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Kelley Blue Book recently announced the winners of its Best Buy Awards, and the winners are the car critics’ picks for the best vehicles in their segments. There were a few surprises, but when it comes to the compact SUV segment, there were no surprises there as the 2023 Honda CR-V won it all. Here’s a look at why the 2023 Honda CR-V beat the 2023 Toyota RAV4 in Kelley Blue Book’s Best Buy Awards.  

A silver 2023 Honda CR-V in the desert
2023 Honda CR-V | American Honda Motor Co., Inc

A recap of Kelley Blue Book’s Best Buy Awards of 2023

Like Kelley Blue Book wrote, the Best Buy Awards exist to highlight the best cars of the model year. As such, there aren’t many surprises in some segments, as many models have dominated their segments for a while.

An example of this is the Kia Telluride, which won in the three-row midsize SUV segment. This isn’t a surprise since the Telluride is an extremely popular SUV that has won many awards in different model years.

That said, the car critic also has a category called the Best New Model, and for the 2023 model year, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 was the winner in that category. Interestingly enough, the Ioniq 5 also won an award in the Electric Vehicle category.

Overall though, the main purpose of these awards is to help car shoppers make a choice when there are many good options in a segment. 

Why the 2023 Honda CR-V won in its segment 

The compact SUV segment has a lot of good options, including the Toyota RAV4, but the Honda CR-V won it all. Not only did the CR-V win it all, but it also did so after Honda gave the SUV a major redesign. The main reason why the CR-V was able to beat its rivals is simple, and it’s because the CR-V continues to excel in every category. 

Many other great SUVs are similar in that they are well-balanced and are strong all-around. The popular Honda SUV still beat them because the CR-V is better in the areas that count. A key example of that is cargo capacity, which is something many drivers, especially drivers with families, are looking for.

Without folding any seats down, the CR-V has 39.3 cu. ft. of space, and with the rear seats folded down, it gets 76.5 cu. ft. of space. That is a lot of space for a compact SUV, and in fact, it makes the CR-V the best in its class for cargo capacity.

For comparison, the RAV4 has 37.5 cu. ft. of space without folding its seats down, and 69.8 cu. ft. with the rear seats folded down.

An overview of the 2023 Honda CR-V


Every 2023 Honda CR-V Trim Comes With 1 Feature Once Reserved for Luxury Cars

Obviously, the CR-V does well in more than just cargo capacity, and it’s why it won a Best Buy Award. The Honda SUV is also spacious for passengers, and there’s plenty of legroom for taller people.

In terms of its cabin, the CR-V’s redesign didn’t change too much, but it’s still an upscale interior that comes with some good features. For example, the front seats are heated as standard, and the standard rear seats can also recline.

Honda gave the SUV a 7-inch touchscreen display as standard, and it also gets a 7-inch digital gauge cluster display. Just like with the older model years, Honda also equipped the car with a long list of smart safety features.

The CR-V’s engine is probably its weakest spot, as it only gets 190 hp and it isn’t very notable. However, the engine does get a good fuel economy of 31 mpg. The CR-V currently starts at about $31,000.