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  • Writer's pictureMarc Gonzalez

Is the Honda CR-V Hybrid Worth the Wait? A Comprehensive Review

For over thirty years, Honda has been known for several iconic vehicles, such as the Civic, the Accord, and the CR-V, all of which are among America's most popular.

Honda CR-V Hybird
Photo by Vince P. Szigeti

The Honda CR-V in our test is unique because the hybrid version is finally offered on the SUV in North America. This model is also the beginning of the sixth generation of the CR-V, which Honda manufactures to better compete with the Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson, and Kia Sportage, to name a few. Let's get into it: the Honda CR-V Hybrid Touring is built at the Alliston, ON plant and has an MSRP of $48,890. 

The Honda CR-V has seen quite an evolution since its introduction back in 1995. Looking back on its outdoorsy style, it has become more mainstream to satisfy as many buyers as possible. On the exterior design, part of the chrome lip from the previous generation is gone. It looks more muscular thanks partly to its revised headlight housing, blacked-out grille, and removal of most chrome trims in front of the vehicle. The 18-inch aluminum black wheels, complete with the black rocker panels and mirrors, follow the same course. In the back, there is less chrome and more color-painted panels. The taillights are slightly different without going too far from the earlier generation; the rest is in line with the vehicle, including the black plastic panel on the lower bumper. To recap, there are some noticeable changes, especially in differentiating this generation from the last, without changing the winning formula too much, precisely the essence of the new Honda CR-V. 

Once again, there are no drastic changes inside the CR-V; evolution is the mindset here. The dashboard first seen on the Honda Civic has an analog speedometer with a 7-inch colour display on the left, displaying the most helpful information, such as real-time traction and trip information. The dashboard is simple; you can see the most helpful information, such as fuel consumption or traction control, in real-time. Since it isn't full screen, you cannot have a map, but it completes the gauge cluster and works conventionally. One of the main benefits of the Honda CR-V is its practicality due to its size; this sixth generation is no different. You can sit four adults comfortably in the vehicle; the fifth seat is better suited for a child. You will still find ISOFIX ports on the lower parts of the seats and rear anchors on the back. Cargo space is also decent for the category, with plenty of room for groceries and day-to-day activities. The rear seats can be lowered to get a 60/40 split, increasing the interior space. 

Back on the technological aspect, the Honda CR-V is fitted with a 7-inch touchscreen on the base models, while our test model had the optional 9-inch infotainment display. The extra inches are welcome, as the graphics are slightly bigger overall, which makes them easier to use daily. It also has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is an excellent addition compared to the standard screen. You also get a wireless charger, navigation and the premium 12-speaker Bose sound system, which sounds good. Much like the Civic, you will find the honeycomb pattern on the dashboard, with the air vents integrated, which provides a distinctive look. Underneath, you will find the climate controls and the temperature displays on the knobs. Before, you only had the buttons to adjust the controls; you had to take your eyes off the road to look out on the infotainment to see the temperature. In this new generation, it is always available, thus improving security. 

Honda CR-V Hybrid Screen
Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

Under the hood, the Honda CR-V Hybrid Touring uses the same 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the first four trims, including the base model. Coupled with a CVT, this powerplant delivers 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque; in the Touring trim, now available in Canada, the hybrid version comprises a 2.0L four-cylinder engine also with an e-CVT, developing 204 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. The CR-V has never been considered a car for driving enthusiasts. Nonetheless, the electric motor gives the engine an extra oompf. Note that this is a hybrid system; you can drive in electric mode at low speeds and short distances. Since the battery is small, the engine will engage most of the time. Driving-wise, the ride quality is stiffer than expected, and the suspension is harder. Handling is about what you can expect from a family SUV. It could be more exciting, but enough to steer precisely in corners. Finally, the fuel economy is pretty good; the CR-V Hybrid is rated at 6.4L/100km (37 mpg) in combined driving, so we could come close without sweating too much. 

The Honda CR-V remains a popular vehicle in its segment, and the lead in sales is a tight competition between Japanese car brands. Without going through radical changes, the CR-V remains competitive and will continue attracting its fair share of buyers thanks to its look, reliability and excellent resale value. As for the hybrid powertrain, we are sad to see it only available as the two top trims in 2024; you need to shell out at least $46,775 to get it, while the Toyota RAV4 offers it at $38,901. Also, we are disappointed that there is no news about a plug-in hybrid version offered in North America; a CR-V PHEV is now for sale in Europe. Despite increasing competition, this Honda crossover maintains its position as the top-selling vehicle from the Tokyo-based automaker.

 Honda CR-V co-pilots
Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

Honda has lent us this vehicle for one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with Honda Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion of the car referred to above.

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