Packaged with the more refined front bumper with front LED fog lamps and nicer body-colored rear bumper exterior designs compared to the more aggressive-looking North American market model, the only feature missing from the brilliant top variant all-new Honda CR-V RS e-HEV in our Philippine market, is the optional intelligent AWD system. Which makes sense in the 188 bhp / 177 lb-ft mid-range VX Turbo 7-seater model that may sacrifice greener Hybrid mobility for more capacity and more traction to move said additional passengers for P310,000.00 less retail.
The sportier looking VX Turbo with contrasting trim and dual exhausts (the RS e-HEV uses one exhaust port and seals the second bezel) also gives up the panoramic roof, the awesome HUD system, cornering lights, aluminum pedals, the rocking 12-speaker Bose audio for a still exemplary 320-watt 8-speaker system, and a few more minor trim nuances.
The all-new 6th generation Honda CR-V narrowly missed full assessment for the 19th C! Awards when it was launched in the Philippines last September. If it made it, the all-new model range would have secured the best-in-class recognition. As a 1st-generation Honda CR-V owner, I completely see and feel every aspect of development and growth of the latest evolution while it remarkably gained back the charisma and performance that solidified its place in the automotive landscape from the start.
The top variant seen here in the very tasteful Canyon River Blue Metallic exterior paint with red stitched leather interior for five adults. As a 5-seater, Honda truly made the second row very spacious and comfortable with 15mm more legroom than its predecessor that also reclines up to 10.5 degrees (the recline function is available in the lower variants too). The all-new CR-V combines functionality, liveliness, thoughtful feature set, and sportiness with an exterior design that emulates the brand’s new design language.
Just like the previous generations, the new Honda CR-V uses the Civic sedan as its donor platform with the promise of creating a taller vehicle with more capacity and versatility while maintaining the important desirable characteristics (driver engagement, dynamic performance, unique connection to the vehicle and passenger comfort) of the beloved sedan. The VX Turbo variant is very consistent with that mantra. However, with the RS e-HEV, the extra green power elevates the CR-V to a whole new level of driver and passenger experience. It is not just the drivetrain upgrade but how the whole compact crossover is packaged beaming with an extensive feature list that would embarrass substantially more expensive premium luxury alternatives.
Thankfully Honda provides enough user-configuration menus to pick and choose from to fine-tune exactly what one wants to see on the sharp 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster. I do not like the default bar-type instrument ledger display but love the traditional instrument dials, which work seamlessly with the head-up display. The center console uses a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto while the device charges on a standard 15-watt Qi-compatible wireless smartphone pad. Combined with the trick Hybrid system, the new NVH are exceptional. The overall handling is very predictable, agile, and composed. The strong regenerative brakes can be adjusted to your charging/driving behavior.
The Honda SENSING suite is at its best with the new CR-V and now you have an app called Honda CONNECT too that sends service reminders, presents the vehicle status, has a Remote Vehicle Control function that can manage the ignition to start or stop, manage the climate control as well as the lights, and has a “find my car feature” too that indicates the exact location of the vehicle. Honda Philippines is rightfully very confident with the build quality of the all-new CR-V that they offer an 8-year / 200,000-kilometer factory warranty.
This new hybridized CR-V uses comprehensively revised hybrid powertrain compared to its predecessor, which was not offered in our market. It feels so solid and confident on the road. The CR-V RS e:HEV variant uses a more rigid body shell, thanks to additional structural adhesives, the front and rear subframes are heftier, has a stronger B-pillar-to-floor construction, it uses thicker acoustic front side windows and windshield, and there is substantially more sound insulation in the cowl, firewall, and behind the instrument panel. The suspension tuning was expertly done and almost feels like you are riding on adaptive dampers.
Pure electrified travel is transient due to the small lithium-ion battery. With the current system you could focus your efforts and deliberately drive slow enough to hover as often as you can but the tiny 1.1-kWh lithium-ion battery unit will run out of juice fairly quickly. The magic comes from the 181-hp AC synchronous electric generator/starter motor that runs most of the time powered by the 2.0-liter ICE engine. The RS can even tow as much as 1,000 pounds if required. The new Hybrid system is very complex but the results are very real: very efficient, potent and smooth power transmitted through the most accommodating e-CVT ever.
In the end, the all-new Honda CR-V RS e:HEV (accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 8 seconds with a governed top speed of 192 km/h and an overall fuel economy of 6 L/100kms.) is a magnificent compact crossover that you can enjoy everyday and on “coding” days. The primary trunk is huge (2166-liters second row seats folded; 1028-liters second row fixed) so you actually don’t really lose capacity because of the battery as it takes space from where a spare tire would normally reside. If I had to be critical, I would have preferred the power to be driven from the rear but for 99% of the time the front wheel drive did not leave me wanting.
For the price of PhP 2,590,000.00 (204 hp / 247 lb-ft total combined system power), I wish the AWD system was packaged with the RS; however the cost would have been too challenging. It is the quickest, most luxurious, and most efficient CR-V ever sold in our market. If you get price shock with its retail price, do know that the Honda CR-V Hybrid, in both front-wheel drive and with AWD, are pricey in every market that they are available in, and once you test the RS you will appreciate why and simply wish you had more financial capacity to purchase it. It is the absolute greatest CR-V ever. The e:HEV is very comprehensively packaged, lively, spacious, and potent when needed, while remaining poised and versatile all the time. The great news is that the mid-spec model is actually even more useful for less with acceptable compromises.