It’s rare to be able to drive the very latest iteration of a car in combination with its predecessor.

But that was the case when I slipped behind the wheel of the sixth generation Honda CR-V, because I own an example of the previous model, so comparisons were immediate. 

The CR-V is a big, comfortable, capable, five-door SUV (sports utility vehicle) with a long and successful pedigree. It is the company’s best-selling motor globally and I was able to enjoy a week in the range-topping Advance model.

The latest car offers a new look, style-wise, both inside and out, while my all-wheel-drive road test model featured the Japanese manufacturer’s full hybrid powertrain (there’s a plug-in hybrid too), while my own car sports an internal combustion engine. 

Style file
The new car’s lines are a departure from the curves of my motor – with a more linear design which has lots of kerb appeal. Wider and longer than the previous version, the car has a purposeful stance and a bold new front grille with a piano black mesh pattern, plus a sleeker side profile.

At the rear, the vertical brake light and turn signal combination is a smart evolution of the model’s instantly recognisable tail-light design, with the purposeful LED lighting creating a new, evolved light signature at the rear of the car.

The inside story is a welcoming one of space and clean design. High-quality textured materials feature throughout the cabin with tactile switches and controls that are easy to understand and operate, creating a luxurious in-car experience that aligns with premium segment SUVs.

There is a clean, uncluttered, low-set dashboard with a centrally mounted nine-inch infotainment screen, while a metal honeycomb-pattern across the centre dash, including air vent outlet, makes for a sporty finish.

I love the armchair-like comfort of the seats in my car, and its successor’s leather upholstered seats (electrically-adjustable for both driver and front seat passenger) follow in the same vein.

The intuitive layout puts versatility to the fore, including a cup holder, storage trays and large -capacity cubby box between the front seats while a newly-designed central armrest is semi-automated, electrically opening to 60 degrees and a further 30 degrees manually.

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There’s a wealth of lovely, usable equipment, including heated (and ventilated) seats, powered tailgate (hands-free operation is also possible, with automated walk-away close and optional vehicle locking on closure), wireless mobile phone charging, a head-up display, dual zone climate control, auto windscreen wipers, adaptive cruise control, front and load-area accessory sockets, heated power-folding door mirrors, heated steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, multi-view camera, reclining rear seat, reach-and-range steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, map light and rear reading light, satnav, infotainment, and connectivity suite, premium audio, plus headlights with coming home/leaving home function and high beam support system.

On the practicality front the car has one of the largest rear load spaces in the class, with our full hybrid model (designated e:HEV) offering 587-litres of cargo space, extending to 1,642-litres with the rear seats folded.

Those rear seats slide forward by up to 190mm, which allows for easy loading of longer items without the need to fold the seats down, while a low boot-floor height, and flat, wide one-piece floor panel makes loading cargo easier. This is aided by the updated tailgate, which has a new, quieter power-lift module that reduces operating time. 

The many high-tech safety features include Honda Sensing 360, a comprehensive omni-directional safety and driver assist system, which combines object recognition and object detection by camera and radar to allow the car to identify road lines, verges, motorcycles, cyclists and other vehicles. 

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Tech time
The e:HEV model features the most advanced iteration of Honda’s award-winning full-hybrid powertrain, with the two-litre, 146bhp, petrol engine pairing seamlessly with a newly-developed version of the company’s lightweight dual electric motor automatic transmission. The electric motor’s maximum power is 181bhp and the CR-V does all its charging as you motor along.

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On the road
The word smooth springs to mind, with the slick transmission laying down the power sweetly. And the car feels at home in all motoring scenarios from tootling around town to the motorway haul. The driving experience is confidence-inspiring and the CR-V is versatile and accommodating, with great load-carrying capacity. 

Performance figures (manufacturer’s data) are 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds, with a top speed of 116mph. Combined fuel consumption figure is 42.8mpg, with emissions of 151 g/km CO2. Joint petrol engine/electric motor range is 596 miles. 

The latest CR-V rings the changes style-wise, adding a new look to the qualities of comfort, versatility and reliability that have won this well-engineered car so many fans. There’s a wealth of top tech and, of course, hybrid power too.
Price: £49,670 OTR