Monday, March 20, 2023
Reviews 2023 Honda CR-V Review: Why so Expensive?

2023 Honda CR-V Review: Why so Expensive?

Can the all-new 2023 Honda CR-V continue as a best seller giving its pricing and competition?

2023 Honda CR-V Pros

– The new CR-V is certainly attractive.

– It remains spacious and well-assembled.

– Its refinement is evident on the road.

2023 Honda CR-V Cons

– Nearly $38,000 for the least expensive AWD version is insanity.

– In brief, the CR-V offers little to no value throughout its trim lineup.

With hundreds of new vehicle nameplates available for sale in Canada, there is cause for an automaker to celebrate when one of theirs makes the top 10 best-seller list. Honda is no stranger to this list as for years, they’ve owned 20% of the spots thanks to the Civic and CR-V. Up until 2019, the car beat out the SUV but that changed in 2020.

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

For all kinds of reasons including the never-ending lust for SUVs, the Honda CR-V surpassed the Civic as Honda Canada’s best-selling model. For the most part, no one can argue against the results unless they are not fans of SUVs and find them generally overpriced for being little more than mildly raised cars.

Price gouging?

On the topic of pricing, the new 2023 Honda CR-V starts at $34,790 for the base FWD LX trim or exactly $2,200 more than a comparably equipped LE AWD 2023 Toyota RAV4. Further insult is added to injury when comparing the base CR-V to the base 2023 Kia Sportage, an LX FWD, which retails for only $28,795. With AWD, the Sportage is still only $30,795. The base AWD CR-V LX goes for $37,590. Can and will the CR-V’s badges and pedigree make this pill easier to swallow?

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

This is the all-new CR-V’s biggest issue. Although good and very Honda in what it is, it’s difficult for us to fathom that consumers, faced with well over a dozen options in the compact SUV segment from other Japanese, Korean, and American brands, and a German automaker will willingly shell out far more money than necessary. And unfortunately for Honda, for little to nothing more than what the others have to offer.

One shape fits all

The 2022 calendar year was the year of the SUV for Honda. It started with the recently tweaked Passport, then the arrivals of the all-new HR-V, CR-V, and Pilot. With the exception of the first, all three SUVs are very similar in proportions and styling. Grilles differ but all three are now broad-shouldered, flatter, and come with longer hoods. In short, the styling works.

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Though, it must be said that, like the HR-V, the CR-V’s excessive front overhang looks to be overcompensating for something… From every other angle, the compact SUV is handsome and well-sorted visually.

Raised Civic interior

The new 2023 Honda CR-V’s cabin is just about perfect. From a utilitarian standpoint, the massive 1,113L trunk is not only one of the largest in the segment but it is bigger than many midsize SUV boots. Moreover, the adjustable load floor provides extra or less hidden storage which can be extremely useful. Accessing the second row is marvelous thanks to the 90-degree opening rear doors. The bench is wide and reasonably comfortable for all body types.

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Up front, occupants are treated to supportive seats and a dashboard lifted from the latest 11th-generation Honda Civic. As standard, it is fitted with a 7-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and far more. Moving up to the tested $41,490 Sport trim throws in a power driver’s seat, a heated steering wheel, and other must-haves. If interested in a larger display, the $43,390 EX-L version will give you a 9-inch unit. FYI, the $32,590 LE AWD RAV4 comes with an 8-inch unit.

The new CR-V’s dashboard wins points for presentation and layout. HVAC controls are front and centre, and accessing menus via the infotainment system is effortless. Visibility is excellent thanks to the thin “A” pillars. In fact, visibility overall is very good.

Boosted CVT

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

There was a time when the CR-V stood head and shoulders above its peers in the segment for many reasons including the driving experience. Today, on all points, it’s ok. Although the compact Honda SUV is all new for 2023, the turbocharged 1.5L engine and associated continuously variable transmission are back. With 190hp and 179 lb.-ft. of torque, performance is decent. As well, the CVT, if the driver can keep his or her foot off the firewall, delivers seamless forward momentum.

Ride quality is actually quite good. The chassis delivers controlled and predictable handling all the while keeping comfort levels high. No pleasure comes from driving the new CR-V however decent fuel consumption will be the result. Estimated figures are 8.5L/100km whereas I averaged just over 9L.

Save loads of money and look elsewhere

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

It’s counterintuitive to suggest considering other SUVs over the new 2023 CR-V but the reality is that we’re not all as rich as Honda Canada thinks we are. If you really want a CVT-equipped compact SUV, look into a $33,280 Subaru Forester (AWD included of course).

Otherwise, the answer is the Toyota RAV4. Now, there is a hybrid CR-V out there too but it’s in an even less enviable position than the “normal” CR-V. For this reason, I’ve put off reviewing it for a while.

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Honda CR-V Sport | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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