I like spreadsheet. Whether or not this stems from my fundamental incapability to do math issues in my head or my conviction that information makes complicated topics simpler to grasp, I’m undecided. However lining up figures in neat rows and columns, with pre-programmed formulation doing the algorithmic heavy lifting is my safety blanket.
In the case of analyzing the compact SUV/Crossover market, I truly don’t understand how anybody involves a conclusion with out a spreadsheet. Not solely is that this automobile section stacked with opponents – fairly often the best-selling or best-executed autos in a model’s portfolio – the variations between a automobile just like the 2023 Honda CR-V and its rivals require a little bit of math to reinforce one’s in-person expertise. It’s comparatively simple to say which automobile in a cohort is probably the most enjoyable to drive; what’s troublesome is to extrapolate which is likely to be probably the most helpful for the various wants of patrons on this house.
In a typical automobile assessment, we have a tendency to depart the dry bits – like how a lot the factor prices – for the very finish. However that left-brain stuff appears extra pertinent in a CR-V evaluation than it might for a primary drive of, say, the upcoming Civic Sort R.
A automobile’s verdict is relative solely to its personal section and never the new-vehicle market as a complete. For extra on how Motor1.com charges automobiles, click on right here.
|Fast Stats||2023 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD|
|Engine:||Turbocharged 1.5-liter I4|
|Output:||190 Horsepower / 179 Pound-Toes|
|Gas Economic system:||27 Metropolis / 32 Freeway / 29 Mixed|
|Base Value:||$31,110 + $1,245 Vacation spot|
Goodbye “Base” Mannequin
Honda has basically reduce to the chase with its pricing technique for this 2023 mannequin. The front-wheel-drive CR-V EX is available in at $32,355 (that’s a $31,110 MSRP plus a $1,245 vacation spot cost), a worth that falls within the low-middle of the spectrum for opponents at Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, VW, and so forth. Between provide chain points and skyrocketing common transaction costs, Honda presumably not sees the enterprise case for a bottom-tier trim, aka “stripper fashions” within the $27,000-$28,000 enviornment, within the CR-V line.
The consequences of that technique on total unit volumes offered, and ensuing residual costs, might be enjoyable to observe over the following decade, however for now your $32k funding nets a fairly fantastic Swiss Military knife of a day by day driver.
The CR-V EX comes with Honda’s turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder underneath the hood, an invisible-in-action constantly variable transmission, and issues like 18-inch wheels, heated seats, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto that may make a driver really feel like they’re getting worth for his or her hard-earned greenback.
The mannequin that I examined for per week was the EX-L with all-wheel-drive, which is more likely to account for a hefty quantity of all gross sales (however isn’t, as I’ll attempt to define in a bit, the most effective total CR-V worth). The second-most-expensive trim at $36,505 all-in, the EX-L AWD provides all-wheel confidence for drivers in Snowbelt states, and high quality of life upgrades like leather-based seating a much bigger touchscreen show (9.0 inches vs. 7.0 inches) wi-fi cellphone charging, and an eight-speaker sound system (which, frankly, nonetheless isn’t something to put in writing house about if you happen to’re an audiophile).
The EX-L shares the identical 1.5T and CVT powertrain and cedes a little bit little bit of gas economic system to its blood rival, the Toyota RAV4. The Honda nets 27 miles per gallon within the metropolis, 32 freeway, and 29 mixed on this configuration, whereas Toyota’s naturally aspirated 2.4-liter is sweet for 27 metropolis, 34 freeway, and 30 mixed whereas turning all 4 wheels. A small distinction however a giant level for comparative buyers and relative model delight.
Nevertheless these numbers look on my spreadsheet, they will’t seize simply how significantly better the on-road expertise is within the Honda versus almost all of its aggressive set. In weeks main as much as and simply following my CR-V take a look at, I used to be in a position to get seat time within the aforementioned RAV4, Kia’s new Sportage Hybrid, a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV that I can’t even discuss but, and the Volkswagen Tiguan. And, after all, I’ve had seat time in opponents from Chevy, Ford, Subaru, Nissan, et al, as nicely.
Right here’s the lengthy and in need of it: Aside from the Kia Sportage Hybrid, the CR-V is the straightforward alternative from a driving perspective. Each model’s compact CUV has some type of aggressive IP – a bit extra space, extra energy, barely higher NVH, and so forth. – however as an all-around proposition, Honda actually has this nailed.
The 1.5T provides up 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque – not sufficient to make the CR-V really feel something like “fast,” however higher than enough for the wants of small crossover drivers. Extra importantly, the ability supply is clean, with very linear throttle response, and only a few hijinks from the CVT transmission.
In stoplight-to-stoplight driving the straightforward energy and fast throttle tip-in truly belies the torque output determine – although, to be truthful, once I wanted to rise up to freeway speeds the limitation of this small engine grew to become extra evident. (Honda’s upcoming CR-V Hybrid mannequin, with 204 horsepower and 247 important torques ought to clear up that drawback properly.)
Tuning of the steering is downright spectacular. As I’ve sampled extra of the corporate’s latest merchandise this yr, I’ve realized that Honda has type of nailed “smoothness” when it comes to the steering expertise.
Whereas the electronically power-assisted steering rack is just about devoid of highway really feel (nothing shocking there for a crossover in 2022), the burden or effort degree is excellent: fully secure at a dead-ahead setting whereas cruising, and velvety when including in lock or transitioning by means of corners on a rustic highway. Only a few patrons are going to assume deeply in regards to the “steering expertise” of the CR-V, however even for non-nerds I believe this tuning will give a way of solidity to the automobile and incrementally cut back the stress of driving each minute one is behind the wheel.
Only a few patrons are going to assume deeply in regards to the “steering expertise” of the CR-V, however even for non-nerds I believe this tuning will give a way of solidity to the automobile.
Most received’t, however if you happen to do press the CR-V into service on a very good highway, Honda’s dealing with DNA actually shines. Push actually laborious and the front-biased system will after all default into secure understeer, however if you happen to dial it again a hair you’ll uncover wonderful physique management whereas cornering (relative to the category), good grip, and the aforementioned steering encouraging the entire enterprise.
Trip high quality can also be actually good; maybe only a tiny bit behind the slick expertise provided by the VW Tiguan, however worlds higher than the reasonably jarring lack of composure I discovered within the RAV4.
Not With out Flaws
I used to be actually shocked, about 90 seconds into my first drive expertise with the CR-V, that Honda is just not going to be the category chief the place noise, vibration, and harshness are involved, nevertheless. Properly, noise not less than. Whereas automobile tuning is sort of fully spot-on in each different respect, in some way the crew missed the benchmark the place in-cabin quiet is worried.
At about 60 miles per hour, the CR-V is way from “loud” nevertheless it’s a full letter grade beneath the completely sanguine Sportage on the identical velocity. Honda’s 1.5T isn’t precisely melodious within the first place, and it may be heard at a low quantity, buzzing away from underneath the automobile’s smooth hood. Wind rush, too, whereas nicely managed, can’t examine to the Kia.
It’s potential that the CR-V Hybrid might be a number of proportion factors quieter than its gas-only sibling, however that continues to be to be seen till we will get behind the wheel. Till then, this appears like a miss for Honda, which completely lapped the sphere on all NVH fronts when it launched the previous-gen CR-V. That’s a excessive customary, however a good one.
Honda’s inside design language took a leap ahead with the present Civic, and the CR-V has mainly translated it for a bigger house. In EX-L trim which means a very good, clear, easy-to-use cabin that feels virtually timeless in its execution. Certain, the Koreans get extra creative with colours and shapes, and Toyota and Subaru provide a much bigger way of life expertise for drivers who fancy themselves as rugged individualists. However the CR-V has comfy seating, actually crisp, clear instrumentation, and fats steering wheel that’s good to hold on to.
The bigger touchscreen sits on a plinth atop the slim sprint; it’s truthful to say that it isn’t as seamlessly built-in as a few of the in-dash techniques. I truly like having an infotainment display screen that’s greater in my eye line, for ease of use, however I get that this reads as “tacked on” to lots of people. In any occasion, the display screen itself has good decision and makes a fantastic place to reflect my iPhone display screen (which is mainly all I would like).
The gear-lever feels a bit old-school in at present’s panorama of knurled rotary shifters and swiveling ball gymnastics, however the one factor truly unsuitable with it’s that it’s not a very stable factor to carry onto. It’s potential that this was a difficulty with my pre-production spec automobile, however there was a little bit of play within the motion of the shifter, sufficient to jiggle the plastic encompass once I put it in gear and usually give the vibe that one thing would possibly crack or chip method earlier than you’d count on. Not an important testomony to the general feeling of high quality, as one does have a tendency to make use of the gear lever fairly steadily.
House For A Big (And His Youngsters)
Honda has made a giant deal of how a lot house it was in a position to carve out for rear seat passengers, particularly. There’s extra legroom within the rear chairs nowadays, some 41 inches, which is second amongst the highest sellers to, you guessed it, the Kia Sportage (and the Hyundai Tuscon). As somebody who’s 6-foot-5 with two youngsters in automobile seats, I can attest that the CR-V not solely has room sufficient for me to comfortably “sit behind myself” nevertheless it additionally means I don’t have to regulate my driving place with a cumbersome rear-facing baby seat put in behind me. Bliss.
It’s truthful to emphasise that virtually each automobile on this class has sufficient head, leg, and elbow room in each rows to take care of of us my measurement, which suggests regular individuals might be swimming in house to maneuver. I’m selecting on the RAV4 rather a lot at present, nevertheless it bears mentioning that the Toyota does really feel like one of many extra cramped interiors (how achieve this many of those get offered once more?).
The CR-V additionally has a very large cargo maintain, too. Its max quantity of 75.6 cubic toes, simply accessible through a tall, broad rear hatch, ranks at or close to the highest of the heap right here. For single-car households, that is actually important, because it permits the automobile to flex from weekly buying responsibility, to long-range highway journeys with a few youngsters, to all however the greatest format house enchancment initiatives.
Keep in mind that the distinction between the highest tier and backside tier performers on the Cargo House line of my spreadsheet is just about 5 cubic toes, and most are inside fractions of one another.
I haven’t touched on exterior styling as a result of, nicely, is there a single small crossover that truly seems good? They’re all type of wind-tunnel optimized jelly bean bins, with the first aesthetic variations being the scale and design of the wheels, and creatively formed LED lighting components. Honda was bragging rather a lot about how lengthy the hood of this CR-V is, with notes about stance and aggressive proportions… To me all of it falls into the “cool story” class of knowledge, however we’re importing a number of footage so you possibly can resolve for your self.
What does matter, on the finish, is that the 2023 Honda CR-V is an intelligently optimized small SUV that may work brilliantly for an enormous variety of individuals and households. It isn’t actually a standout in anybody measurable class (save for cargo room), however within the magically-mathed confines of my spreadsheet, its competitiveness throughout a large number of classes makes it massively compelling within the combination.
The CR-V is an all-around celebrity. Proper now it’s second on my private rankings behind the Kia Sportage Hybrid, however I’ll must drive Honda’s hybrid earlier than I can totally stand behind that assertion. Within the meantime, simply don’t purchase a RAV4 earlier than take a look at driving certainly one of these.