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Honda CR-V long term test

On paper, the Honda CR-V mixes family SUV practicality with hybrid efficiency, but what's it like to live with? We're finding out...

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The car Honda CR-V 2.0 i-MMD Hybrid SR eCVT 2WD Run by John Bradshaw, chief photographer

Why it’s here To see if this hybrid-powered family SUVs can cut it as an all-weather, all-purpose workhorse

Needs to Carry heavy, bulky equipment all over the country while being comfy, safe and economical

Mileage 1219 List price £36,580 Target Price £34,997 Price as tested £37,365 Test economy 41.5mpg Official economy 42.2mpg Options fitted Platinum White pearl paint (£650) and fitted boot tray (£135 dfo)

27 October 2023 – Climbing the family tree

I’ve chosen a Honda CR-V for my new car. Now, what made me do a thing like that? Well, there’s actually a whole stack of reasons.

First, my previous car, a Nissan Qashqai, demonstrated that a family SUV suits me to the ground. As What Car?’s chief photographer, I’ve found such vehicles give me enough boot space for the cameras, photographic accessories and car cleaning gear that I have to lug around from Monday to Friday, plus enough interior space for family and friends at the weekend. Having enough ground clearance to cope with occasional forays onto rugged tracks is appreciated, too.

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An SUV makes sense, then, but so far, so unspecific. Why did I go for the Honda? Well, curiosity played no small part in my decision. The last time I owned a car from the brand, an old Honda Civic, I kept it for most of its working life. It was a reliable, versatile family workhorse, and it really did work hard, picking up the scars of tough urban living on its way. Trusty as it was, though, you’d never have called it sophisticated.

I’m hoping my CR-V can prove as handy (and hardy) as my old Civic, but that it’ll go rather further to make my life easy. You see, as much as I enjoy my job, it’s made far easier when the journey home after a shoot doesn’t feel like an extension of the working day. On top of practicality and reliability, I want comfort and relaxation.

A good dose of fuel-efficiency would be welcome, too, and the CR-V should have that base covered because it’s a hybrid, and a very clever one.

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At most speeds, its 2.0-litre petrol engine works as a generator to power a pair of electric motors that drive the front wheels. At higher speeds, though, the engine can power the wheels directly. I’m keen to see how this set-up performs; in truth, the CR-V’s official 42.2mpg combined economy figure doesn’t seem all that impressive, considering the complicated technology, but it’s more likely to show an advantage when I’m in slow-moving urban traffic and can select EV (Electric Vehicle) mode. Time will tell.

My car is an SR – one step away from the top of the CR-V trim ladder. As such, it’s very generously equipped without going to excess. Basically, it adds a bit of welcome garnish to the SE level that we usually recommend; on top of that model’s dual-zone air conditioning, LED head and tail lights, privacy glass and 7.0-in infotainment system with Garmin sat nav, it brings leather upholstery, a de-icing system for the windscreen wipers, and blind-spot monitoring.

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That latter system is supplementary to the standard Honda Sensing Advanced Safety set-up, which includes automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance, traffic sign recognition and an intelligent speed limiter that knows to set my maximum speed according to posted speed limits.

This all sounds like good news to me; anything that could help keep me safe and relaxed on a long trip has to be worth having.

The only piece of kit thing that my CR-V has that isn’t part of the standard specification is a fitted boot tray (a £135 dealer-fitted accessory) to help keep things neat and tidy in the luggage compartment.

I would have quite liked a heated steering wheel, but you can’t add it as an option and it seemed excessive to leap up to range topping EX trim. In fact, the only options offered are pricey design packages that start at £1080 for the Style Pack.

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I think my CR-V looks great without any exterior tweaks, though; with its Platinum White Pearl paint (£650), and its 18in alloy wheels, it looks every bit its £37,230 list price. It certainly has more presence than my old Civic, and I’m looking forward to making it a part of the family.

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