The 2023 Honda CR-V has roomy seating for five and 39.3 cubic feet of cargo space. (Honda)

The 2023 Honda CR-V has roomy seating for five and 39.3 cubic feet of cargo space. (Honda)

All-new 2023 Honda CR-V lineup merges gas and hybrid models

Change from separate entities encourages hybrid sales, part of the company’s ‘electrification strategy.’

The 2023 Honda CR-V is a complete redesign, a sixth-generation version of the brand’s hugely popular compact SUV introduced in 1997.

The fresh-faced new CR-V is longer, wider, roomier, more sophisticated, more powerful and more abundantly equipped with safety features than the outgoing model.

Honda has shuffled the CR-V lineup to blend gas-powered and hybrid models together into one group. They were previously handled as separate entities.

There are four trim levels in the new 2023 CR-V lineup: EX, EX-L, Sport, and Sport Touring. The first two are powered by a 190-horsepower turbo four-cylinder gas engine, and the last two are hybrids with a four-cylinder gas engine and two electric motors. Combined output for the hybrid system is 204 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque.

The top-level Sport Touring model comes standard with all-wheel drive, while the others are two-wheel drive with AWD available for an extra $1,500.

According to Honda, the new lineup is a key step in the company’s “electrification strategy” to encourage hybrid sales, and the hybrids will account for about 50 percent of CR-V sales annually.

Pricing starts at $32,905 ($1,295 destination charge included) for a CR-V EX with two-wheel drive. The Sport Touring costs $40,395. Prices don’t increase in order of the trim levels listed above. The hybrid Sport costs about $1,300 less than the EX-L (with AWD, $35,745 versus $37,055). With an EPA rating of 40 mpg for city driving, the Sport beats the EX-L by 13 mpg, and on the highway by 8 mpg. With my feeble grasp of numbers this is all advanced math, but according to my shaky calculations the CR-V Sport is a great deal, for the budget as well as the environment. Keep in mind that these costs are for an AWD Sport. Two-wheel drive would lower them by $1,500 and also bump-up the fuel efficiency.

My test car was a Sport Touring, so the focus here is on that model. Its AWD hybrid system is teamed with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Like its Sport stablemate, the Sport Touring has exterior styling more attention-grabbing than the EX and EX-L models, such as blacked-out trim pieces and rectangular exhaust finishers. The Sport Touring rides on exclusive black 19-inch five-spoke wheels.

The new CR-V’s large interior is roomy enough to seat five passengers with actual comfort for everyone. Legroom in the second row is a divine 41 inches. Headroom is 38.2 inches for every passenger. With rear seats occupied, there’s still a vast 39.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Kick those passengers out, fold their seats, and you’ll have 76.5 cubic feet at your disposal.

CR-V’s new interior is beautiful and obviously well constructed. Everything is solid, possibly the best compliment there is for a car’s cabin.

Sport Touring’s 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system includes navigation, 12-speaker Bose premium audio, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, SiriusXM, HD Radio, Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless charging. Operation is straightforward and there’s a handy manual knob included for volume control.

CR-V’s ride is gentle and the hybrid system provides an acceptable level of power. New for 2023, there’s a 1,000-pound towing capacity.

A favorite new feature is Hill Descent Control, standard on every 2023 CR-V model. Sure, the added stability of AWD makes driving in snow a lot simpler. But in Western Washington, with its hills and mountains and minimal snow-removal operations, we face more challenges than drivers in the flat Midwest. With the push of a button, Hill Descent Control mitigates the horror of a car sliding downhill. And it works very well, certainly more effective than praying.


Base price, including destination charge: $40,395

Price as driven: $40,395

Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.

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