Nice Drives: 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid

The 6th generation is the most refined, comfortable and advanced model yet

by Isaac Bouchard

Courtesy Honda

The sixth generation sets new standards for the CR-V, Honda’s best-seller. It is the most refined, comfortable and advanced model yet. The 190hp turbocharged, gasoline-only model is slightly slower than the outgoing model, however. That is not the case with the 204hp hybrid, whose 0-60 run of 7.9 seconds improves upon its predecessor. It’s also more pleasing to drive insofar as the computers that control power and torque flow mimic the feel of conventional vehicles quite well. There’s none of the mooing or moaning sound of vehicles whose transmission is of the continuously variable variety and, with 247lb-ft of torque, it feels even faster. This hybrid can also tow a 1,000lb load now, since the gasoline engine is clutched into the drivetrain (it wasn’t before). The only downside is that the more robust new body structure—which achieves excellent crash test ratings—weighs more, lessening fuel economy slightly. Dynamics are excellent, with superb ride quality, athletic handling—second only to the Mazda CX-5 and CX-50—and much better rejection of road noise than the outgoing model.

Courtesy Honda

This latest CR-V interior is classier too, with more soft-touch surfaces and a cleaner look. It is logical in the best Honda tradition, with a prominently placed 9-inch touch screen, wireless Android and Apple integration and standard adaptive cruise, autonomous emergency braking, lane assist and blind spot monitors. The Sport Touring begets leather, Bose sound and other creature comforts. It is slightly roomier inside too, keeping the CR-V at or near the head of the compact crossover segment for cargo and people room. Its most direct rivals are the Toyota RAV4 hybrid, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, all of which are excellent. The CR-V seems to have their measure, riding better than the Korean mechanical twins and feeling higher class than the Toyota. Real-world fuel eco for this tester was 29.8mpg. While well below the ratings, it is significantly better than most non-hybrids tested, and excellent for such a roomy, practical AWD machine. Honda shows tangible improvement in most every aspect of this latest model’s development. All-in, the latest CR-V Hybrid comes across as the best version yet: roomy, quiet, quick and pleasing to drive, and one that will repay the extra cost of its hybrid drivetrain over just 2-3 years of driving—not the case with pure electrics.

EPA Ratings: 40/34/37mpg

0-60mph: 7.9sec

Price as tested: $39,845

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Here is what Honda has to say.

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