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2023 Honda CR-V Review: Just Really Good

2023 Honda CR-V Review: Just Really Good

Americans can’t get enough of crossovers, and nothing is more emblematic of them than the Honda CR-V. It’s arguably as much a standby of current American car culture as classic domestic sedans in recent years, and its popularity reflects that: As of August 2020, 5.963.369 are sold in the United States alone since its introduction in 1997, a figure that today certainly exceeds 6 million. In April of this year it was still the fastest selling new car in the US If historical dramas about the 2020s are ever made, a modern CR-V parked in a suburban driveway is the fastest way to remind audiences of the time and setting in which the series is set.

Of course, due to this overwhelming popularity, any update becomes a major problem. Honda didn’t hold back with the 2023 redesign, taking the sharp exterior styling and modern, habitable interior of the recently updated Civic and Accord and getting a little bigger for the CR-V. The pack maintains the CR-V’s appeal while updating it for the 1920s, likely ensuring its continued and generally deserved dominance.

Specifications Honda CR-V from 2023

Base price (EX-L AWD as tested): $32,355 ($36,505)
Drivetrain: 1.5-litre turbo inline-four | continuously variable automatic transmission | front-wheel or four-wheel drive
horsepower: 190 @ 6,000 rpm
Couple: 179 lb-ft @ 1,700 rpm
Curb weight: To be determined
Seating capacity: 5
Freight volume: 36.3 cubic feet (76.5 cubic feet with seats folded)
Fuel economy: 28 mpg city | 34 highway | 29 combined (FWD); 27 city | 32 highway | 29 combined (AWD)
Quick take: Honda’s CR-V is still, as it always has been, really good.
Score: 8.5/10

Victoria Scott

The playing field is the same, only bigger

Despite its drastic exterior change, the new CR-V will not undergo a major re-engineering under the skin. This sixth generation is still available with front or four-wheel drive, while a slightly updated 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbo delivers the same 190 horsepower as before and is mated to the same CVT. Fuel economy figures are identical to the outgoing car’s 28 urban and 34 mpg highway, given this new version’s essentially identical powertrain. (An updated hybrid model good for up to 40 combined mpg is also in the works, but wasn’t available for testing yet, so I’ll focus on the gas-powered version here.)

However, if we look beyond the mechanics, it is clear that the CR-V has changed drastically. Gone is the relatively dull fifth-generation sheet metal; now it actually looks pretty memorable, with Honda underway Mendel on the lineup to create the new design, cross-pollinating the Civic’s sharp headlights and beltlines with the Ridgeline’s rugged upright grille and macho bumpers. The resulting hybridization of styles is a definite improvement in my book, even if the hood length feels a little awkwardly long from the side. Although, if you ask me, I’d rather have this weird quirk and really remember what the car looks like than drive something totally forgetful.

All that fresh sheet metal is bigger too, with the new CR-V getting a 1.6-inch longer wheelbase, about a half-inch of track width and two-and-a-half inches of overall length over the outgoing model. As a result, Honda also notes that it has the most cargo capacity and legroom of any CR-V to date. Fortunately, despite its increased weight, Honda’s crossover hasn’t become massively massive, but more on that later.

Inside, buyers will find cloth or leather seats paired with a centrally mounted seven- or nine-inch touchscreen, depending on whether they opt for the base EX trim or the higher-end EX-L package. EX-L buyers also get wireless charging, as well as untethered Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus an extra pair of speakers. (EX buyers have to carry cables for their phones and live with only six speakers.) I tested an EX-L, but the list of features isn’t a huge difference, so I wouldn’t mind the extra $2,650 Honda asks to pocket for the “-L” in exchange for bringing my Lightning cable.

Honda’s benchmark

Regardless of the equipment, on the move, the CR-V delivers exactly what it has always promised. The interior, with its well-integrated touchscreen and physical buttons for climate control and stereo volume, is delightfully user-friendly, while the eight-way adjustable seats are an absolute breeze to sit comfortably in. – The tall driver still left me plenty of room for my lanky legs. The driving and passenger experience is what I would expect from an SUV that Honda had 25 years to refine; it is, in short, really good.

By really good I mean the average buyer will never do that need to note the ways in which it excels, as it is designed to be quietly competent. Honda achieves this with elements such as thin and well-shaped A-pillars, which give excellent sightlines and keep the car from feeling too wide. Another example: the steering has a firm initial response that helps to dampen sudden movements and prevent the car from feeling fuzzy; that excellent steering feel is matched by a comfortably flexing suspension flap and a relatively soft anti-roll response. These individual pieces work together to make the CR-V feel like it did only enough weight to drive like an SUV, without ever getting unwieldy.

The drivetrain is also very strong. The tiny 190hp 1.5-litre doesn’t make the CR-V the most powerful crossover in its class (Toyota’s RAV4 still has 15hp more), but peak torque at 1,800rpm means it never feels sluggish when him to a country road. Even the CVT is responsive enough that 95% of the time — including two-lane highway-dotted-yellow passing — it’s easy to forget it’s a CVT, kicking the 1.5-litre to life with a burst of throttle quite quickly.

All this quiet excellence exists because Honda still understands who buys a CR-V. When you need to run errands, drive to work, and maybe pick up kids from school, you need a car that does it all without forcing you to get active. think about your car. All of the above bright points I’ve mentioned are commendable, but even if I wasn’t actively reviewing the CR-V, I’d still step forward and say, “I really liked it,” because every part in this Honda is seamless. works together, without ever drawing attention to a single element.

Unfortunately, this test drive was a short one and there were no highways or stop-and-go situations, so there is still the potential for unseen weaknesses. My main concern is that the 1.5-liter could run out of oomph during faster merges (although it still pulls hard to about 55 mph, in my testing), and I’d also still like to see how that’s comfortable on the -soft side suspension handles repetitive curb holes at high speeds.

Still, I’m pretty comfortable saying it’s really good, given this thing’s 25-year track record.

Understand his point

Victoria Scott

It was never an inevitable fact that Honda would become the de facto first choice for American crossover buyers; Honda’s first entry into the burgeoning US SUV market was a badge-designed Isuzu. The CR-V was the company’s first homemade attempt, and with its built-in picnic table, vertical D-pillar taillights, and spare tire hanging casually from the tailgate like a backpack, that original CR-V embodies a quirky place in the market that appeal of the crossover to a specific type of buyer. But by 2007, when the CR-V found its stride, it had surpassed the Odyssey in sales as consumers eschewed the minivan for the crossover. In 2014, it surpassed sales of the long-running Civic. Since then, it has been Honda’s best-selling vehicle and the company has never lost sight of it.

In this sixth generation, there’s no rugged, all-terrain-covered off-roader trim or luxury shoehorn upsell. Honda understands that this has never made the CR-V the first choice for American buyers. Instead, you get two choices: really good and really good (with leather). That’s what the CR-V has always delivered, and it still has it.

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