The average new car price in the U.S. is just over $48,000, which is a lot. When I walked into a Honda dealer in 1999 and purchased a manual Civic EX, their small CR-V SUV had a starting sticker price of $19,365, with the top-spec trim CR-V EX starting at $20,865. Now I’m doing some some quick maths to account for inflation and I would expect the range topping CR-V for 2023 to cost around $38,548. Well prepare to be surprised, because…holy shit…that’s almost exactly what it costs! Wow, I did this as I drafted the article, how about that. I guess it’s time to see if this top spec 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid AWD Sport Touring is worth the $38,600 Honda is asking.
2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid Overview
The CR-V is all new for 2023 and marks the sixth-generation of Honda’s compact(ish) crossover. The CR-V range for 2023 is a bit more complicated than it was in 1999. There are five models, starting at $28,410 up to our tester that…apparently has had a price increase since they built it and is now going for $39,100. So much for my exacting inflation calculation, but hey the car market is still a bit goofy. Engine options include the base 190 horsepower turbo 1.5L four and the 204 horsepower 2.0L hybrid like in our test car.
The Sport Touring Hybrid is loaded with just about everything you can get on a CR-V.
- Leather upholstery
- Power-adjustable front passenger seat
- Driver’s seat memory settings
- Nine-inch touchscreen
- Hands-free liftgate
- Wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Wireless smartphone charging pad
- Integrated navigation system
- Low-speed automatic braking
- Blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning
- Front and rear parking sensors
- 19-inch gloss black wheels
- Ambient cabin lighting
- Heated steering wheel
- 12-speaker Bose premium audio system
Our pretty Canyon River Blue Metallic paint wasn’t even an optional extra, though there are four colors out of the eight total that add $455 to the bottom line. There is one interior option, black, and one wheel option, also black. There are a few accessory packages you can add, including the HPD Package, which consists of a tailgate spoiler, some black cladding over the wheels, and some badges. The cool bronze HPD wheels aren’t available on the top-spec Sport Touring sadly.
All-in (at least when our CR-V was built) and you’re looking at $39,845.
2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid AWD Sport Touring Inside & Out
Honda (and Acura) are in a good spot design-wise of late. The long raked headlights integrate nicely into the grille which features a large Honda badge. The brightwork on either side at the bottom of the bumper looks a little out of place, but gives the front a bit more color compared to the blacked out trim. Out back the taillight design reminds me a bit of a Volvo SUV, and that’s not a bad thing. The zig-zag light design looks pretty premium. Honda also has a similar geometric shape where the exhaust tips would be that are trimmed in the same bright color as up front.
Overall it’s a good looking thing, I would have no problem recommending someone spend close to $40,000 on one based on exterior design. But let’s see how things look on the inside.
Well, the first thing you notice is the Honda Civic lineage, which isn’t a bad thing. The dashboard-wide honeycomb pattern is there in all its glory and still looks fantastic. Interesting note, I had just came from testing the Integra Type-S which also has the same pattern in it’s Civic-derived interior, though it’s a replaced in places to make it feel a bit more “upscale”. Still, overall the CR-V has a very pleasing interior, with everything arranged in a nicely Japanese efficiency from an ergonomic perspective. The seats were a nice surprise, and again that’s coming out of the spectacular set in the Type-S. They manage to be wide and comfortable enough while having some surprisingly solid side-bolsters.
What’s likely the best news for small families is the cargo space. It’s a generous 39.3 cu. ft. with the rear seats up and a huge’ish 76.5 cu. ft. with the back seats dropped. I also write for CarMax and have to get into a lot of facts and figures, so I can say with some authority that the cargo space, as well as the 41.0 inches of rear leg room is pretty fantastic. For comparison, the 1999 CR-V had 29.6 cu. ft. of space in the back and 36.7 inches of legroom. Since the average consumer isn’t going to be autocrossing their CR-V, the extra size (7.2 inches longer and 4.6 inches wider) will be put to good use.
In the end, the 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid AWD Sport Touring is solid in just about every category. Sure, the hybrid engine takes eight-seconds to get to 60, but I’m sure at some point I defended some 1990s sport compact on a Vbulletin forum for being “pretty quick” with that type of performance. Real world consumers in real world driving situations are usually more concerned about MPG and the hybrid is rated up to 40 mpg, while the all-wheel drive version like our tester drops to 37 mpg. Still not bad for the size, and the CR-V adds in an impressive ride quality in addition to the large interior.
In some ways it does fall into my defintion of “an car”, something I’d recommend to friends and family, but not something I’d necessarily consider for myself. However, was also sort of unfair to the CR-V that Honda to send me an Integra Type S, then this hybrid crossover, and then a Type R! Regardless, being an car is OK, considering the price for the top-spec trim hasn’t really gone up all that much beyond basic inflation, but the CR-V has gotten larger and added more stuff, it’s a pretty impressive thing. Interesting note, it’s called the Honda Breeze in China, which is a much better name!