The Honda Civic held the title as best-selling vehicle in Canada for more than a decade. During that period the Honda CR-V sibling, introduced in 1997, was making serious progress on the crossover sales chart.
The only vehicle to outsell the CR-V in the incredibly competitive compact crossover class has been the arch-rival Toyota RAV4.
Honda CR-V named to the Car and Driver 10Best Trucks and SUVs list for the fifth year in a row!
Satisfied Honda owners impressed with mundane but intelligent features
The CR-V gained its immense popularity partially because when those Civic owners made the transition to a crossover, they stayed in the Honda family. They were satisfied Honda owners, impressed with mundane things like value, resale, reliability, and quality.
What they and newcomers to the Honda brand also got was class-leading passenger and cargo space, Civic-like driving dynamics and intelligent packaging.
The sixth generation CR-V builds on all those traits, in a slightly larger, restyled package.
Honda Canada engineers led development of the new CR-V. Built here in Canada, at the Alliston, Ontario plant, the sixth-generation CR-V is 69-mm longer, 10-mm wider and 10 per cent heavier than the outgoing model. It is 15 per cent more rigid and there is an extra 41-mm between the front and rear wheels.
That longer wheelbase translates directly to more space for people and cargo, already a Honda CR-V attribute.
Rear seat occupants are treated to an extra 15-mm of legroom, and those seats can be reclined up to 15 degrees.
The rear doors open nice and wide for easier ingress and egress. The class-leading cargo area of the outgoing CR-V is increased by 20 litres. Those up front are treated to Honda’s Body Stabilizing seats designed to reduce fatigue after long trips.
Those front occupants, if they are familiar with the latest Civic will see the similarity, right down to the slick vents hidden behind honeycomb-textured trim spanning the full width of the vehicle.
Upper trim levels feature a 23-cm infotainment screen, others come with an 18-cm display. These screens are now slightly angled toward the driver and have actual knobs for volume and tuning – bonus! Regretfully, the upper-level system has only one knob, for volume.
The driver faces an analog speedometer alongside a configurable 17-cm display.
Under the hood of the 2023 Honda CR-V
The 2023 CR-V is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 190-horsepower and 179 lb.ft. of torque. Shared with the Civic Si, this powerplant is tasked with the extra weight of the larger crossover.
Thanks to the turbocharger and resultant low-end torque, from rest, the little engine feels like a much larger one. But once up to speed and asked to tackle a steep grade or passing situation it feels only adequate.
The continuously variable automatic transmission is not at its best in these situations, although simulated gear shifts do a good deal of masking the fact it is a CVT.
Front wheel drive is standard on the least-expensive base trim. All others get an excellent all-wheel-drive system.
New this year for the CR-V is the addition of a ‘snow’ mode – obviously a result of input from the Honda Canada engineering team!
The system continues to offer Normal and performance-sapping Eco modes. It has also been tweaked to send more power to the rear wheels, up to 50% vs 40% in the outgoing model.
The 2023 Honda CR-V has a new look, more people and package space and updated technology. Everything is there to allow it to maintain its popularity in this crowded segment.
FACTS & FIGURES – 2023 Honda CR-V Sport
As tested: $45,977 including freight
LED headlights with automatic high beams, collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, road departure mitigation system, blind spot information system, rear cross traffic monitor, lane keep system, traffic jam assist, front and rear park sensors
18-cm infotainment screen, one USB-A and one USB-C outlet
18-in aluminum alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, front wiper de-icer; folding, heated power mirrors with integrated turn signals, power moonroof, power tailgate, rear camera washer, two-level cargo floor, dual zone automatic climate control, wireless mobile phone interface, power windows and locks, proximity key entry with remote start, tilt & telescope steering wheel, eight-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats
Protection package, $456.30
Turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder, 190-horsepower, 179 lb.-ft. of torque, regular fuel, continuously variable automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 9.1/7.6
Length, 4,695 mm; wheelbase, 2,701 mm, width, 2,150-mm; weight, 1,635 kg