For over 20 years, the Honda CRV has reigned as one of the best-selling mid-size SUVs on the market. It’s not hard to see why, with its ample space, modern design, and rugged capabilities in both off-road and on-road situations. In response to the ever-changing automotive market, Honda has updated the new Honda CRV 2023 to make it even better than before while keeping true to their principles of quality and affordability that have made them such successful automakers.
The redesigned 2023 Honda CRV is an impressive upgrade from the outgoing fifth-generation SUV – equipped with a much more user-friendly interior and a hybrid that performs much better. Boasting Honda’s renowned reliability, the CRV hybrid is a vehicle that can meet any driver’s needs.
Despite its traditionally strong sales, the fifth-generation CRV 2023 has begun to fall behind its competitors in recent years. However, the all-new 2023 CRV is set to turn the tide and reclaim its place as one of the top-rated compact SUVs. Houstondirectauto.com editors have already seen the CR-V perform favorably in comparison tests and head-to-head challenges against its rivals.
The 2023 Honda CRV is a reliable and competitively-priced SUV that should have no problem meeting any driver’s needs. Enjoy the reassurance of Honda’s quality engineering and the convenience of its user-friendly interior – all while reaping the benefits of improved hybrid performance.
The Civic may inspire the 2023 Honda CR-V’s exterior design, but its interior is a different story. Impressive in aesthetics and usability, the CR-V surpasses its predecessor with a control layout that is both intuitive and practical. Physical climate and audio controls are featured for easy handling, with the volume knob flanked by tuning buttons for even greater convenience. The touchscreen also provides a superior user experience, with physical buttons hidden beneath an attractive, touch-sensitive veneer. As one of the few vehicles, along with the Nissan Rogue, to integrate this design, the 2023 CR-V is an industry leader in interior design.
The redesigned 2023 Honda CR-V offers an improved gear selector layout for gas and hybrid versions. With a more traditional gear selector lever, the fifth-gen CR-V’s minivan-like lever protruding from the dashboard, and the Hybrid’s unintuitive button-based setup is now a thing of the past. While the center console is still deep, it does have less front storage than before. However, I still felt I had plenty of space for my belongings. The larger center console also gives the cockpit a more enclosed feel without compromising legroom (I’m 6-foot-1).
The backseat of the CR-V remains a strength, adding legroom and recline adjustment at eight different positions. It’s a very comfortable space for adults, and the hybrid version also includes two rear charge-only USB-C ports. The only potential downside is the ceiling-mounted seatbelt for the middle seat, which reduces rear visibility.
Honda’s new CR-V Hybrid provides an impressive amount of cargo space, with 36.3 cubic feet with the backseat upright and 76.5 cubic feet with the backseat folded flat. Gas-powered models have even more room to offer, providing 39.3 cubic feet with the load floor in its lowest position. While we didn’t have the opportunity to take our measurements, the cargo area in the CR-V Hybrid appears to be exceptionally spacious, with a conveniently low-load floor.
The CR-V was the quickest to measure 0-60 mph, but it tied for last in our powertrain scoring. While its 190-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder, and continuously variable automatic transmission delivered an impressive performance, their noise levels were unfortunately noticeable. Unfortunately, these issues carry over to the gas-powered 2023 CR-V; acceleration feels slow, and the engine wails under acceleration. Despite this, the ride quality of the gas CR-V is a standout feature, with a firmness that provides great isolation. Additionally, the brakes were direct and linear, adding to the driving experience.
We spent considerable time getting behind the wheel of the all-wheel-drive CR-V Sport Touring, which is equipped with Honda’s new hybrid powertrain. The car is a hybrid that has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors; this setup produces a combined output of 204 horsepower – an increase from the fifth-gen’s 201 hp as per International Organization for Standardization ratings – and delivers a healthy 247 pounds-feet of torque, significantly more than the previous model’s 232 pounds-feet. As a result of these power upgrades, the Hybrid’s driving experience is sportier than the fifth-generation vehicle, with improved low-end torque and better acceleration off the line. While the car doesn’t quite deliver a sporty driving experience, the Hybrid is the only CR-V with a Sport driving mode, which slightly improves accelerator response and alters the Active Noise Control system for a more aggressive sound.
Regarding sportier driving, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid still comes out ahead. But for those looking for a more comfortable ride, the 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid is the better choice. With a redesigned exterior and interior, the CR-V Hybrid provides a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience while offering a fuel economy rating of 43/36/40 mpg city/highway/combined (compared to the fifth-gen’s 40/35/38 mpg). The CR-V Hybrid also features a maximum towing capacity of 1,000 pounds – a major step up from its predecessor’s “please, don’t” towing rating. All in all, the 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid is a good option for people who are looking for a reliable and enjoyable ride.
The 2023 Honda CR-V has been upgraded with enhanced safety features, such as an expanded camera and radar fields of view for improved detection capabilities. Blind-spot monitoring is now standard, and airbag designs have been updated to enhance occupant safety during a collision. The 2023 CR-V hasn’t. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash-tested this car. However, Honda takes security seriously, and we are confident that the CR-V meets the highest safety standards and will perform well in the event of a crash.
The Honda FWD EX is an excellent choice for a capable and efficient SUV. With a price of $32,355, it’s more affordable than the range-topping Sport Touring hybrid, which starts at just under $40,000. In our most recent comparison test, the Nissan Rogue was the winner, but as it’s gas-only, it couldn’t match the CR-V Sport Touring in fuel efficiency. The most formidable competitor, the Toyota RAV4, is ahead of the CR-V with the sporty RAV4 Prime PHEV, which is similarly priced. Will the CR-V be able to match or better the RAV4 in a comparison test? We’ll have to wait and see.