Car Reviews

Honda CRV 2023

Car Review: Honda CRV 2023

The all-new sixth-generation Honda CRV 2023 arrives in Australia, flaunting sleek new styling, premium features, and the option of a fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain. Available in 7 grades across petrol and hybrid variants, it brings appealing family-friendly versatility. 

But does the new CR-V have what it takes to reclaim midsize SUV sales leadership? In this review, we will explore what’s new and whether it’s worth shortlisting.

Car Review Honda CRV 2023
Car Review Honda CRV 2023

Pricing and Features

The CR-V lineup kicks off with the VTi X from a $44,500 drive-away. Being the most affordable grade, it still comes decently equipped with:

  • 18” alloys
  • LED headlights
  • Proximity key entry
  • Electric tailgate
  • Multi-angle reversing camera
  • 7” digital instrument display
  • 8-way power driver’s seat
  • Dual-zone climate control

It’s only available with 5 seats and a petrol engine.

Stepping up, the VTi X7 from $46,800 adds:

  • 7 seats (via 40/20/40 split fold 2nd row and 50/50 split fold 3rd row)
  • Panoramic glass roof

The VTi L from $48,800 builds further with:

  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Hands-free powered tailgate
  • Ambient cabin lighting

Available in 5-seat petrol FWD and AWD variants.

Then there’s the VTi L7 7-seater from $53,000 with the above features.

Topping the petrol range is the AWD-only VTi LX priced from $57,000, gaining extra kit like:

  • 19” alloys
  • Heated front seats
  • Adaptive LED headlights with auto high-beam
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Satellite navigation

Sitting at the premium end is the e: HEV RS hybrid flagship from $59,900, brimming with features:

  • Bose premium audio
  • Leather appointed seats
  • Adaptive dampers
  • Head-up display
  • Surround view camera
  • Remote engine start
  • Hands-free power tailgate

There’s decent tech on board, but higher grades do without mod cons like digital radio or electric front seats. Still, standard safety coverage is exemplary, thanks to Honda’s suite of active safety systems. All CR-Vs are covered by a 5-year unlimited km warranty for peace of mind too.

A New Blue Honda CR-V Hybrid Compact SUV Car
A New Blue Honda CR-V Hybrid Compact SUV Car

Powertrain and Fuel Economy

Petrol models run Honda’s 1.5L VTEC turbo petrol 4-cylinder producing 142kW & 243Nm, mated to a CVT auto sending drive to either the front or all wheels depending on variant. Claimed fuel use ranges from 7.4L/100km (2WD VTi L) to 7.8L/100km (AWD VTi LX).

The e: HEV RS flagship introduces an all-new hybrid system consisting of a 2.0L Atkinson cycle petrol engine supplemented by two electric motors. Combined output is an impressive 135kW and 335Nm – easily outpunching petrol variants. Claimed fuel economy is a miserly 5.5L/100km.

The hybrid’s increased torque gives effortless acceleration while retaining Honda’s familiar refinement. Selectable Econ mode further optimizes efficiency, though the best results will depend largely on driving style.

While lower grades offer AWD traction paired with petrol power, the hybrid flagship is front-wheel drive only. That said, its ample torque should prove adequate for most conditions, barring serious off-roading. The braked towing capacity is still a respectable 750kg.

Driving Dynamics

The new CR-V delivers car-like dynamics based on its SUV body style. Responsive steering provides satisfying front-end bite while reasonably quick turn-in gives reassuring agility through corners. Nicely weighted steering also makes parking lot maneuvers a cinch.

Ride quality is very settled, thanks largely to the absorption of the CR-V’s sophisticated McPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension. 

Lesser bumps and ruts barely register, with only nasty hits and potholes causing mild head-toss. Road noise intrusion is generally low, allowing tranquil highway cruising.

Performance across the range is spirited. The 1.5L turbo petrol packs a solid punch, while the e: HEV’s extra torque gives effortlessly swift acceleration – the CVT auto-keeping revs in the efficiency zone. Brakes provide strong, consistent stopping power from open road speeds.

In terms of handling prowess, the CR-V is right among class leaders. Crisp turn-in, predictable balance, and impressive grip inspire confidence to press on where permitted.

Off-Road Credibility

Don’t expect the CR-V to tackle challenging terrain away from the bitumen, but AWD variants have enough versatility to cope with gravel roads, boat ramps, and snowfields.

212mm of ground clearance provides reasonable clearance, though no match for a proper SUV. There’s also no low-range transfer case for tricky traction scenarios.

Honda’s clever ‘Real Time AWD’ system directs torque variably front-to-rear axle as conditions dictate. Hill descent control uses brake modulation to safely negotiate steep slippery slopes.

So, while no match for rough terrain, AWD models will get most families through muddy fields and snowbound cabins just fine. Just don’t follow your mate’s modified Wrangler down rocky tracks!

Interior Comfort

Many buyers will be lured by the CR-V’s family-friendly interior unveiled upon entry. Narrow pillars afford excellent all-round vision supplemented by cameras and sensors galore.

There’s an airy sense of space front and back thanks to generous dimensions all around, along with thin, supportive front seats allowing ample rear toe-room. The wide cabin with a flat floor also creates a relaxing environment for longer journeys.

Luggage capacity ranges from 526L seats up to 1105L with rear seats folded in 7-seat variants – ample for prams, bikes, and gear. The side-hung tailgate is out of harm’s way in tight carparks too.

Elbows and knees are also well-catered. Three adults fit comfortably across the back seat, or kids can bicker over window seats and center console cupholders. Isofix mounts and top-tether anchors provide secure child seat mounting.

The cabin ambiance is pleasantly upscale, with soft-touch plastics covering the dash and doors complemented by black and satin silver piano highlights. 

The leather-wrapped steering wheel (standard on higher grades) also feels premium. It’s a modern aesthetic befitting the entry premium price point.

Infotainment and Connectivity

An impressive touchscreen interface headlines the CR-V’s gadget count, which is designed to handle navigation, audio, and phone mirroring duties.

Lower grades get a very usable 7-inch display with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto while range-topping variants level up to an expansive 9-inch touchscreen, bringing crisper graphics and added functionality.

Integrated sat-nav across the range boasts accurate mapping and fast response, helped by onboard AI and over-the-air update capability. Voice control functionality also works well to input addresses on the move.

The 12-speaker Bose stereo exclusive to the Hybrid RS delivers concert-like audio quality, though the standard 8-speaker setup found in petrol variants still impresses with depth and clarity at various volumes.

There are also up to 5 USB ports peppered throughout to keep multiple devices powered up. Phone charging pads and in-car WiFi would’ve been nice additions, albeit absent here.

A White Honda CRV Car

Safety Technology

The CR-V packs some of the latest driver assistance tech, ensuring family safety. As standard across the range, it includes:

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Road Departure Mitigation
  • Traffic Sign Recognition
  • Blind Spot Information System

Higher grade variants also introduce:

  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Junction Assist System

With 11 airbags plus multi-angle cameras and parking sensors all round, the CR-V has robust collision coverage from all angles. ANCAP is yet to assess the new model, but there’s little doubt 5 stars await, given the sheer amount of safety kit found inside.

In terms of active safety assistance, few rivals can match the CR-V’s cutting-edge gear list – an important consideration for family buyers.


The 2023 Honda CR-V hits the midsize SUV nail squarely on the head. Combining ritzy styling, plush accommodations, willing drivetrains, and generous safety coverage, it’s a compelling entrant ready to recapture sales ascendancy.

There’s strong price justification, too, with decent value-for-money across the range complemented by enticing 5-year warranty and servicing deals.

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