Compact crossover SUV looks to add to its solid reputation
Roseville, Calif.- Despite the popularity of electric vehicles, hybrids are still a popular choice among American car buyers.
And no hybrid draws much more attention than the Honda CR-V, a compact crossover SUV. After finding success in European markets, the hybrid version of the CR-V became a 2020 option in the U.S and has been a embraced ever since.
Hybrid electric vehicles are powered by an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors, using the energy that’s battery stored. Unlike a true EV, hybrids can’t be plugged in to charge the battery. Instead, the battery is charged through regenerative braking and by the internal combustion engine.
All CR-Vs have been redesigned this year. The 2023 Honda CR-V hybrid is larger than its predecessor. The wheelbase is wider and the length has been stretched by 1.6 inches, giving the new CR-V even more rear legroom than ever before. The redesign of the sixth generation CR-V also includes a more upright windshield and prominent hood.
We are not sure why, but the venerable Honda CR-V took a major nosedive in sales last year. The 2022 sales (238,155) were the lowest in the past 12 years. Although the loss wasn’t as dramatic, the rival 2022 Toyota RAV4 also saw a significant reduction (41,000) in sales, dipping to 366,741, it’s lowest total since 2015.
Regardless of the sales dip, the CR-V has a tremendous reputation that was lauded when first introduced in 1997. One always feels safe behind the wheel of a CR-V. The hybrid is no different, delivering precise steering, confidence on curvy roads, while also fitting easily into tight parking spaces.
When choosing between a hybrid CR-V and the gas powered one, there are some differences. The hybrid has a bit more performance and gets better gas mileage. For price-conscious buyers, the standard CR-V starts at $31,110, while the hybrid goes for $32,500.
The acceleration is more pronounced in the CR-V hybrid. It has two electric motors, 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 204 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. The gas-powered CR-V utilizes a turbocharged 1.5-liter, four-cylinder that produces 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid is faster, going 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds, and has better fuel economy (34-40 mph).
Both versions of the CR-V deliver a composed ride that is solid in all types of driving situations. Standard driver assistance safety features include forward collision and lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, and front and rear parking sensors.
AT A GLANCE – 2023 HONDA CR-V HYBRID
- Performance: two electric motors, 1.5-liter, four-cylinder, 204 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 34-40 mph
- Price estimate: $32,500 to $38,700
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited
Inside the CR-V
The CR-V has a roomy interior and a well-designed cabin. Although there is more hard plastic than one might expect, Honda does a good job of minimizing it with soft surfaces and some cool design elements. Standard features include a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, six-speaker audio system, and four USB ports.
Seating is provided for five passengers and is generous in both rows. The reclining rear seats aren’t as roomy as up front, but they’re still spacious for adults, even on long trips. Cargo space is sizable at 39.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats and expands to 76.5 cubes when the seat is folded to the floor.
Priced roughly $1,400 more than the gas-fueled version, the 2023 Honda CR-V hybrid gives folks something to ponder when shopping for the popular compact SUV. The hybrid offers a bit more acceleration and better fuel economy.