Europe’s version of the Honda CR-V is coming with a hybrid model, proving once again that Europe gets the best of everything.
Sometimes it sucks to be in North America. Not often, but when it comes to cars, it seems that Europe always gets the best options for power. Here in America it always seems to be a hum-drum turbocharged regular octane engine, but across the pond gets fancy hybrid powertrains and turbo-diesel engines.
Not that, we really want the turbo-diesel all that often, but it’d be nice to have the option.
So is the case with the Honda CR-V. The 2018 model’s 1.5-L turbocharged engine (with an available 2.4-L naturally aspirated engine) is all fine and dandy, but what we really want is a fancy new hybrid engine that’s connected to two electric motors and a weird, single-gear ratio transmission that magically provides torque.
Sadly, such a fine HR-V is only available in Europe. Or it will be, once it goes on sale in the early part of 2019.
Honda will unveil the new HR-V at the Geneva Motor Show in a few days. Recently, released teaser images show an HR-V that looks very similar to the previous year’s model, but Honda assures us that it’s longer, wider, and has more interior space. The only obvious external differences are some redesigned headlights and a row of LEDs for fog lights.
The press release adds that Honda’s Active Shutter Grille system will be included on this model, which improves aerodynamics by shuttering parts of the grille when the radiator doesn’t need the additional cooling. Which is cool.
But the real selling point is Honda’s new Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) hybrid system, which is a 2.0-L i-VTEC Atkinson Cycle engine attached to two electric motors and an unconventional transmission. Instead of a regular transmission, the HR-V uses "a more compact unit has a single fixed-gear ratio, to create a direct connection between moving components and a smoother transfer of torque."
The 1.5-L turbocharged version is still available and will be on showroom floors later this fall. The hybrid version doesn’t come out until 2019, and there’s no word from Honda if it’ll come to America.