Remember when Mother Nature decided to give most of America a dose of Bing Crosby right in time for Christmas and with it came snow, ice and sub-zero temps? As a certified winter hater, I remember it and will curse Bing Crosby’s name going forward and never wish to hear “White Christmas” again.
But thankfully I had a vehicle that could handle the wintery conditions. Was it a truck? A Jeep? No, it was a Honda CR-V and not just a regular CR-V it was the hybrid.
That’s right, the 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid was a beast in the snowstorm. Confident, secure, under control. I was so grateful to have this SUV to drive around town for various holiday festivities. Snow, or snow (unfortunately there was snow and cold). I’m still frozen.
The CR-V is redesigned for 2023 and shows why it remains one of the best-selling vehicles for Honda. Design-wise it’s a little on the conservative side. But the new looks will hold up and help the CR-V hold its value as this generation will likely age gracefully. The honeycomb-like grille is bold, and that pattern shows up similarly inside, so Honda’s design has decided to go to market with this element. It certainly offers a fresh look for the CR-V, which had grown a little long in the tooth previously.
The profile is still pretty dull, lacking many design elements. The back picks up some of the updated features with interesting-shaped taillights and a rear spoiler. Otherwise, the aesthetics of the CR-V hybrid are nice but aren’t the best part of this SUV.
The overall drive performance along with a comfortable interior are what is most impressive.
As a hybrid, I was worried the CR-V would underperform in sub-zero temperatures, but instead it was confident with no performance issues whatsoever. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine has two electric motor mates to combine for 204 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers seem a little underwhelming on paper, but not once did the CR-V feel poky or sluggish. My tester came with all-wheel drive (AWD) which I’m always a fan of, for reasons stated above (thanks, Mother Nature).
With AWD it’s confident and handles well. It feels light, but not too light and also handled variable snow drift heights too. Sure, there’s a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is really the only flaw of this powertrain. It does seem to have a weird noise and some weird shifting habits, but otherwise, the CR-V was enjoyable. And that’s not something I would’ve expected to say, especially in a snowstorm.
The AWD version has an EPA rating of 40 mpg/city and 34 mpg/highway. You can’t complain about such amazing fuel economy, and I didn’t see much impact from the freezing temperatures either.
Inside, the redesigned CR-V gets noticeable upgrades and improvements from the previous model year; and frankly it was much needed.
Material use is mostly soft with only a few harder materials used sparsely. Overall, the CR-V feels high quality. And most importantly, the upgraded materials provide a quiet cabin, despite the whirr of the CVT. Passenger comfort is outstanding with rear passengers enjoying ample legroom and headroom. For an SUV this size, the CR-V felt big inside. And that’s part of this SUV’s charm. Good enough materials, upgraded, easy-to-use technology and high-quality comfort pretty much summarizes the 2023 CR-V.
There’s 39.3 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second-row seats, which is impressive for a hybrid SUV this size. Fold down the rear seats and the CR-V’s cargo room expands to 76.5 cubic feet.
My tester had a 9-inch touchscreen, and the infotainment system was simple and cleanly organized. It won’t wow you with technology, but it provides seamless smart phone interaction, and each touch command is responsive and the overall learning curve for this system remains low. The intuitive nature of this updated system is a win and puts it toward the top within this competitive segment.
There are only two trim offerings, as Honda seems to keep things simple for the hybrid. The Sport and the Sport Touring. My tester was the Sport Touring, which has a starting price of $38,600. My tester had a few packages and options that pushed the final price tag to just over $42,000.
Oh, the weather outside was frightful but the hybrid CR-V’s performance was delightful. I’m not finishing this with a let-it-snow chorus as I’ve had it with winter already. But the CR-V surely isn’t afraid of whatever Mother Nature has up her sleeve.
Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @driversside
2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid AWD Sport Touring
Price/As tested price................................................ $38,600/$42,300
Mileage.......................................... 40 mpg/city; 34 mpg/hwy
Engine............................................. 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder hybrid
Horsepower................................. 204 hp/247 lbs./ft.
Drive Wheels................ All-wheel drive
Final Assembly Point................ Greensburg, Indiana
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