New 2023 Honda CR-V brings upgraded hybrid and fresh design

3 weeks, 6 days ago - 13 July 2022, Autocar
2023 Honda CR-V
2023 Honda CR-V
Toyota RAV4 rival makes its debut with a Civic-style interior, rugged new exterior and mechanical overhaul

The next-generation Honda CR-V has been revealed in the US, sporting a rugged new look and touting improved performance courtesy of an upgraded hybrid drivetrain.

The redesigned and re-engineered Toyota RAV4 rival will go on sale in Europe next year - as the final entrant into Honda's new-generation, all-hybrid mainstream line-up.

It has made its debut Stateside on the same day that Honda headquarters confirmed it would unwrap the new Civic Type R on 21 July.

It's coming up to six years since the current, fifth-generation CR-V was revealed, although it has been on sale in the UK for only five years.

The SUV was the first model in the Japanese brand's line-up to ditch pure-ICE power, and its successor will follow suit in Europe, despite being launched in the US with an optional pure-petrol engine. 

The hybrid set-up that will be standard here is familiar from the new Honda Civic hatchback, which is now on its way to dealerships, but similar in its conception to that of the outgoing CR-V.

A 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is teamed with a pair of electric motors for a combined 204bhp and 247lb ft - both slight increases – and a top speed of 115mph.

Honda claims the new CR-V is "more refined at highway speeds" and "more fun to drive", adding that the Linear Shift Control function will abate the oft-derided soundtrack of the CVT by altering engine revs to more closely mimic a conventional automatic.

Like the Civic, the new CR-V sits atop Honda's latest global architecture, with an increase in wheelbase boosting ride quality and – together with a slightly widened track – stablility.

The body is said to be 15% stiffer, while the suspension and steering have been tuned for better handling and responsiveness. 

As previewed in earlier images of prototypes testing on European roads, the CR-V has been extensively redesigned for what Honda calls a "stronger, more aggressive presence"

It cites inspiration from the US-market Ridgeline pick-up truck and Passport SUV, highlighting a beltline that emphasises a 69mm increase in length, as well as a 41mm extension to the wheelbase and a subtle 10mm increase to its width.

Trim designations will vary in Europe, but the entry-level EX and EX-L cars in the US get a black grille with chrome surround, colour-coded wing mirrors, a small roof spoiler and standard 18in wheels. Range-topping Sport and Sporting Touring cars get bespoke grille mesh patterns, rectangular exhaust exits and extra black details, as well as the option of 19in wheels.

Inside, meanwhile, the relationship with the new Civic is clear. A 7.0in digital dial display is standard, there's a wide centre console with USB-A and USB-C chargers and a 7.0in or 9.0in free-standing infotainment touchscreen (with smartphone mirroring functionality optional) sits atop a minimalist dashboard decorated by a honeycomb-effect wraparound air vent.

Honda also points out an increase in rear leg room and a boost in boot capacity to just over 1000 litres.

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