For the first time in Canada, Honda is offering the CR-V in hybrid form. And the all-new Compact Recreational Vehicle is showcasing a huge design change as well, doing away with the rounded shape consumers have grown accustomed to and now mimicking the Passport’s tougher upright profile and squared off features.
"We are very excited to welcome the new CR-V and CR-V Hybrid to Canada," says Steve Hui, Honda Canada assistant vice president, in a press release. "CR-V has always played a pivotal role in our lineup, now more than ever, this latest sixth generation CR-V is tougher and more rugged, comes with upscale styling, advanced tech and as always, is fun-to-drive. We are also proud that the CR-V will continue to be built in Canada, at Honda of Canada Mfg. which has been designated lead manufacturing plant for CR-V in North America."
Unsurprisingly, the vehicle grows in proportions again. Measuring 68.6-millimetres longer and 10.1 millimetres wider the crossover boasts a larger presence on the road, and the wheelbase is stretched out by a significant 40.6 millimetres. The A pillars are much farther back than before helping elongate the hood and add to the traditional boxy SUV look. Instead of horizontal bars across the grille, a chunky geometric mesh pattern fills the frame. The head and tail lamps are dramatically slimmed down and utilize standard LED lighting.
Seven different paint options are available, like the striking Canyon Blue Metallic (+ $300) found on our week-long loaner, and the Touring trim’s 19-inch split five-spoke black alloys fill up the wheel arches nicely.
Love it or hate it, the ubiquitous metal honeycomb dash treatment makes an appearance in the interior. Serving as both decoration and a way to hide the air vents, the detail separates the HVAC controls and the nine-inch touchscreen audio system. Though Honda says the navigation structure is simplified with fewer menus, the infotainment is still rather confusing to use. And for some strange reason, only the seven-inch version installed in entry level grades receive a physical tuning knob.
There’s lots of room for passengers inside, and the cabin benefits greatly from the bigger dimensions. Rear occupants gain 15.2 millimetres of legroom and an eight-way adjustable backrest. Behind, cargo room grows an additional 34 litres.
A 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine is mated to two electric motors mounted side-by-side together jointly producing 204 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque. Unlike many other hybrid models found on the market, the gasoline mill isn’t overly loud and whiney when it switches on. While users can’t force an EV-only mode, at low speeds and load the CR-V often utilizes zero emissions mode anyways, shown via a small green symbol on the instrument cluster.
Structural stiffness is increased 15 per cent according to the automaker, and along with the retuned MacPherson strut front/multilink rear suspension improves handling and ride comfort. For the segment, the vehicle possesses quite a tight turning radius making city driving all that much easier.
Aside from the Alliston, Ontario facility, the 2023 Honda CR-V is also assembled at two locations in Ohio, and in Indiana. Hybrid variants are expected to represent 50 per cent of all sales.
Motor: 2.0-litre four cylinder + two electric motors
Horsepower: 204 (net)
Torque (lb-ft): 247 (net)
Layout: front engine, all-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 7.1 L/100 km mixed city/highway (observed)