Something interesting is happening on the road to electrification, at least for certain manufacturers. Instead of including hybrids in the transition, several automakers are heading straight to full electrics. Happily, not everyone has chosen this path and that’s exactly the approach we see with the all-new Honda CR-V, a compact crossover utility vehicle. The CR-V is Honda’s best-selling model and a strong competitor to the Toyota RAV4, itself awash in hybrids.
Earlier this week, Honda finally took the full wraps off its CR-V crossover. The sixth-generation model goes on sale this summer with hybrid variants joining by the end of the year.
All-New 2023 Honda CR-V Crossover
The new model is slightly longer, wider, and roomier than the previous version, which should help Honda stay strong in a highly competitive segment. Indeed, besides the Toyota RAV4, the Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, Mazda CX-50, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, and Nissan Rogue are approximately half of its competitors. And with CR-V hybrids entering the fray, these versions will have just a few competitors. The hybrids arrive as fuel prices remain persistently high, therefore we expect a strong take rate for them. Indeed, Honda estimates that half of the CR-V’s sales will be hybrids.
Honda went the conservative route as far as styling changes, although the longer nose, reworked grille, and sportier character line elements are hard to ignore. Inside, Honda fans should be pleased with the cabin, as it borrows much of its design from the lauded Civic. The look is clean and uncluttered with an upscale touch to set it apart. Honda now includes body-stabilizing seats for improved ride comfort. Other changes of note include a larger storage compartment between the front seats, added rear-seat legroom, and a multi-setting and reclinable rear bench seat.
The storage space is 36.3 cubic feet behind the second-row seat. Notably, the load floor in the gas models can be lowered to supply 39.3 cubic feet of space. Fold down the rear seat and 76.5 cubic feet is available, near the top of its class.
Tech and Safety Features
On the tech front, a 7-inch digital instrument panel and a 7-inch touch-screen display come standard with the EX and Sport grades. Choose the EX-L and Sport Touring grades and these get a 9-inch touch-screen display. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and USB ports are included. A wireless charging pad comes with the Sport Touring model.
All grades come with 10 airbags. Among driver-assist technologies, the CR-V includes lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, low-speed braking control, and traffic sign recognition. This year, blind-spot monitoring is included and that’s unusual in a segment where it typically is a trim upgrade or a package addition.
Powertrains and More
Available in EX, EX-L, Sport, and Sport Touring grades, the 2023 CR-V relies on a standard gas motor for the first two grades and a hybrid system for the second pair.
The EX and EX-L grades come with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque. Power routes to the front or to all four wheels utilizing a continuously variable transmission. When equipped with all-wheel drive, the system now shuttles up to half of its power to the rear wheels.
Choose the Sport and Sport Touring grades and this one comes with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. A pair of side-by-side electric motors combine to deliver 204 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. Notably, it gains towing capability as it sports a 1,000-pound rating. Also, the Sport Touring model is the only grade with standard all-wheel drive.
Honda CR-V Considerations
Honda aims to remain strong in the industry’s strongest segment. Though not driven yet, we believe the 2023 Honda CR-V raises the bar and will help the model stay pace with the Toyota. Offering hybrids makes sense and those are the models we would shop to maximize efficiency.
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Photos courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.