Car Review: 2023 Honda CR-V is generational talent

Brian Armstead, WTOP Contributor

Now in its 6th generation, and wearing the title of Honda’s most popular SUV, the all-new 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid takes the Compact Utility Vehicle (CUV) to the proverbial “next level” by offering all of the comfort, utility and safety that young, on-the-go families might seek with this price and size segment. And the fuel economy isn’t bad, either!

Compared to the 2022 CR-V Hybrid, the new 2023 model is longer, wider and delivers a significantly broader stance. With a new Honda design direction fully in play on the new CR-V Hybrid, the low horizontal beltline and strong upper character line add strength and length to the exterior.



The CR-V Hybrid features a more spacious interior and greater visibility for the driver and front passenger. The windshield area is now 4.4 inches wider, thanks in part to thinner but stronger “A” pillars with squared corners. Outward vision is also enhanced by hidden wiper blades, and door-mounted side mirrors. The mirrors allow for several inches of extra vision capacity as drivers now can see to the ground through the “window” created by the moving door mirrors.

The interior is also a great place to store things, offering a front cubby for two smartphones, eight cupholders throughout the cabin, 36.6 cubic feet of storage behind the second row and up to 76.5 cubic feet with the second row folded flat.

Performance and Fuel Economy

Our tester was the AWD Sport Touring trim. With up to 204-horsepower hybrid two-motor powertrain, the new CR-V Hybrid performs reasonably well. A really cool feature, one I would expect to find on a car with a much higher MSRP than the CR-V Hybrid, is Honda’s “Smart Navi” system, which uses GPS coordinates to optimize fuel economy. Approaching hilly terrain? The system can read this before you get to those hills and set up onboard computers to get the best transmission, engine, and hybrid motor settings for max performance and fuel economy.

Safety

CR-V comes standard with new and advanced active and passive safety technology to maintain its reputation as a leader in safety performance, including expanded and improved Honda Sensing safety and driver-assistive technology with a new front sensor camera and radar system. Next-gen front airbags, as well as new front knee and rear side-impact airbags, also are standard.

Trim Levels and Pricing
  • Sport – $32,450 (hybrid with Real Time Intelligent AWD as a $1500 option)
  • Sport Touring – $38,600 (hybrid, with standard Real Time Intelligent AWD)
Things to Know

Honda has also improved CR-V Hybrid driver and passenger comfort with a new seat frame and cushion configuration. The so-called “Body Stabilizing Seat” offers additional lumbar, pelvis, tailbone and thigh support, making long road trips more comfortable for all.

Pros
  • Great looking and safe! Honda expects an IIHS Top Safety Pick + crash rating for the new model
  • Affordable and economical. Low price and good fuel economy (40 mpg city/34 mpg highway/37 mpg combined)
  • Complimentary maintenance for 2 years/24,000 miles
Cons
  • Even with advanced noise reduction on certain trim levels, the hybrid power train is a bit noisy under full acceleration
  • A bit underpowered
  • Standard 7.0-inch touchscreen (EX and Sport trim) is too small. Upper-tier trims offer a sweet 9.0-inch touchscreen

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