Honda will use the fast-approaching Frankfurt Motor Show to unveil its gasoline-electric CR-V Hybrid prototype. The car provides some very strong clues as to the production-spec CR-V hybrid powertrain, and offers a preview of the way the European-market CR-V will look when it lands next year.
Take the prototype moniker with a grain of salt here. Although it's billed as a concept, the CR-V Hybrid looks and sounds like a production-ready model, ready to join the Accord and Civic in showrooms. The powertrain, dubbed two-motor Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD), combines a four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine with an electric generator motor for gasoline-only, electric-only or e-boosted driving.
Rather than relying on a conventional gearbox to manage torque from the two power sources, the i-MMD system has a single fixed-gear ratio between the engine and motor. Honda says its method "creates a direct connection between moving components, enabling a smooth transfer of torque within the system," but hasn't provided any more detail about how it works. We've reached out for more information, so stay tuned.
Some hybrids allow the driver to manually swap between drive modes, but the i-MMD does all the work in the background. If you're averse to pressing buttons, that's a good thing, but the ability to manually lock the car in pure-EV mode around town would also be nice. Honda says it defaults to hybrid or pure-electric drive unless the driver really buries the throttle.
When it arrives in Europe, the CR-V will be offered with a 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine in six-speed manual or CVT transmission guise. The looks of the prototype, which differ very slightly from those of the US car, are likely to carry over to the production European CR-V.