The 2023 Honda CR-V Still Suffers From the Same Boring Problem
The 2023 Honda CR-V arrives with incremental improvements over the previous version. It has a slightly larger interior with more passenger space. It includes more standard features, such as an infotainment system with a 9.0-inch touchscreen and a suite of driver assists like adaptive cruise, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist. And it’s better-looking, with bolder styling inside and out. The only problem is the 2023 Honda CR-V still suffers from the same (yawn) boring problem.
Oh, sure, it’s comfortable, capable, and easy to drive. Indeed, it’s the ideal vehicle for most people’s needs. But it’s like fat-free, sugar-free, taste-free frozen yogurt. It looks good and is better for you than other options on the dessert menu. But it lacks pizazz.
The 2023 Honda CR-V is a Car and Driver Editors’ Choice
The 2023 Honda CR-V landed on Car and Driver Editors’ Choice list again this year. It’s the straight-A student who makes the honor roll four years in a row. This year, C/D recognizes it for its fresh exterior styling and roomier interior. Honda also tweaked the standard turbo-four engine and continuously variable transmission, making slight gains in efficiency and responsiveness. But the model C/D recommends is the Sport Hybrid or Sport Touring Hybrid, boasting 43 mpg in the city.
Pick a non-hybrid model, and you’ll get the standard 190-hp 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder. It provides sufficient motivation to reach 60 mph in under eight seconds. Most models ride on 18-inch wheels, but 19-inch wheels are an option. Configured either way, the CR-V provides a smooth, comfortable ride and decent handling. But it lacks the Volkswagen Tiguan’s feel or the Mazda CX-5’s fun-to-drive spirit.
The 2023 Honda CR-V is a bit boring
It’s not that there isn’t anything wrong with the 2023 Honda CR-V. It’s the perfect four-wheeled conveyance to make your life easier and less stressful. The worst thing Car and Driver could say about the CR-V is it’s “not as exciting as some rivals.”
You could chalk that lack of excitement up to the modest acceleration. It’s not as quick as some rivals. But C/D sums up its assessment of Honda’s compact SUV thus: “The redesigned CR-V is made to maintain its place on the bestseller list, with a smooth ride, practical cabin, and fuel-efficient powertrains.”
And that’s where the problem lies. It’s redesigned to “maintain its place on the bestseller list.” That means Honda went to great lengths to develop a CR-V that would please the most people and be the least offensive vehicle in its class. Therefore, the CR-V is homogenized and a bit dull.
These CR-V alternatives boast better style and a fun driving experience
Four other SUVs in the CR-V’s class also made Car and Driver’s 2023 Editors’ Choice list. Starting with the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, C/D praises both SUVs’ styling and near-luxury cabins on the top trims. Reviewers found the powertrains responsive and worth the extra money. Plus, both vehicles provide a good dose of style and the right mix of attributes to compete with any model in the small SUV category.
Moving on to the Mazda CX-5, Car and Driver reviewers like the “artful” exterior design, refined handling, and rich interior. Though cargo room and rear seat space weren’t quite as generous as the Honda CR-V, the CX-5 is one of the most fun-to-drive vehicles in this segment.
Finally, the Volkswagen Tiguan made C/D’s list for its roomy cabin, European styling, and crisp handling. The editors thought Tiguan could use more power, but its handling “is a breath of fresh air.”
2023 Honda CR-V: The verdict
The small SUV segment is one of the most crowded and competitive. So it offers plenty of excellent vehicles to choose from. The top models include the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Volkswagen Tiguan, and Toyota RAV4. All are excellent choices and offer years of reliable service.
As for the CR-V, it has long been the gold standard and the target for every other automaker. And though it might not be as exciting to drive as the Tiguan and CX-5 or as futuristic-looking and feature-laden as the Tucson and Sportage, it still offers all-around goodness.