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While the rest of the world has had the latest Honda CR-V for at least a year now, sales of the SUV have only just started in Europe. Honda is working quick to appease buyers in the Continent, however, as it is introducing a hybrid version currently only offered in China (and soon in Japan as well).

Replacing the outgoing 2.2 litre i-DTEC diesel variant, the CR-V Hybrid uses the same Sport Hybrid Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) powertrain as the Accord Hybrid. The whole setup consists of a 2.0 litre Atkinson-cycle i-VTEC petrol engine, a pair of electric motors and a lithium-ion battery to deliver a total system output of 184 PS and 315 Nm of torque.

Notably, the system does away with a transmission entirely, instead using the engine to drive an electric motor/generator in Hybrid Drive mode; this powers the drive motor, which in turn drives the wheels. In Engine Drive mode, a lock-up clutch connects the engine to a single-ratio gearbox to drive the wheels directly, improving efficiency at highway speeds.

The CR-V Hybrid was previewed by a prototype shown at Frankfurt last year

This car also features an EV mode that draws power from the battery for petrol-free propulsion. Honda says that its i-MMD system is more refined than the planetary gearset used in other hybrids like the Toyota Prius (a system Toyota calls an electronic continuously variable transmission, or eCVT), and that its engineers worked hard to ensure a seamless transition between the modes.

Aside from that, the Hybrid model is pretty much identical to any other CR-V sold in Europe, save for a Vehicle Driver Information Interface (DII) display that shows the workings of the i-MMD system. This means that it should be available with seven seats and the full Honda Sensing active safety suite as standard.

Production of the CR-V Hybrid for European markets will kick off next month – as will the order books for the car – with first deliveries slated to begin early next year.

GALLERY: Honda CR-V for Europe