Charge of the right brigade
1 of 9
Honda Cars PHL formally resumes its electric journey here with the CR-V hybrid
HARD TO BELIEVE, but we’ve already cycled through five generations of Honda’s beloved CR-V nameplate. Interesting how you can see representation of these iterations share the road today — surely a testament not just to the model’s popularity but durability. From its introduction here in 1997, over 70,000 units have been sold.
Last week, Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) officially unveiled the sixth all-new iteration of the crossover — effectively continuing the tale of the CR-V, and opening a new chapter in the brand’s drive to sustainability.
First introduced globally in July last year, the CR-V grows in length from 4,623mm to 4,691mm, in height from 1,668mm to 1,691mm, and in width from 1,855mm to 1,866mm. Crucially, the wheelbase has grown from 2,662mm to 2,700mm — translating to improved space within.
It’s been quite a year so far for HCPI. In a speech, HCPI President Rie Miyaki said that 2023 “is turning out to be a strong year” for the company. “Sales performance now stands at more than 11,000 units to date, or a growth of 21% compared to the previous year,” she revealed. As expected, the all-new BR-V continues to pace movement — breaching 6,000 units since its November launch.
Ms. Miyaki also confirmed the struggle to provide units of the previously launched HR-V. “The HR-V has faced a difficult supply situation,” she declared, “and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience to our customers. On a positive note, as we recently announced, we secured stable arrivals for the HR-V and we are now very happy to serve our customers with this elegant SUV with versatile and spacious interior, and dynamic VTEC Turbo performance, and enhanced safety with Honda Sensing.” In a prior press statement, HCPI said that the model “initially encountered global supply chain and stock challenges.”
Back to the all-new CR-V, perhaps most significant among the evolutionary changes to the model is the fact that crossover now boasts an electrified variant — while nixing the diesel-sipping one. This all ties in with the brand’s global goal “of realizing carbon neutrality for all products and corporate activities by 2050.” HCPI said that the CR-V 2.0 RS e:HEV e-CVT (yes, it’s quite a mouthful) now takes its place as the halo model “in terms of advanced safety and driving technologies.”
If you’re still not on the lookout for a hybrid, HCPI also makes available an additional two variants powered by a traditional internal combustion engine. The 1.5 V Turbo CVT and 1.5 VX Turbo CVT AWD conscript a DOHC VTEC engine with “a new high-efficiency, high-response turbocharger and enhanced exhaust system that helps the engine maintain peak power over a wider power band.”
Asked by “Velocity” for the current sales figures of the CR-V during a Q&A session following the launch, HCPI General Manager for Sales Division Atty. Louie Soriano said that the company is currently moving around 160 units a month. With the all-new CR-V, that number is expected to nearly double to 300 a month — a number that the Thailand production facility from where the model line is sourced can supply.
While Honda already has several nameplates featuring its hybrid technology, HCPI chose to herald e:HEV here with the CR-V because, said Atty. Soriano, they are well aware of Filipinos’ acceptance of and affinity with the model line. “We’re going to start with the CR-V,” he revealed, but would not elaborate on the timeline when we can see the other electrified Hondas.
Next year? “It’s possible,” he replied with a smile.
Back to the hybrid CR-V, its system combines two electric motors (a traction one and a generator) with a new four-cylinder direct-injection Atkinson Cycle engine. The engine delivers 148ps and 183Nm, the electric motors submit 184ps and 335Nm. “While the motor operates throughout the low- to high-speed range, e:HEV relies on the gasoline engine alone for high-speed cruising. The e:HEV achieves a unique combination of environmental performance and driving pleasure that could not be achieved with an engine-only system,” reported Honda.
What you need to know is that you don’t have to furrow your brow and think about what’s going on. Honda said that the hybrid system can intelligently switch operating modes depending on driving situations. There’s an EV Drive Mode that solely relies on battery juice, a Hybrid Drive mode which switches between the electric motor and the engine, and an Engine Drive Mode. The end result is vastly reduced fossil fuel consumption. The e:HEV system also employs self-charging measures to extend electric range and recover friction loss. Energy is retrieved from braking and deceleration; and the ICE, of course, charges the battery as well.
If you do want your druthers, then a Drive Mode Switch lets you choose among Sport Mode, Normal Mode, and Econ Mode.
All told, the CR-V 2.0 RS e:HEV E-CVT can reportedly muster up to 29.4kpl in city driving, and the gas variants can return a maximum of 16.4kpl in highway driving. The petrol CR-V is certainly no slouch, with a highest-ever 190ps and 240Nm on tap.
The hybrid CR-V gets an RS-specific grille, panoramic sunroof, piano-black side mirror with turn lamps, door sash in gloss black, front and rear LED fog lights, a body-color rear spoiler with piano-black accents, piano-black shark-fin antenna, and 18-inch piano-black aluminum alloy wheels.
Inside, the model gets a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system, new head-up display, intelligent dual-zone automatic air-conditioning, black leather seats with red stitching, four-way power lumbar support, and up to 1,064 liters of cargo space.
Of note, the all-new Honda CR-V also sees the local debut of Honda Connect, an application that allows the vehicle to communicate with the user and even Honda itself. Features include Find My Car, Geofencing Alert, and Emergency Call. “Find My Car helps avoid situations wherein the owner is having a difficult part in locating their vehicle by sending a pin location to their mobile device. Geofencing Alert, on the other hand, notifies the owner if their car was taken beyond a set area limit, while Emergency Calls makes it easier to access emergency contacts through the app,” reported Honda. Convenience functionalities are Car Status, Remote Vehicle Control, and Service reminder. “Car Status alerts the owner of anything that requires attention and doubles as the vehicle’s diagnostic support system. This feature can also remotely check the fuel level, battery, lock and air bag status.” The CR-V also gets the Honda Sensing suite of assistive driving aids.
Hybrid CR-V buyers get an eight-year/200,000-kilometer battery warranty.
The all-new CR-V is priced as follows: 2.0 RS e:HEV E-CVT (P2.59 million), 1.5 VX Turbo CVT AWD (P2.28 million), and 1.5 V Turbo CVT (P2.1 million). Colors include Lunar Silver Metallic, Meteoroid Gray Metallic, Ignite Red Metallic, and Canyon River Blue Metallic. An additional P20,000 will be charged for the special Platinum White Pearl color. The gas variants will be available this month; the hybrid arrives in October.
Check out the all-new CR-V at Honda’s “Drive the Future” event in SM Mall of Asia Central Atrium from Sept. 21 to 24 (10 a.m. to 10 p.m.). For more information, visit www.hondaphil.com.