One of America's favorite SUVs just got a lot better.
After a brief glimpse of the exterior and several teasers, Honda has finally unveiled the all-new 2023 Honda CR-V. The nameplate has been a massive success for the Japanese brand and has consistently made appearances on America's best-selling list. The latest model will build on this reputation, with crisp styling and new hybrid technology ready to entice buyers across the world.
Let's begin with the styling. The new generation has a more sophisticated look than before, with an equally refined and rugged exterior. There's a clear family resemblance with the recently refreshed Passport TrailSport. It's 2.7 inches longer and 0.4 inches wider than the outgoing model which, says Honda, gives the SUV a more aggressive presence. The wheelbase has also been lengthened by 0.4 inches, which will aid occupant space.
The overall look is largely dependent on which trim you opt for. EX and EX-L boast a gloss black mesh grille with chrome trim and 18-inch wheels. Round back, you'll find a body-color roof spoiler and LED vertical taillights.
The bolder Sport and Sport Touring models build on this with gloss black mesh grilles and rectangular exhaust tips. Both receive an exclusive bumper design; Sport derivatives receive a subtle gloss black finish while Sport Touring models receive the platinum treatment. It's a similar story at the rear - the former's rear spoiler underside is matte black while the plusher derivative receives a gloss black finish.
Lastly, the CR-V Sport receives Berlina Back 18-inch wheels. On the Sport Touring, these are supplanted by sportier 19-inch items. Regardless of trim, all models ship standard with LED headlights. Elsewhere, you'll notice the side mirrors have been repositioned on the front doors. Honda says this improves overall visibility and safety.
There are some changes to be found under the blunt hood. The new (fourth generation) two-motor hybrid system has been paired with a revised 2.0-liter four-cylinder motor to provide a combined output of 204 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque. The Japanese brand notes the latest CR-V Hybrid is capable of towing up to 1,000 lbs.
This powertrain is only available on the Sport and Sport Touring models, with the EX and EX-L derivatives receiving a reworked version of the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine. It still produces a modest 190 hp, but is now more refined and produces fewer emissions.
The four-pot gains a high-efficiency turbocharger and 4-2 exhaust port cylinder head which brings greater driving performance. The 179 lb-ft of peak torque arrives 300 rpm earlier than before, making the SUV more responsive. Despite this, Honda has tuned the motor to be notably quieter than before. Power is sent to the front wheels via a CVT transmission, which also sees improvements in terms of refinement.
Honda has also worked on the optional all-wheel-drive system (standard on the Sport Touring), improving traction on slippery surfaces. When equipped, the system is capable of sending 50% of the torque to the rear wheels.
Hill Descent Control also makes an appearance for the first time and, together with a trio of selectable drive modes, makes the CR-V more capable than before. A Snow mode joins the Normal and Econ modes. The range-topping models also receive a Sport mode.
Inside, you'll notice the 2023 CR-V has gleaned inspiration from the latest Civic. The cabin is far more contemporary than before, with an uncluttered design and more comfort. One of several neat touches are the front Body Stabilizing Seats. According to the automaker, these newly-designed pews reduce fatigue on extended journeys. Interestingly, the steering wheel has been angled at a more "sedan-like" position for a comfier and sportier driving position.
Rear passengers also benefit immensely from the redesign. The lengthened wheelbase brings 0.6 inches of extra legroom, while the rear seats now have "eight angles of recline." This being a CR-V, practicality abounds. Honda proudly states the newcomer has the largest center console bin in its class, but that's not all.
The sixth-gen is the roomiest CR-V ever, with 36.3 cu ft of packing space up for grabs. Tumble the 60/40 split-folding rear seats, and a cavernous 76.5 cu ft of cargo space is available. This is slightly bigger than the outgoing model, which offers a still-impressive 75.8 cu ft. Thanks to a lowering rear load floor, the non-hybrid EX and EX-L trunk space can be increased to 39.3 cu ft.
While the EX receives gray or black cloth seats, the driver still enjoys an eight-way powered seat. The EX-L builds on this with leather (available in the same tones as above), piano black interior trim, and a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat. The CR-V Sport is treated to model-specific black cloth upholstery and dash trim.
The Sport Touring is the poshest of them all; leather and piano black trim inlays contribute to the upmarket feel. The Sport models also receive a black headlining and distinctive orange stitching on the steering wheel, gear lever, steering wheel, and, of course, seats.
Honda Sensing is standard across the board and features a host of driver assistance systems. Blind spot assist is now standard, and new features such as Traffic Jam assist, Low-Speed Braking control, and Traffic Sign recognition are also present. Features such as adaptive cruise control, for example, have been improved for better operation.
In terms of tech, there are plenty of improvements. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all models; there's a seven-inch digital instrument panel (with a physical speedometer) and, on EX and Sport models, a similarly sized touchscreen with physical controls. There are also two USB ports. The EX-L and Sport Touring receive a larger nine-inch item and wireless charging, among other things. The latter also gains a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system.
The CR-V will take the fight to the RAV4 when it arrives this Summer. The Hybrid is expected to launch later in the year, with prices to be confirmed. We don't expect pricing to stray too far from the current gen, though.