In October 2023, the first units of the 2024 CR-V, the sixth generation of the Honda CR-V, will arrive at Honda dealers. With this model, Honda will sell cars with plug-in hybrid technology for the first time in Europe. As we published in km77 (link above) in July 2023, there will be three versions of this car from the time orders are placed. The most cost-effective version, non-plug-in hybrid (CR-V e:HEV), two-wheel drive. The middle-priced version, also without a plug-in hybrid and with all-wheel drive, and finally the only plug-in hybrid version (CR-V e:PHEV), only available with two-wheel drive.
Two battery sizes
The question arises immediately. Why is it possible to purchase all-wheel drive with non-plug-in hybrid technology, while the plug-in version only offers front-wheel drive?
The reason is twofold. The low demand for the four-wheel drive versions as well as the size and location of the batteries in each of the versions. The battery capacity of the non-plug-in version is 1.06 kWh and that of the plug-in version is 17.7 kWh. For this reason, the battery of the non-plug-in hybrid version fits in the floor of the trunk without causing much damage to the cargo volume, and the battery of the plug-in version, which is significantly larger in size and weight, does not find space in the trunk, but in the footwell of the passenger in the back seat.
Two fuel tank sizes
To accommodate the large battery at this point in the car, it is important to reduce the size of the fuel tank to make room. For this reason, the fuel tank of the conventional hybrid version has a capacity of 57 liters and that of the plug-in version has a capacity of 46.5 liters. This fuel and range reduction is partially offset when the battery is charged but when traveling, where high autonomy is most valued, the plug-in version needs to be refueled more often than the traditional hybrid version.
Two reasons or reasons
Kotaro Yamamoto, technical advisor at Honda Motor Europe, who presented the technical details of the new CR-V to journalists, answered our questions The reason there is no all-wheel drive version of the CR-V e:PHEV is the location of the battery, as it obstructs the passage of the driveshaft which could transfer the movement to the rear wheels.
Later, Patxi Azagra, Commercial Director of the Automotive Division of Honda Spain, qualified this statement and told me: “The real reason there isn’t an all-wheel drive version of the CR-V e:PHEV is commercial, not technical.. If we were really interested in offering an all-wheel drive version, we could put the large battery in the trunk (with the result of reducing the trunk volume). However, the reality is that demand for the 4×4 versions is minimal and providing solutions to this problem is neither financially nor results-wise worthwhile.”
“If demand is so low, why does Honda offer 4×4 versions,” I asked him. “Honda has traditionally offered 4×4 versions and we want to continue to offer them, even if only in the e:HEV.” So far, he says, all-wheel drive versions account for around 10% of total sales of the CR-V.
My recommendation, even before driving the car, is not to buy the all-wheel drive version. The CR-V is not a car for extreme off-road driving, it does not have a transmission, nor does it have sufficient height or suspension travel to enable demanding off-road driving. The only reason that could justify a four-wheel drive would be a snowy and icy road, but these conditions hardly exist in Spain these days because it snows less and less and when it does snow, the snow plows are used effectively. And winter tires are significantly more effective than all-wheel drive on snowy and icy roads.
Therefore, I recommend saving to other motorists, except for people who usually drive in areas where it constantly snows and is constantly very cold in winter, and who want to add four-wheel drive to winter wheels. from the all-wheel drive version that it can only achieve higher consumption at most.