When one of the best-selling SUVs in North America gets a significant reboot, folks take notice. The Honda CR-V may not be as glamorous as a new sports car or hot-blooded supercar, but it officially enters its sixth generation with this, the 2023 model. A rugged exterior upgrade hides a refined interior, with hybrid power taking a larger role beneath the skin.
The 2023 CR-V's new face likely isn't much of a surprise. We got a preview back in May when images from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology were posted online. Now, we get a better taste of its larger mesh grille that adds a rugged flavour shared with the North American market Ridgeline pickup truck. Thinner headlights further emphasise the grille's size, with up-market (US) Sport and Sport Touring hybrid models also getting more aggressive front and rear fascias.
Honda didn't simply upgrade body panels for a beefier appearance. The new CR-V is 2.7 inches longer and nearly a half-inch wider than its predecessor. It rides on a wheelbase that's 1.6 inches (69 millimetres) longer, and while that doesn't sound like much, the changes make the sixth-generation CR-V the largest of them all. Rear-seat passengers enjoy more legroom, and there's 26.3 cubic feet (745 litres) of cargo space in the back. With the rear seatbacks folded, space increases to 76.5 cubic feet (2,166 litres).
Speaking of the interior, Honda already teased the new digs so there won't be any surprises there. Borrowing heavily from the Civic, the CR-V features the same classy layout with a standard-issue 7-inch touchscreen perched in the middle of the dash. A 7-inch digital instrument panel greets the driver, and on higher-trim models, the infotainment screen grows to 9 inches. Grey and black cloth upholstery is standard issue, with leather available. Honda says the CR-V's centre console offers the most storage of any vehicle in its class.
Technology-wise, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the board, as is the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assist and safety systems. For 2023, that includes a new wide-angle camera with a 90-degree field of view, and a radar system that can see 120 degrees. Blind-spot monitoring is standard, and Honda's Traffic Jam Assist with low-speed braking and sign recognition are available. When venturing off the beaten path, Honda's Real Time AWD system is updated and offers several driving modes depending on conditions. For the first time in the CR-V, hill descent control is available.
At launch in the US, the 2023 Honda CR-V will be offered in four trim levels. It starts with the EX, followed by the EX-L and both feature the familiar turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine making 190 bhp (142 kilowatts). Sport and Sport Touring round out the CR-V trim levels, each packing an updated 2.0-litre four-cylinder hybrid powertrain. The tweaked setup actually makes a bit less horsepower compared to the outgoing model – 204 versus 212 – but torque is up to 247 pound-feet (335 Newton metres).
Gallery: 2023 Honda CR-V Studio Images
Honda will announce pricing for the new 2023 CR-V at a later date. Currently, the 2022 CR-V LX is the entry-level model at $28,045, including Honda's $1,245 destination charge. However, the EX will become the base model for 2023, which means the sixth-gen model will likely start over $30,000. Expect EX and EX-L models to go on sale in the summer, with Sport and Sport Touring hybrid models on sale towards the end of the year.
We expect the European market Honda CR-V to arrive early next year.
Gallery: 2023 Honda CR-V