Review: Honda CR-V (2018)

Rating:

Excellent Hybrid model is the pick of the range. High quality and well finished interior. Usefully large boot. Very comfortable ride.

Infotainment system is frustrating and feels dated. List prices higher than previous CR-V. No seven-seat hybrid available.

Recently Added To This Review

16 November 2018 Honda reveals prices for CR-V Hybrid

Honda has released details of the grades, specification and pricing of the CR-V hybrid. Following the launch of the petrol version in the summer, the hybrid is expected in dealerships from February next... Read more

19 September 2018 Honda CR-V Hybrid launched

The CR-V Hybrid is equipped with an efficient 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol engine, a powerful electric motor and a lithium ion battery pack. The maximum output is 184PS with torque of 315Nm. Rather than... Read more

1 August 2018 Honda CR-V prices announced

The new CR-V will start from £25,995 for a 2WD manual S grade and top out at £36,455 for an AWD EX with CVT. 7-seaters are £1,700 more than 5-seaters. All have spare wheels. Available... Read more

Honda CR-V (2018): At A Glance

The Honda CR-V has always been one of our favourite SUVs - and an easy car to recommend to people. While the 2018 model may not look massively different from before, there are actually some significant improvements that make this a big step up from its predecessor.

For starters, there's no diesel engine. Instead there's one petrol or a hybrid version. Honda is of course no stranger to hybrid power, but this is the first time it has featured in the CR-V. And the results are hugely impressive. So much so that the CR-V Hybrid is one of the best SUVs around, regardless of the engine type.

Honda has succeeded in making a practical and spacious SUV that has genuine performance but is also enjoyable to drive yet comfortable. And all that in a package that includes a hybrid system. Sounds too good to be true? Well it's not - the CR-V Hybrid is genuinely an excellent SUV.

The downside is the price. List prices for the Hybrid start at more than £30k - that's around £4000 more than the standard 1.5 VTEC petrol. There's also no seven-seat option with the Hybrid as there is with the petrol. But if you compare the Hybrid with the RAV4, it's very competitively priced.

If you can't stretch to the Hybrid, the 1.5 VTEC petrol is still a good choice with decent performance and the choice of manual or a CVT automatic gearbox. Claimed economy is reasonable in the 2WD but drops below 40mpg if you go for the 4WD.

Regardless of engine, the CR-V drives well with nicely weighted steering, little in the way of road noise and good stability in corners. Its forte is the ride quality which copes with rough and poor quality roads with ease. It makes for a very comfortable and relaxing car.

Honda hasn't just made the 2018 CR-V slightly better than before. The improvements throughout are all encompassing, so much so that this is now one of the best family SUVs money can buy.  

Honda CR-V 1.5 VTEC Turbo 2018 Road Test

Honda CR-V Hybrid 2019 Road Test

What does a Honda CR-V (2018) cost?

List Price from £26,305
Buy new from £22,755
Contract hire from £223.34 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

Honda CR-V (2018): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4600–4605 mm
Width 2095–2117 mm
Height 1679–1689 mm
Wheelbase 2630–2663 mm

Full specifications

For all the qualities of the Honda CR-V interior, the elephant in the room (or should that be cabin) is the infotainment system. This was a weak point in the previous CR-V and, despite improvements over time, it's still annoying to use and dated in this generation.

It's very much at odds with the quality feel of the rest of the CR-V. Compare it to the system used by Volkswagen and it's clunky and unintuitive. It's not a deal breaker, but it does stick out a bit like a sore thumb. True, it does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but overall we'd expect something much slicker in a car launched in 2018.

Fortunately, the rest of the CR-V more than makes up for this. The build quality really shines through and the cabin is logically laid out with all the important controls easy to find. We're not convinced by the wooden trim across the dash though...

Honda has dropped the manual handbrake for an electric parking brake, which means more room on the centre console. In fact, the whole interior is more spacious than before helped by a longer wheelbase. 

It's practical too with lots of useful storage areas - the huge box under the central armrest is great - plus larger door pockets and deep cup holders. The boot is close to 500 litres on the Hybrid model, but bigger by 60 litres on the petrol. The rear seats cleverly fold flat too, with a one handed operation.

Rear passenger room is excellent with loads of legroom, even with the front seats pushed all the way back. Headroom is generous, so it's ideal if you have fast growing teenagers. There's the option of a seven-seater on the petrol models, the rearmost seats folding flat into the floor when not needed.

Those in the back can also take advantage of two high-capacity USB charging ports at the back of the centre console - handy if the kids run out of battery on their iPads. 

One mention must go to the impressive seats which are comfortable but supportive, making the CR-V ideal for motorway journeys or long road trips.

Standard equipment from launch:

S models come with Honda SENSING - Honda’s safety features which includes collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition. 

SE adds parking sensors and a rearview camera

SR comes with smart entry and start, leather interior and active cornering lights, plus blind spot warning and cross traffic monitoring, 

EX further includes a heated steering wheel, head up display, hands free access power tailgate, heated rear seats and panoramic glass sunroof, blind spot warning and cross traffic monitoring.

Child seats that fit a Honda CR-V (2018)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Honda CR-V (2018) like to drive?

Honda is no stranger to hybrid technology, most recently with the Insight and the Jazz, but the CR-V Hybrid is a very different car to anything Honda has produced before.

It combines a 145PS 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol engine with a 184PS electric motor that also provides 315Nm of torque. That's standard hybrid stuff at first sight but the big difference is the gearbox.

Rather than use a conventional CVT, the kind you'd find with most hybrids, the CR-V has a clever single fixed-gear system, resulting in a smoother transfer of torque.

The result is like driving an EV for a lot of the time. You simply out the car in Drive and it effortlessly pulls away. At a 40mph cruise, the CR-V Hybrid will typically run in EV mode for more than half of the time. Push that up to 62mph and the EV power is used for around a third of the time.

The good thing is, that from behind the wheel, you don't have to be concerned about any of this. All you need to know is that the CR-V is easy, effortless and relaxing to drive. It's nigh on impossible to tell when the petrol engine kicks in, so quiet is the whole set-up.

Often with hybrids fitted with CVTs, you'll get that constant engine drone when accelerating. But that's not the case with the CR-V. In 90 per cent of your driving, you probably won't even notice the engine is there.

Sure, plant your foot to the floor and you'll get that engine whine, but the CR-V has so much pulling power, you rarely need to do that. In fact, it's surprisingly fast and from 30mph or 40mph will accelerate quickly up to motorway speeds. 

Alongside the standard and Eco settings, there's a Sport mode which genuinely makes a big difference to the performance of the CR-V, giving it much more response and a considerably quicker turn of pace. There are paddles on the steering wheel but rather than changing gear, these let you adjust the car's rate of deceleration and regenerative braking.

Hybrid aside, the 1.5-litre petrol can be paired with a six-speed manual or CVT automatic gearbox, as well as two- or four-wheel drive. It does the job, feeling eager enough around town, although diesel rivals will feel more up to the job of transporting the entire family or lugging a caravan.

In terms of official economy, you're looking at between 50mpg and 55mpg for the Hybrid model and around 40mpg to 45mpg for the petrol, depending on gearbox and whether you go for two or four-wheel drive.

The CR-V may be a big SUV but it manages to balance ride comfort and handling ability very well. Don't get us wrong, this isn't a car you want to be throwing into corners, but with its well weighted and responsive steering, good levels of grip and solid body control, it corners very reassuringly. This is blended with an excellent ride quality which is comfortable and forgiving. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.5 i-VTEC 43 mpg 9.8 s 151 g/km
1.5 i-VTEC 2WD 45 mpg 9.3 s 143 g/km
1.5 i-VTEC CVT 40 mpg 10.0 s 162 g/km
1.6 i-DTEC 2WD 64 mpg 11.2 s 115 g/km
2.0 Hybrid 38–39 mpg 9.2 s 126 g/km
2.0 Hybrid 2WD 41 mpg 8.8 s 120 g/km
2.0 i-DTEC 2WD 39 mpg 10.0 s 168 g/km

Real MPG average for a Honda CR-V (2018)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

98%

Real MPG

28–56 mpg

MPGs submitted

63

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Honda CR-V (2018)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Can you explain whether a PHEV or a self-charging hybrid would be better suited to my driving?

I'm looking at changing my diesel car for a plug-in hybrid or a self-charging hybrid. Could you explain the difference between the two systems and whether one is better than the other? I'm looking at a Toyota Rav4 and a Honda CR-V.
A self-charging hybrid uses the engine to charge its (much smaller) battery, as well as recuperating energy normally lost during braking. It can only travel for a very short distance (a few miles maximum) under electric power, but the hybrid system works with the engine to provide greater efficiency. A plug-in hybrid can be charged at home and will travel much further (20-30 miles generally) under electric power meaning it won't, in theory, use any petrol for short journeys. This is better if you cover lots of short journeys and can charge a car at home - although it's more hassle than a self-charging hybrid, and once the battery's flat it's lugging around a lot of weight in batteries which will impact fuel economy. This page might be useful: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/should-i-buy-a-phev-or-hybrid
Answered by Andrew Brady
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