Categories: News

Review: Honda CR-V (2023) has a lot going for it -

In the Netherlands, the Honda CR-V is a fairly rare appearance. The medium-sized SUV is a great success worldwide. Will the sixth generation of Honda's bestseller also gain a foothold in the Low Countries? Mmm, he's a bit over-confident.

What is striking about the Honda CR-V?

While the design of the Honda Civic went in all directions for a long time, the Honda CR-V has remained quite recognizable since its third generation. To put it briefly: it is an SUV in the C-segment and therefore a competitor of, among others, the (recently renewed) Volkswagen Tiguan and the Toyota RAV4. Compared to its predecessor, it has grown in length by 10 centimeters and has also become slightly wider. The height was reduced by just 5 millimeters, but at over 1.68 meters it remains a big boy.

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Honda has clearly addressed the rear of the CR-V, although no Brazilian butt lift has been achieved. The CR-V buttocks are slightly straighter and tighter than before. You can also clearly see from the side that the glass surface is larger. At the front, the modified headlights are striking, which - in keeping with the latest fashion - are rather pinched. Together with the strikingly coarsely gridded grille, they ensure that the new CR-V looks a lot meaner than its predecessor.

The biggest news about the new CR-V is that it is available as a plug-in hybrid for the first time. The drivetrain produces 215 hp and the large battery (17.7 kWh) makes an electric range of 81 kilometers possible, according to Honda. Because the PHEV battery is located under the rear seat, the plug-in hybrid has slightly more trunk space (635 vs. 596 l) than the regular Hybrid. In the latter, the battery does take up some luggage space. The WLTP consumption is 0.8 l/100 km, which equates to 1 in 125...

What is good about the Honda CR-V (2023)?

One of the nicest features of the Honda CR-V is that you immediately feel at home in it. The space is spacious, it is easy to find a nice seating position and all controls are where you expect them to be. The dashboard has a nice design, with car-wide ventilation grilles and subtle metal-colored accents.

The glass surface is large, which makes all-round visibility much better than in many other modern cars. And if you nevertheless overlook something, the standard Honda Sensing 360 assistance system prevents you from cutting, hitting or pushing into the guardrail of fellow road users.

The climate control, seat heating and ventilation have large, clear buttons below the infotainment screen. That screen is quite large and so we can keep the reading glasses in our pocket. The materials at touch height look neat and feel pleasant. This also applies to the trim of the rear doors; we sometimes see it differently.

The Honda CR-V drives very pleasantly, especially for a large SUV. The steering is communicative and quite direct, while the chassis is surprisingly comfortable. Even cobblestones and manhole covers are covered with the mantle of adaptive dampers, but the chassis never becomes swampy. The PHEV has an even more advanced damping system, which adapts not only to the shock frequency, but also to speed, steering angle and the car's lean. On a winding route, the bodywork feels pleasantly stiff and we did not get the relatively high tires to scream. We must note that we drove the four-wheel drive version of the (regular) hybrid.

In normal driving mode the drivetrain seems to lack a bit of torque, but in sport mode there appears to be more than enough power (15 hp and 315 Nm). When accelerating quickly, Honda has built in a few false shifting moments, which is a lot more pleasant for the driving experience than a screaming CVT-like gearbox.

What could be improved about the Honda CR-V?

The WLTP consumption of the Honda CR-V Hybrid is 5.8 l/100 km (1 in 17.4), but in Northern Portugal we did not get further than 6.7 l/100 km (1 in 14.9). ). That is a bit disappointing, although in the flat Netherlands it could probably be a bit neater.

With the Plug-in Hybrid we achieved a consumption of 3.0 l/100 km. That is completely in line with what we have come to expect from plug-in hybrids, but those who drive shorter distances and plug in faithfully will undoubtedly achieve better figures. Charging an empty PHEV battery takes 2.5 hours. A new Volkswagen Tiguan can do this a lot faster thanks to its fast charging option of up to 50 kW.

The performance is okay, but a hundred sprint in 9.0 to 9.5 seconds is not really impressive.

With the transmission in B mode, regeneration at low speeds is accompanied by an unpleasant whirring noise; as if someone is blow-drying their hair in the engine compartment. The interior of our test cars was also not completely free of noise. When we drove over a bad road surface, we heard some difficult to trace rattles. That somewhat detracts from the otherwise excellent quality feeling.

When will the Honda CR-V (2023) come to the Netherlands and what is the price?

Well, now comes the sore point that all Hondas of recent years suffer from: the new Honda CR-V is not the bargain of the week. The CR-V HEV – the 'normal' hybrid, costs 55,185 euros in the Elegance version. The plug-in hybrid CR-V PHEV goes well beyond that with an entry price of 63,150 euros. In both cases you get a well-equipped, well-driving and spacious SUV for your money, but compared to the Toyota RAV4 2.5 Hybrid (from 47,995 euros) and the standard four-wheel drive, 306 hp (!) strong RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid (from 57,695 euro) it is in fact pricing itself out of the market.

Yet we can imagine that the true Honda fan would not even consider entering the Toyota showroom. Fortunately for him, the new CR-V is already at the Honda dealer where he has been a regular for many years.

What do I think of the Honda CR-V?

Refreshing: the CR-V has leather seat upholstery as standard on the Dutch market. No sweaty vegan stuff, but old-fashioned cowhide. Don't let the Party for the Animals hear it. All kidding aside: the new model has made significant progress compared to the previous CR-V.

And when you drive such a nice Honda again, you regret even more that the brand has been achieving such poor sales results in the Netherlands for years. In my opinion, Honda is simply aiming too high in terms of pricing. And speaking of 'high': I'm now also starting to wonder how well a lighter, lower and probably more economical Accord Tourer with this powertrain would drive...

This post was last modified on September 21, 2023 5:10 am


Dreamer is what I am, but unlike many, I struggle to make my dreams come true. I own, seo, admin and site editor. I am a father, married, Christian, Northeastern/Brazil and Libran. I love cars <3

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