2023 Honda CR-V: Get Ready to Love Hybrid SUV Driving

A Girls Guide To Cars | 2023 Honda Cr-V: Get Ready To Love Hybrid Suv Driving - Me With The 2023 Honda Cr V Featured Image

Electric driving is coming to CR-V, and the Hybrid model is what will get us there  

And that’s just the big news. The other news is that the CR-V, Honda’s biggest seller and one of the top selling SUVs, just got a top-to bottom makeover, though really, only the key things were tinkered with: more space, better fuel economy and more key features. Honda left a lot of the good stuff alone, and Honda CR-V fans will be grateful.

But let’s start with the big news: Honda plans for half of all 2023 CR-V sales to be Hybrid versions. To do this, the CR-V makes the top of the line Hybrid model more attractive with more standard and available features, though the base model Hybrid is nicely equipped, too. 

Related: Finally! The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid is Here and We Couldn’t Be Happier

The View From The Driver'S Seat In The 2023 Honda Cr-V. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The view from the driver’s seat in the 2023 Honda CR-V. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Here’s How The 2023 Line-up Shakes Out:

  • The CR-V Hybrid comes in Sport ($32,450) and Sport Touring ($38,600).
  • The Turbo model, which has a conventional 4-cylinder 1.5 l gas engine, comes in EX ($31,110) and EX-L ($33,760).
  • All wheel drive is standard on the Sport Touring and available on the other models for $1,500.

The big difference between the trims are fuel economy, a slight power difference and a slight difference in cargo space: 

  • The turbo model has a slightly larger cargo space with a movable cargo floor; the Hybrid model does not; overall, though, cargo space is increased by 3 cubic feet
  • The Turbo model generates 190 horsepower and 179 torque; the Hybrid models generate 204 HP and 247 torque 
  • Hybrid models are estimated to get up to 43 MPG; Turbo models are estimated to get 29 MPG city/highway combined
  • All models have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, drive modes, Honda Sensing driver assist and safety features standard, which now includes traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition and low-speed braking (standard!)
  • The two top trims both have leather seats, wireless phone charging, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and premium sound
  • The top of the line Sport Touring is only available in Hybrid and includes satellite-based naviagation, hands-free motion activated lift gate, Bose premium sound, rear wheel steering, two rear seat USB ports and all the “Sport” goodies like sport bumpers, sport grille and orange sport stitching on the leather seats. 

Related: The 2023 Honda HR-V Delivers on the Promise of a Go-Everywhere Vehicle

The 2023 Honda Cr-V Turbo. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The 2023 Honda CR-V Turbo. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The CR-V’s Design is Premium On It’s Own

Overall, the 2023 Honda CR-V has a more premium and refined look; even the signature tail lights, vertical lights that frame the tailgate, have been refined with delicate rounded details at the base to frame back up lights.

The nose and front bumper are refined, and the front grille has a new modern look to it. Our test model, the Sport Touring, has the gloss black grille, a look I really liked a lot. 

The Rear Of The 2023 Honda Cr-V Shows The Evolution Of The Tail Lights

The rear of the 2023 Honda CR-V shows the evolution of the tail lights. Photo: Scotty Reiss

In-Car Tech, and our Own Devices get Premium Treatment

Inside, there are some standard design features pulled in from other redesigned Honda models. Buyers will see the multimedia screen front and center on the dashboard, the mesh climate grille that spans the entire dashboard — I really do love this detail— and joystick-style vent controls neatly tucked into the grille.

The CR-V has a double-wide cubby under the dashboard that holds two large phones (!!!) and for models that have wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the wireless phone charger is included too—they are a package.

The Mesh Grille That Spans The 2023 Honda Cr-V; Notice How Large The Cubby Is It Holds Two Phones!

The mesh grille that spans the 2023 Honda CR-V; notice how large the cubby is it holds two phones! Photo: Scotty Reiss

For systems that require a wired connection Apple CarPlay, a standard USB cord is needed; even though there is a USB C port, it does not connect to the multimedia system.

The touch screen, which comes in a standard 7” or  available 9” in the Sport Touring model, has a new look and function to it. The flat screen has a button for volume control, larger, easier to see apps and it works nicely.

It also has a clever graphic detail that I really loved; tap the time in the top right corner and you get a choice of graphics for your clock. I picked ladybugs, but I could have chosen sea turtles or a variety of landscapes. I can imagine this being a really great way to teach toddlers to tell time. 

Related: Meet Shogo, the Honda Electric Car that is Making Hospital Stays for Small Patients a Little Happier

I Loved This Feature. Photo: Scotty Reiss

I loved this feature. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Telling the CR-V What to do was Fun

I tried out the voice controlled (push a button for this) navigation which is satellite fed and adjusts your Hybrid performance based on the terrain and traffic for optimal regenerative braking and charging. I also liked how this functioned, which was pretty good; it understood me and navigated where I needed to go, often when my phone couldn’t because I didn’t have a cell signal. 

The Multimedia Sytem In The 2023 Honda Cr-V. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The multimedia sytem in the 2023 Honda CR-V. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Longer, Lower, Wider and More Family Friendly

From there the CR-V is slightly longer and wider and the rear seat is slightly larger: Legroom has been improved by half an inch, the rear seats recline further and the doors open wider. 

All this means more room for child passenger car seats, which Honda also sought to accommodate: the lower anchor LATCHEs are more prominently placed and easier to see, even if it’s not easy to see past a cumbersome car seat. All in all, these changes should make kids car seats easier to install (and, easier to help toddlers into their seats).

Rear Seats Are Wider And More Spacious Than In Past Models, And They Recline. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Rear seats are wider and more spacious than in past models, and they recline. Photo: Scotty Reiss

More Fun to Drive? Yup! 

I took a long drive in the Hybrid model and a short spin on country roads in the turbo. Overall, the Hybrid has a lot more torque so it’s quite a bit zippier, though the Turbo was absolutely fine. I was able to accelerate and pass with no problem. 

Making the Hybrid a bit more fun is sport mode, which is only available in the Hybrid model; the Turbo model has eco, normal and snow modes.

One Of My Favorite Tech Features Is Brake Hold. Photo: Scotty Reiss

One of my favorite tech features is brake hold. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Learning to Drive Electric – In a Hybrid

On the highway, the Hybrid was a lot of fun, though I found the gaming aspect of regenerative braking, a system that is designed to maximize efficiency of the battery’s charge and typically only found in electric cars, to be even more engaging.

Honda has equipped the CR-V Hybrid models with paddles to engage regenerative braking. Put it in B mode for all-time regen, or use the left paddle to set your level of regenerative braking. As you pull the paddle you can see the needle on the left gauge dip into green territory and watch your MPG improve— which I delighted in. Or, leave it in B mode and just enjoy regenerative braking all the time. 

The CR-V does not have true one-pedal driving, though. Lift off the accelerator and you’ll feel more slowing in B mode than in D(rive), but you’ll need to brake to come to a full stop. However, the fact that you can ‘game’ your power efficiency, like you can in an electric car, is a lure. Anything to generate power and have fun at the same time. 

Related: The Redesigned 2022 Honda Civic, in the Civic Si Edition: a Stick Shift With No Compromises

The Interior Of The 2023 Honda Cr-V. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The interior of the 2023 Honda CR-V. Photo: Scotty Reiss

True Tow Capacity for the First Time

Honda doesn’t want you to leave your Honda motorbikes at home, so towing has been added! The CR-V Hybrid can to2 up to 1,000 lbs; not that it wasn’t cable before, but now it’s intended for light towing.

The Rear Cargo Area Of The 2023 Honda Cr-V; There Is A Movable Cargo Floor In The Turbo Model But Not The Hybrid. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The rear cargo area of the 2023 Honda CR-V; there is a movable cargo floor in the Turbo model but not the hybrid. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Small Changes Add Up to Big News for 2023

And that may be the best news in the 2023 Honda CR-V. Fans will be happy with the subtle but definite improvements in space, technology and style. Gas-price weary drivers will be happy with better fuel economy.

Future electric car drivers will be able to learn all about regenerative braking in a safe, comfortable space. And drivers who want the solid reliably and fun to drive experience that we love Honda for? They’ll be happy too.

Disclosure: I was Honda’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.

Car Shopping

Need a new car? Whether shopping for a new car or a used car we recommend using our car shopping service

Tire Shopping

Need new tires? We recommend Tire Rack

Car Repair

Need to get your car repaired? We recommend Repair Pal. Exclusively just for Girls Guide to Cars readers, call (877) 323-1708 to speak to RepairPal Car Genius for FREE automotive repair advice and if needed to find the right shop for you!

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss