2023 Honda CR-V
(Photo/Honda)

Bigger, Better, Safer: 2023 Honda CR-V

For 2023, Honda makes the CR-V bigger and tougher-looking while upgrading the compact crossover’s interior and capability.

Honda’s CR-V compact crossover enters its sixth generation for 2023. The CR-V gets larger, growing its already impressive cargo capacity. It also adds upgraded driver-assistance technology and safety systems. Honda has made the CR-V more rugged-looking than the current generation, making the model a bit of a return to its roots for the new year.

Year of the SUV: New Honda CR-V

2023 Honda CR-V
(Photo/Honda)

The 2023 CR-V marks a sort of midpoint in a massive year of new products for Honda and a period of around 18 months where it will have introduced all-new versions of its most popular vehicles. Honda calls 2023 the year of the SUV, with the HR-V introduced earlier this year, the CR-V now, and the Pilot expected by year’s end. A new Civic launched last fall, and a new Accord sedan is also expected this year.

By making the HR-V slightly larger, Honda has opened up room for the CR-V to grow as well. Fortunately, the dimensional changes are small, though, preserving the urban usability of the model.

Overall length grows 2.6 inches to 184.8, and the wheelbase grows 1.6 inches to 106.3. That frees up more rear-seat legroom while adding 0.4 inches to the width, which should add a hint of extra elbow room. The larger dimensions are part of a new platform. Honda’s “enhanced global architecture” is also 15% stiffer to help ride and handling.

Along with the new platform, Honda has stiffened the front and rear subframes. The CR-V has variable-ratio steering and a multi-link rear suspension, and Honda says the new model will be more fun to drive and have improved ride quality.

2023 Honda CR-V
(Photo/Honda)

Cargo Bay Grows Larger

The cargo bay benefits from the larger footprint. The CR-V offers 36.3 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up. It’s 1.2 cubes more for 1.5T models and 3.1 more for hybrids. The EX and EX-L models let you drop the cargo floor to boost the available space to 39.3 cubic feet.

Fold the 60-40-split rear bench, and the CR-V offers 76.5 cubic feet of cargo space. With the CR-V already near the top of its class for cargo carrying, this boost makes it even more capable of hauling massive quantities of gear.

In-Cabin Upgrades

2023 Honda CR-V
(Photo/Honda)

Honda has copied the Civic to create the new interior. The automaker calls it sporty, more modern, and more spacious. Highlights include the honeycomb-mesh grille that hides the air conditioning vents. Honda has also designed the dash top to have fewer cut lines in an effort to reduce reflections in the windshield.

The steering column is tweaked for what Honda calls a “more sedan-like” driver experience. The CR-V will also have Body Stabilizing Seats meant to reduce fatigue on long drives.

In-cabin tech includes a standard digital dash display. A 7-inch touchscreen infotainment panel is also standard and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Step up to Sport and Sport Touring, and there’s a 9-inch screen with wireless phone pairing and wireless charging.

A storage space between the front seats is designed to hold a pair of smartphones. The space has a pair of USB ports, one USB-A port, and one USB-C port. The top trims have an additional pair of USB-C ports for the back seat.

2023 Honda CR-V
(Photo/Honda)

New Honda Sensing Suite

Honda Sensing driver assistance is standard, including adaptive cruise control, low-speed follow, and lane-keeping assist. The system gets upgrades Honda says let it feel more “natural” when you’re driving. New radar sensors and a wide-angle camera help better detect pedestrians and obstacles while blindspot warnings and traffic-jam assist are now standard.

More on the safety front, the 2023 CR-V now comes with Honda’s latest catcher’s mitt airbags. For the driver and front passenger, they’re designed to cradle and hold your head, reducing head rotation in a crash and helping prevent injury. Front knee airbags are also standard for the first time on the CR-V.

Hybrid and 1.5 Turbo Return

2023 Honda CR-V
(Photo/Honda)

Honda gives you two powertrain options for the 2023 CR-V. The first, found on EX and EX-L models, is a 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder. Enhanced for less noise and a wider band of torque, this engine makes 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission, a CVT, has also been updated for less noise and vibration.

The second driveline, standard on Sport and Sport Touring, is a 2.0L four-cylinder hybrid. Honda calls it a new generation of its hybrid system that fits a larger propulsion motor for more power and torque. The combined output from the hybrid system is 204 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque.

Honda says the hybrid can tow this time around. It can handle trailers up to 1,000 pounds, letting you bring along small trailers for outdoor accessories like a dirtbike or personal watercraft.

Updates to the all-wheel-drive system improve traction management and let the system send up to 50% of torque to the rear wheels. The CR-V now comes with Hill Descent Control to let you crawl down steep, slippery slopes.

Honda expects 1.5T versions of the 2023 CR-V to hit dealers this summer. If you want a hybrid, you’ll need to wait until later in the year. Expect pricing from Honda a few days before the first units show up at dealers.

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Evan Williams
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Evan has been drooling over cars since the time he learned to walk. Since then he's worked on controlling the drooling and expanded his interests to include hiking, cycling, and kayaking. He went to school for engineering but transitioned into a more satisfying career and has been writing automotive and outdoors news for nearly a decade