When you think of Honda, several of their long running name plates come to mind; Civic, Accord, CR-V. And as Honda continues to push for carbon neutrality by 2050, you may wonder how these models will adapt over time to a full electric conversion. Well, we don’t have the answer to that right now, but we did have the opportunity to take a first drive in the electrified and all-new 2023 Honda CR-V hybrid in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. 

The CR-V first made its way to the U.S in 1997, and is one of America’s best selling crossovers. Now in its sixth generation, the CR-V benefits from more safety features, tech, and overall creature comforts than ever.

Honda raves that this is not only the best CR-V ever, but also the most fun to drive. And that is for several reasons, but mainly it is the powertrain. A 2.0 liter direct injection Atkinson-cycle engine paired with a 2-motor hybrid system, rated at 204 horsepower, which is three more over the previous generation, and 247 pound feet of torque, an impressive 15 pound feet more than before, available in 2-wheel or all-wheel-drive. A regenerative braking setting is also included that even allows one pedal driving. Fuel economy is a good 40 miles per gallon, city, 34 highway and 37 combined with all-wheel-drive.

The CR-V hybrid is available in two trims, Sport and Sport Touring. The interior definitely benefits from its premium trim treatment. Right in front is a new digital gauge cluster. You’ll find a seven inch center screen in the Sport and an available nine inch screen in the Sport Touring. A crisp and clear audio experience is provided by a centerpoint 12-speaker Bose sound system. 

The front seats have been completely revised to optimize posture and stability, and after spending several hours behind the wheel, I felt like I could keep driving for hours on end. Rear seat passengers acquire 0.6 inches of additional legroom, and an eight position recline making for optimal comfort. 

Cargo space sees an increase as well, 36.3 cubic feet with the seat backs up and 76.5 folded. You will also experience a quieter driving experience, more sound deadening has been applied throughout the vehicle not only on the inside of the cabin, but in the powertrain as well.  

“When it comes to hybrids, you really do get the best of both worlds, more horsepower and better fuel efficiency, and the 2023 CR-V hybrid is a great example of doing just that. We were cruising through some Santa Barbara backroads earlier and the extra 15 pound feet of torque really helps in propelling out of the corners.”

Honda has always had safety on the top of their priority list. There are several updated Honda sensing systems and well as all new Traffic Jam Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, and Low-Speed Braking control systems. The vehicle itself sees 15 percent stiffer body supports and rigid front and rear subframes making for a smoother ride and improved steering feel.

Pricing for the 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid starts at just over $35,000 for the Sport, and Sport Touring sees a price tag of just under $40,000, with destination.


And we will have much more on the 2023 Honda CR-V hybrid in a future road test soon, right here, on MotorWeek.