The CR-V is Honda’s best-selling model for a reason—it is an excellent compact SUV with an unquestionable legacy. Since its debut in 1997, the Honda CR-V has attracted immense competition from other compact SUVs like the Volkswagen Tiguan, the Subaru Forester, and the Hyundai Tucson, gradually losing its leading position in the compact SUV segment.
Honda has made a comeback with the 2023 CR-V, which is available in four trim levels: the EX and the EX-L, gas-only models, Sport Hybrid and the Sport Touring Hybrid, hybrid-only powertrains.
Honda offers the 2023 CR-V as a 5-seater with an enticing starting MSRP of $34,790. The CR-V provides roominess, a great driving experience, ease of use, and fuel efficiency, but the 2023 CR-V doesn’t tick all the boxes. Without much ado, let’s delve into the four reasons you might want to avoid the 2023 Honda CR-V.
1. The 2023 Honda CR-V has an unimpressive gas engine
The 2023 CR-V is more powerful than the 2022 CR-V. However, the EX and EX-L models come standard with a disappointing gasoline-powered engine. The turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine makes only 190 hp and 179 lb-ft.
According to Car and Driver, the engine pairs with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and either an all-wheel drive or a front-wheel drive system. But still, the gas-only engine is inferior to the hybrid powertrain that couples a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors, making 204 hp and 247 lb-ft.
The 2023 CR-V brakes and corners effectively but lacks sharp-edged handling. According to Cars.com, the 190-hp, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine “feels sluggish, especially from a standstill.” Worse yet, the 2023 gas-only engine sounds noisy and strained when accelerating to achieve highway speeds.
The 2023 Honda CR-V gets compromised visibility
All the 2023 CR-V trims come standard with pleasant driver assistance systems (ADAS), including traffic-jam assist, traffic sign recognition, blind-spot warning, and a driver monitoring system. The CR-V’s ADAS suite also incorporates Honda Sensing, which has a lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic warning, and forward-collision warning.
Honda also updated the adaptive cruise control system with lane-keeping assistance and low-speed follow. Cars.com reports that the 2023 CR-V’s front visibility is improved over the old CR-V, but the rear middle seat’s ceiling-mounted belt compromises the compact SUV’s rear visibility. Further, the new CR-V’s thick pillars, small rear windows, and rear-seat head restraints worsen its rear visibility.
The 2023 Honda CR-V has mushy brakes
While the 2023 CR-V Hybrid offers an improved driving experience, its brakes are only so much impressive. Cars.com asserts that “the pedal feels mushy and lacks a linear feel.”
Honda offers the 2023 CR-V Hybrid owners an alternative to the brake pedal, a “B” button on the shift lever that enhances regenerative braking. Although regenerative braking effectively slows down the CR-V on hills, it cannot stop it completely. Conversely, the gas-only 2023 CR-V trims boast more solid brakes.
2. The 2023 Honda CR-V lineup lacks a plug-in hybrid version
Honda is transitioning to an electric future and has equipped the 2023 CR-V Hybrid with regenerative braking. Sadly, the automaker does not offer a PHEV version of the SUV. Thus, the 2023 CR-V owners will miss out on the improved driving experience of plug-in hybrid SUVs like the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV and the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe.
The 2023 Honda CR-V lineup boasts a happier hybrid, improved handling, an updated interior, a straightforward shifter, enhanced safety features, and a bigger cargo volume. However, its disappointing gas engine, compromised visibility, mushy brakes, and lack of a plug-in hybrid model in its lineup make it a poor choice for a compact SUV.