2023 Honda CR-V Preview: Bigger and potentially better

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Pros: Clean styling; massive interior; efficient engine options; solid infotainment system; many standard safety features
Cons: Lack of specialty options like plug-in hybrid and off-road models
Honda's best-selling vehicle is back and bigger than ever in the form of the Honda CR-V 2023. With a strong mix of good driving dynamics and high everyday practicality, the compact SUV sets standards in its segment. We can't share impressions of how the new model drives (check back later this month), but even if you examine it stationary and read the spec sheet, it seems to bring a lot of improvements over its already solid predecessor.
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One of the big improvements is, well, it's bigger. It's the largest CR-V to date, and that's reflected in a very spacious interior with maximum cargo space, once again at the top of its class. It also gets a massively upgraded infotainment system, and the hybrid powertrain has been updated to offer more torque. We also find the styling significantly improved.
However, the new 2023 CR-V is entering an extremely competitive segment, and while it intelligently targets the heart of the market, it doesn't offer any of the branch-offs into the various niches that have sprung up in recent years. No plug-in hybrid is offered to answer the Toyota RAV4 Prime, Hyundai Tucson PHEV, Kia Sportage PHEV and Ford Escape PHEV. There's also no more powerful engine (long a CR-V complaint) like the Mazda CX-5 and VW Tiguan, nor a more robust trim level like the Sportage, Mazda CX-50 and Subaru's Forester and Outback. Basically, the CR-V could be a little more interesting. But if you're looking for a more conventional small SUV, you should still keep an eye on the new CR-V and add it to your test drive list.
Interior & Technology | Passenger and Cargo Space | performance and fuel consumption
What it's like to drive | Prices & Amenities | Crash ratings and safety features
What's new for 2023?
The 2023 Honda CR-V has been completely redesigned for the new model year.
What is the CR-V's interior and vehicle technology like?
With a completely new exterior comes a completely new interior. Or at least new to the CR-V. If you've sat in a new Civic, the layout and design will feel very familiar. It's also very similar to the HR-V, which is also new. Fortunately, it's a very good interior. The look is clean and uncomplicated. The dashboard is also low, contributing both to visibility and to making the cabin feel spacious. All switchgear has a premium feel and tight, solid action, whether it's a turn signal stalk or the much-welcomed climate controls. Although there are many plastics, they have attractive finishes and patterns. It doesn't quite match the premium feel of the Mazda CX-50 or CX-5, but it's on par with the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson. It's also a lot nicer than what you'll find in a Ford Escape or Chevy Equinox.
As for instruments and infotainment, the CR-V has an analog speedometer combined with a 7-inch screen that can display the tachometer and other information. The standard infotainment display is a 7-inch touchscreen with volume and tuning controls and a few physical menu buttons. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. On higher EX-L and Sport Touring trim levels, the CR-V gets a larger 9-inch touchscreen with just a volume knob and menu buttons, plus both wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus wireless charging. At both screen sizes, this infotainment system now uses the operating system and user interface of the Accord and other Hondas, rather than the previous CR-V's slow, buggy and ugly system. It's much more attractive; features large, attractive and easy-to-press icons; There are fewer menu levels and much faster reactions. It's a system that's actually competitive with its rivals, although we still prefer the Hyundai/Kia system.
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