with an optional pure-petrol engine.

The full-hybrid option is familiar from the Honda Civic hatchback: a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is teamed with a pair of electric motors for a combined 204bhp and 247lb ft - both slight increases – and a top speed of 115mph.

Honda claims the new CR-V is "more refined at highway speeds" and "more fun to drive", adding that the Linear Shift Control function will abate the often derided soundtrack of the CVT by altering engine revs to more closely mimic a conventional automatic.

Like the Civic, the new CR-V sits atop Honda's latest global architecture, with an increase in wheelbase boosting ride quality and – together with a slightly widened track – stablility.

The body is said to be 15% stiffer, while the suspension and steering have been tuned for better handling and responsiveness.

The model has also been extensively redesigned for what Honda calls a "stronger, more aggressive presence". Honda cites inspiration from the US-market Ridgeline pick-up truck and Passport SUV, highlighting a beltline that emphasises a 69mm increase in length, as well as a 41mm extension to the wheelbase and a subtle 10mm increase to its width.

Inside, meanwhile, the relationship with the new Civic is clear. A 7.0in digital dial display is standard, there's a wide centre console with USB-A and USB-C chargers and a 7.0in or 9.0in free-standing infotainment touchscreen (with smartphone mirroring functionality optional) sits atop a minimalist dashboard decorated by a honeycomb-effect wraparound air vent.

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