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New Honda CR-V will be offered with hybrid and plug-in hybrid tech

Honda has revealed the latest version of its hybrid family SUV, with a range of up to 51 miles for the e:PHEV

  • Tech from latest Honda Civic
  • Available with full hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrains
  • Due to arrive in late 2023

The new Honda CR-V will be available in the UK with a plug-in hybrid option for the first time, sitting above the standard full hybrid ‘e:HEV’ version. When it arrives later this year, Honda claims the CR-V will set new standards for design, practicality and usability in the popular mid-size SUV class. It’s likely to start from around £35,000, while the PHEV should be closer to £40,000.

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The CR-V will renew its rivalry with other economical crossovers such as the Peugeot 3008 and Toyota RAV4, and sit at the top of a growing Honda SUV range that will include the new Honda ZR-V, plus a new all-electric Honda e:Ny1 model, that’s closely related to the hybrid HR-V.

2023 Honda CR-V: design

In a market full of bold-looking SUVs such as the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, the new CR-V plays it safe with a relatively subtle design. At the front, the CR-V wears a similar hexagonal grille to the smaller HR-V, albeit with a more traditional honeycomb mesh covering, and there are slimmed-down headlights with a new style of daytime running light.

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Overall, the new CR-V is much boxier than the car it replaces; Honda has flared the wheel arches further in order to create a more imposing appearance, plus there is a much flatter roofline than before. The rear end is characterised by a set of LED tail lights, which are somewhat reminiscent of those found on a Volvo XC60.

The new car measures 4,964mm long – 60mm longer than the old model. Most of this increase comes within the CR-V’s wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels); this allows for 16mm more legroom in the rear, and the rear seats have eight levels of recline adjustment to allow passengers to relax on longer trips. The CR-V’s boot will grow in size, but Honda has no plans to introduce a seven-seat version to take on the Nissan X-Trail. Hybrid versions of the CR-V will likely get 587 litres of luggage space, extending to 617 litres for the e:PHEV, with room for cable storage under the boot floor.

Interior and technology

At first glance, it's easy to see where Honda has taken interior design inspiration from its own Civic hatchback. Like that car, the new CR-V gets a dashboard characterised by one large air vent that sweeps across the entire width of the cabin. Sitting on top of this is a nine-inch touchscreen that comes as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A leather interior will be available, along with heated and ventilated seats, heated rear seats and the latest version of Honda’s Sensing suite of active safety features. The old car received a full five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, and we expect the new model to do the same.

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Honda has refrained from falling into the current industry-wide trend of burying the climate controls within the main touchscreen; the CR-V instead gets physical knobs and dials which should be much easier to use when on-the-go.

Engines and powertrains

Like the current generation of CR-V, the new car will only be offered with hybrid powertrains in the UK, but this will also include a plug-in for the first time. Using the same electric motors as the e:HEV full hybrid, the e:PHEV is able to cover up to 51 miles in its EV driving mode thanks to a 17.7kWh battery. This should put it in the lower 8% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) bracket for company-car buyers, boosting its appeal. Honda hasn’t provided a peak charging speed yet, but claims the battery can be fully charged in just 2.5 hours.

Thankfully, it looks as if the new e:HEV full hybrid will be just as efficient as the one it replaces; the CR-V’s hybrid powertrain consists of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, mated to a pair of electric motors which together provide 181bhp and four-wheel-drive. Honda is yet to release any performance figures, but we expect the hybrid CR-V to get from 0-62mph in around eight seconds; with fuel economy figures of 48mpg and CO2 emissions from 134g/km.

What does this mean for car buyers?

The family SUV segment is one of the hottest right now, and Honda knows that it must keep its models up-to-date if it wishes to be successful. The outgoing CR-V has been on sale since 2018; this may not sound like a long time, yet with such a rapidly changing segment, it was already in need of a replacement. We expect the new model to sell well, thanks to its frugal hybrid powertrain. However, for sales to remain strong, Honda will need to offer competitive finance deals to justify the CR-V’s inevitable premium over cheaper petrol and diesel rivals.

Want to beat high prices at the pump? Check out our list of the top 10 best electric SUVs

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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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