Honda sneaks in hybrid SUV

The new CR-V e:HEV RS brings fuel economy to the Honda flagship.

Honda has electrified its most popular vehicle. And who would know?

One of the world’s biggest makers of internal combustion engines has been very quiet about the coming of the CR-V e:HEV RS.

The Honda CR-V has long been an SUV staple for families around the world. Some 13.5 million units have been sold globally since the nameplate launched back in 1997. Two decades on, in its sixth generation, it is still the brand’s top-selling model in Australia.

A late-comer to the petrol/electric generation in Australia, the five-seater e:HEV RS features a two-litre direct injection engine mated with a two-motor hybrid system putting out a combined 152 kW of power and 335 Nm of torque via an electronic Continuously Variable Transmission to the front wheels.

Honda says e:HEV RS, elevates the CR-V with a dynamic edge. Its sporty appeal is amplified by body-coloured lower bumper and wheel arch trims, while piano black accents on mirror covers rear spoiler, B and C-pillar trims further enhance its sophistication.

Inside, red stitching accents across the cabin, coupled with a distinctive black headliner, creates an ambiance of exclusivity and style.

Surprisingly, with running-cost economy to the fore – a key step in Honda’s electrification strategy to realise carbon neutrality for all Honda products and corporate activities by 2050 – the hybrid system is limited to the flagship (most expensive) model.

Some compensation comes with the RS coming well equipped compared to the rest of the range.

Talking of cost, Honda Australia has adopted an agency sales model with fixed pricing that eliminates purchase-price haggling and shopping around, something Honda says it has received positive customer feedback on.

The 2024 Honda CR-V range straddles $44,500 to $59,900 drive-away. The latter – the flagship Honda CR-V e:HEV RS hybrid – was on test.

The SUV comes under Honda’s five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, with 24/7 roadside assist. Service intervals are 12 months or 10,000 kilometres and capped.


A more powerful, sporty silhouette is achieved by pulling the front pillars back, increasing both the nose length and the wheelbase adding to the overall length. The ‘nose job’, however, seems a bit over the top but the maker says it provides functional contributions including visibility and aerodynamic performance.

VTi LX and e:HEV RS get Honda hallmark Berlina Black 19-inch five-circle spoke alloys, over the standard 17 or 18s, for added sporty flair.


Honda says the interior of the all-new CR-V has more cabin and cargo space with seating to suit ‘a broader range of customer lifestyles’ (fatter folk). Lateral support is the loss here, together with flatter and firmer seating.

On the upside, all CR-V models now come with rear seat sliders, allowing 190 mm of movement forwards and backwards. This makes children easier to manoeuvre into position, or fit longer items in the cargo area. Rear seat reclining offers 16 positions with an additional reclining angle of 10.5 degrees, helping prevent rear passengers from getting fatigued on long drives.

Access to the 589 litres of boot space comes via a power tailgate operated from an external switch. Fold the 60/40 seat backs and 1636 litres becomes available.


Focus is on a digital instrument display, nine-inch touchscreen audio system with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, plus front and rear illuminated USB charging ports for the driver and passengers.


The all-new CR-V features a new more powerful two-motor hybrid system, mated with Honda’s 2.0-litre direct injection Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine. The motors are now mounted side-by-side rather than in-line with the engine crankshaft as in previous generations.

The all-new E-CVT motor spins at 14,500 rpm and produces 135 kW peak power with 335 Nm of torque. The generator motor, which spins at 17,000 rpm, puts out 120 kW, and is dedicated to charging the battery pack. The system’s combined output is 152 kW.


The all-new CR-V maintains its position as a leader in active and passive safety technology, including improved Honda Sensing driver-assistance technology with a new front camera and radar system.

An updated Honda Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure is designed to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front, side, and rear of the vehicle.

The CR-V gets 11 airbags all up, including a centre airbag to prevent front seat occupants’ heads from crashing.


There is no argument with the treatment of the driver when it comes to getting behind the wheel of the CR-V e:HEV RS. The front of the cabin has been designed with the driver front and centre, by improving the range of vision and adjusting how objects are viewed in the driver’s frame.

Bonnet character lines run along the top of the inner sides of the front tyres, to enable the driver to easily discover the tyre positions. The A-pillar inner surfaces have been designed to run parallel to the direction of travel so the driver’s line of sight is drawn to this.

To further improve forward vision when turning, side mirrors have been moved to create a wider gap between the mirror and the front side corner garnish.

Under way, the car is no ‘bitumen burner’ but is programmed to get the best out of the petrol/electric hybrid combination. There is little obvious switch in systems, which includes the CVT.

Cabin noise is far from intrusive and a 12-speaker Bose sound system makes the best of cabin architecture.

Honda claims the hybrid CR-V returns 5.5 litres per 100 kilometres of fuel in the combined urban/highway, which turned out to be spot on for the test car in real time. A bonus is the requirement of 91RON petrol.

The e:HEV is equipped with a toggle Drive Mode selector, which switches between Economy, through Normal to Sport, the last chipping in with Active Sound Control to match the sporty characteristics.


Honda has produced a winner with the CR-V e:HEV RS, taking out the Car of the Year award of a prominent Australian print and online media member for 2023, so it has the hand of experts at its back.


Looks: 6/10

Performance: 8/10

Safety: 7/10

Thirst: 8/10

Practicality: 8/10

Comfort: 7/10

Tech: 8/10

Value: 5/10