No diesel engine for new Honda CR-V as crossover goes hybrid

Shift to electrification

THE ALL-NEW Honda CR-V will not be available with a diesel engine, according to the Japanese manufacturer.

European buyers will be able to order the revised crossover SUV ahead of deliveries in 2018 with only two engine options: a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol unit and, for the first time in the CR-V, a hybrid system.

Honda is set to unveil its CR-V Hybrid Prototype at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show next week. It will feature revised styling that previews the forthcoming European specification CR-V model range, with a wider, taller and longer profile, but its lack of a diesel engine is likely to grab the headlines.

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The move follows rising concerns over air pollution caused by diesel fuel, which emits nitrogen oxides and particulates from exhausts. Modern diesel technology can clean up a lot of the pollutants — the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reports that 99% of the harmful soot emissions can be captured by diesel particulate filters (DPFs), which are fitted to around half of diesels on the road today.

“We’re seeing a shift from Honda away from diesel … all new models launched in Europe will feature electrified technology”

However, despite this sales of diesels have dropped sharply in recent months, with a fall of more than 21% in August compared with the same month last year.

A Honda UK spokesperson said: “What we’re seeing from Honda is a shift in the focus of our R&D (research and development) activity, investment and expertise away from diesel and towards electrification. The first example of which is the launch of new CR-V.

“From this point onwards, all new (Full Model Change) Honda models launched in Europe will feature electrified technology.”

The CR-V Hybrid Prototype’s i-MMD (Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive) hybrid system comprises two electric motors: one that acts as an electric generator and another that is linked to a 2-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder petrol engine for both propulsion and further electrical energy generation.

It comes with a transmission that will be similar to (but not exactly the same as) that of the Accord hybrid in America. The Accord’s is technically complex and involves four fixed-ratio gearsets between the power sources and the front wheels, but in basic terms is driven much like any car with an automatic gearbox.

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There are three driving modes: EV Drive, which draws power solely from the battery pack; Hybrid Drive, where the petrol engine supplies power to the generator, which in turn delivers power to the electric propulsion motor; and Engine Drive, in which the wheels are directly driven by the petrol engine, with the electric motor providing a power boost when needed.

While this is Honda’s first electrified SUV powertrain available in Europe, a number of rival cars are available with hybrid systems, notably from Lexus and Toyota, which launched the RAV4 Hybrid in 2015.

Honda’s 1.5 litre i-VTEC Turbo petrol CR-V will come with a choice of either six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Expect to see the production version of the all-new Honda CR-V for Europe at the Geneva motor show in March next year.