The Honda CR-V is the company’s best-selling vehicle and the hybrid model has quickly gained popularity for its added efficiency. The 2023 Honda CR-V is all-new, becoming the sixth generation of the crossover-SUV. The CR-V Hybrid model is now, however, no longer considered a separate model from the CR-V, but is instead merely the top trim levels’ automatic upgrade. For clarity in this review, since we did drive the hybrid, we will use CR-V Hybrid to separate this one from its gas-only trim mates.
The CR-V Hybrid is a well-done and efficient option for those looking to get into a new generation small-compact crossover.
The new 2023 Honda CR-V is a bit longer, adding more rear seat legroom to both the standard and Hybrid model. The CR-V Hybrid, however, gets a big upgrade in its cargo space, which is now equal to the standard gasoline model at 39.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 76.5 cf when those rear seats are down. That’s one bonus to the hybrid being lumped in with the other CR-V models.
In the small-to-compact segment (“compact” being an odd term that seems to apply to some fairly large vehicles now), the CR-V matches well against its peers. There are several hybrid options to choose from in this segment, though most consider its chief rival to be the Toyota RAV4, which comes in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. The new CR-V Hybrid is a good comparable to the RAV4 Hybrid and, we think, may outclass it for many shoppers.
The hybrid powertrain is available on both the Sport and Sport Touring models of the CR-V, the former being at the middle of the trim lineup and the latter being the top tier. The Sport can be had in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive while the Sport Touring is AWD only.
Power in the 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that outputs 204 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. Early on, much of that power is supplied by the CR-V’s electric motor. And it’s a few HP more than the standard turbo engine, which as 190, and a lot more torque (69 lb-ft more). Which is why “Sport” is a good choice for the name on this hybrid setup. It adds more get-up to the go while also adding some MPG improvements.
The EPA estimates that the standard models will get 30 mpg combined while the hybrid model will get 37 or 40, depending on whether AWD is equipped. Our real-world highway test returned a paltry 33.5 mpg, but our overall MPG rating on the AWD model returned over 36 mpg in all thanks to a heavy in-town mix. Either way, the CR-V Hybrid is returning more than what the gasoline model is likely to give when it comes to fuel economy.
We also noted that the 2023 CR-V Hybrid is a solid-feeling SUV. It’s not quick or astute in the curves, being a basic crossover, but it does feel capable. The primary buyer for the CR-V is not concerned with how it performs in the twisties or how well it compares to a Porsche 911. Instead, it’s a confident, well-built, and solid-feeling two-row family hauler and grocery-getter. Which is what buyers here would really expect.
The new exterior design of the 2023 Honda CR-V is a bit boring after a long glance, but smart in the way it uses minimal cues to get a modern sleekness to its look. The beltline runs the length of the body and lifts slightly upward as it does so, following the roofline above, which pinches slightly downward. Just enough to give a forward-leaning impression, which makes for visual forward movement. Wheel choices, thin headlamps, a separated grille, and slightly bulky taillamps all come together to give the CR-V a powerful, but not overbearing look.
Inside, the 2023 CR-V Hybrid is roomy and open. Visibility is very good and door openings are wide enough for just about everyone. We also like the infotainment, which is simple and responsive. It’s not as flashy or fast-paced as some rivals, but it is easy to use and understand. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard in both the 7-inch and 9-inch touchscreen setups.
For the driver, Honda’s full suite of advanced driving aids and safety systems are pretty much standard equipment on the CR-V Hybrid. The lane-centering is one of the better that we’ve seen, in fact, and is worth pointing out as a standout.
Overall, the 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid is a great value. The Sport hybrid trim starts at $34,245 plus destination. Unless dynamic driving feel or super-high MPGs are your goals, the Honda CR-V is a contender you should have high on your list when shopping.
This review first appeared on DriveModeShow.com.