Honda CR-V e:PHEV: Honda’s first plug-in hybrid in Europe

The sixth generation of the CR-V will be the first Honda in Europe to feature a plug-in hybrid drive. So the Japanese are late, and this step is surprising for another reason: Honda has so far relied on full hybrids to reduce fuel consumption. In the large SUV, this should now also be possible with a plug-in hybrid. It will be exciting to see how the CR-V e:PHEV can hold up against the increasingly powerful electric cars. A battery-electric drive is not planned in the SUV.

The new CR-V has grown in all dimensions, in length by 90 to 4703 mm. It is 1866 mm wide and 1692 mm high. The wheelbase was lengthened by 40 to 2700 mm. While the battery takes up space in the trunk of the CR-V e:HEV, the memory of the plug-in model is located between the axles. This frees up space under the removable loading floor. The trunk now holds 586 liters instead of 497 liters. The rear seat bench, which can be adjusted in the longitudinal direction, brings even more variability.

The Honda CR-V has grown in all dimensions, but especially in length and wheelbase.
(Image: Honda)

The Honda designers and engineers paid particular attention to the aspect of overview, writes Honda, which would only be welcomed if implemented successfully. In addition, there would be large window areas, so that the CR-V would offer everyone “excellent all-round visibility”, it is said. This “reduces the stress of driving, increases the open feeling of space and gives all passengers a feeling of security and confidence”, Honda is sure.

Should we finally give up the fashion with ever narrowing windows? Honda would actually be capable of something like that. When looking at the body, however, one has to assume that this first step seems to be a very timid one. However successful it may be, the new CR-V is Honda’s first to feature Sensing 360, an area monitoring system designed to eliminate blind spots around the vehicle, reducing driver stress and helping further avoid collisions Honda writes.

The biggest technical difference between the full hybrid and the new plug-in hybrid model is the externally chargeable battery of the e:PHEV drive. Both use a two-liter four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection. It basically runs in the Atkinson cycle, which allows a longer power stroke and an unusually high compression ratio of 13.9:1. Both increase efficiency. Honda claims to have further improved the tuning of this engine. The power increased by two kW, the torque decreased by four Nm. Both in areas that you would rather not perceive at the wheel.

Conservative, with “real instruments” and designed in a straight line: the dashboard of the CR-V with a central screen.

One of the two electric motors always compensates for the torque disadvantage of the petrol engine, which is inherent in the Atkinson cycle due to the early closing of the intake valves, especially at low engine speeds. Both also form a continuously variable e-CVT and can alternately be used for propulsion or recuperation. The combustion engine has an output of 110 kW and 183 Nm, the electric branch has 135 kW and 335 Nm. Honda specifies the top speed as 193 km/h. All-wheel drive is also available as an option to front-wheel drive. The e:PHEV is approved for a trailer load of 1.5 tons, the e:HEV was previously only for a maximum of 750 kg.

The drive with a 17.7 kWh lithium battery should allow the CR-V to drive up to 82 kilometers electrically. A charge to 100 percent should take 2.5 hours. Honda has not yet commented on the charging options. 17.7 kWh plus charging losses in 150 minutes would mean an average charging power of just over 7 kW. Manufacturers such as Stellantis offer this on one phase, it would be more clever to distribute the power over several phases. Then it could also be used completely on an 11 kW wallbox.

Honda has not yet decided on prices and delivery times. The battery alone should make the car as a PHEV noticeably more expensive than the previous CR-V. On the other hand, the production of the PHEV in China could have a cost-reducing effect. You should still reckon with a purchase price of 45,000 euros.

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