Honda CR-V Hybrid 2023 review | Road tests
• Auto123 tests the 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid.
• The admission price is $48,890, which is not trivial.
• The CR-V Hybrid is the only one to benefit from the Touring badge.
• The hybrid model is the only one equipped with 19-inch rims.
Beyond the environmental concerns that some motorists have when they turn to electrified vehicles, there is also an element that must never be forgotten in the equation: the asking price.
And on this account, the new 2023 Honda CR-V Touring Hybrid is not what one might call the bargain of the century. At a base price of $48,890 before applicable fees and taxes, the new electrified version of the most popular SUV in the lineup commands a fare closer to luxury vehicles than its direct competitors.
At least that’s what stands out when you take the time to compare the prices of the most affordable versions of all the compact-size hybrid SUVs on the market. While the new 2023 CR-V Touring Hybrid is the most expensive, Toyota’s RAV4 is the cheapest hybrid SUV on the market. Indeed, the LE AWD livery of the RAV4 is displayed at an MSRP of $34,850.
In fact, the most expensive CR-V should rather be compared with models as well equipped as this Touring livery, a name associated with the best equipped models on the Honda side.
However, I maintain my position on the entry price of this new Honda product: the price is too expensive for us to see an explosion in sales of this new variant.
See the vehicles for sale available near you
“Business as usual” outside… and inside
The first observation when you take a look at the CR-V Hybrid is that it is identical to the lower trim levels, with the exception of course of this blue “HYBRID” badge on the lower part of the tailgate and of this other “TOURING” badge reserved for this electrified variant… and more powerful!
The rims of the CR-V Touring Hybrid are painted black and their diameter is 19 inches, the largest offered in the CR-V range. Even the model dubbed Sport has to make do with 18-inch shoes. Finally, the only other accolade this CR-V Touring Hybrid receives is that pair of silver “trapezoids” at the base of the front fascia. In other words, the newcomer does not do too much to expose his “green” side.
Moreover, it is the same observation when taking place in the cockpit. The hybrid technology does not change the layout of the controls or any other interior detail. In fact, the only clue that tells the tale about the electrified powertrain is the presence of the letter “B” to the left of the gear lever, which identifies the most aggressive mode of energy recovery when braking. Ah yes, let’s not forget the exclusive information gauge behind the steering wheel where you can see the flow of energy.
The difference is under the hood
However, there is a noticeable difference to this CR-V Hybrid and it is under the hood. Like all other hybrid SUVs on the market, the “regular” heat block, which in this case is a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, is replaced by a gasoline engine-based powertrain. Atkinson cycle.
The CR-V Hybrid relies on a block with a displacement of 2.0 liters, the latter which is paired with a pair of electric motors, Honda which introduces its fourth generation hybrid system on board this CR-V with assistance electric. We’re talking about 204 horsepower and an optimal torque of 247 lb-ft.
Honda, on the other hand, has not abandoned the mechanical connection between the two axles. The engineers therefore preferred the transmission shaft rather than bolting one or two electric motors to the rear axle to ensure all-wheel drive.
Did Toyota’s recent corrosion troubles with its electrified RAV4 convince Honda’s strategists to go with an older formula? It’s too early to tell, but let’s bet there’s more than this simple explanation behind this decision, including the fact that Honda will go straight to electric propulsion within a few years.
I have already given my opinion on the elitist price of this CR-V Hybrid, but what about its road behavior? Let’s just say it’s more enticing than the MSRP. If it is clear that Honda has not bet everything on the pure performance of its most recent utility. Indeed, the accelerations do not seem as swift as those of a RAV4 Hybrid for example, but hey, I will not surprise anyone by saying that the vocation of these electrified utilities is quite different.
The light steering column will appeal to drivers who spend a lot of time in town, even if this lightness somewhat undermines the vehicle’s directional stability on the highway. In fact, the CR-V Hybrid is an SUV that defends itself very well on any type of surface.
The suspension tuned for comfort is firm enough to give the vehicle a healthy, but not sporty handling. As for this somewhat tight power from the powertrain, you have to select the Sport driving mode to really feel the 204 horsepower. In fact, it’s in town that the CR-V does much better with its electric motors that give that little push during standing starts.
Of course, the CVT box revs the heat engine when you press harder on the accelerator, but it’s not too unpleasant, Honda’s unit that works well.
And at the pump?
It’s at the pump that a hybrid SUV must perform and in this regard, the CR-V comes dead last in the category. Official Honda figures claim an average of 6.0 litres/100 km in the city and 6.9 litres/100 km on the highway, with an average of 6.4 litres/100 km, but to get there you have to constantly ride in Econ mode and be very gentle with the right pedal.
In fact, it is more accurate to speak of an average consumption oscillating around 8.5 liters / 100 km – a noble result, but not quite in line with the manufacturer’s predictions. Besides, rivals of the electrified CR-V are capable of better under similar conditions.
However, I must mention that a larger portion of my test was carried out on the highway at speeds not exceeding 120 km/h and that the outside temperature was winter (-5°C on average) , but not freezing. A little more city and the result would certainly have been lower.
The final word
The Honda CR-V Hybrid certainly won’t go down in history as much as the regular versions of the model. Its deployment may be limited with such a high price. At the risk of repeating myself, I would like Honda’s strategists to change their minds and bring us a less equipped version with a more reasonable price. The CR-V Hybrid is a good SUV that consumes like a compact car, but you have to have deep pockets to get behind the wheel.
A vehicle that is easy to manage on a daily basis
A Sport mode that “wakes up” the mechanics
We love less
The price !!!
Higher fuel consumption (than the competition)
The absence of cranks in the trunk to lower the rear seat
The main competition
Ford Escape hybrid
Hyundai Tucson Hybrid
Kia Sportage HEV
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
Some of your questions regarding the 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid:
Is the new CR-V Hybrid assembled in Canada like the other versions of the model?
Yes, at the Honda plant in Alliston, Ontario.
What are the horsepower and torque figures for the 2023 CR-V Hybrid?
The powertrain is good for 204 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque.
Is there a purely electric mode on board the CR-V Hybrid?
No, even if the vehicle often drives without the contribution of the internal combustion engine. But, there is no dedicated button for this mode.
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