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2023 Honda CR-V Puts Toyota RAV4 in its Sights

Say what you will about the new 2023 Honda CR-V’s restrained lines, this new crossover small SUV is expected to become a strong seller when it lands in Australia towards the start of next year. While the styling hasn’t taken a radical departure from its predecessor, the stance is tougher with a more rugged appearance. The chiselled lines along with a boxy appearance make the CR-V look bigger than its crossover rivals, which, when you consider the swathe of options on the market, is an interesting point of difference. Touche Honda.

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Rear sets inside the new 2023 Honda CR-V | Image: Honda

In addition to the vehicle‘s more aggressive stance, Honda has introduced a few other design tweaks as well. Notably, the length has also swollen to 4694mm while the wheelbase has been increased to 2700mm as well. We like the new vertical tail-lamps which have been clearly inspired by Volvo‘s and the LED headlamps are slimmer to contrast nicely with its big grille. Despite these styling flourishes the new CR-V remains easy going to the eye with minimal shock value but it does have more presence now.

The interior mimics that same philosophy and it seems to be knicked wholesale from the new Civic. There is a new 9-inch touchscreen and a new digital instrument cluster outlined via a simple analogue-like design. Cabin materials have also received a hike in quality and the addition of details like contrast stitching adds a touch of colour to an otherwise sombre cabin.

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2023 Honda CR-V interior | Image: Honda

The longer wheelbase also means space that has increased and the back seat is roomier now while the US spec CR-V remains a 5-seater version. We might get a three-row version of the CR-V as it is in the offing for sure. Equipment on offer includes Blind Spot Monitoring (which replaces the earlier Lane-Watch feature), 10 airbags and a 12-speaker Bose audio system.

According to Honda, the variant on offer at launch would most likely be the 1.5-litre turbo petrol with either a CVT automatic gearbox or a manual along with AWD available as an option. That said, the hybrid variant which would be coming later, seems to be the more desirable option with a 2.0 litre petrol working in tandem with two electric motors along with a sizeable EV only mode where you can amble around in silence. Regenerative braking can also be controlled via gearshift paddles.

A stiffer body and an overhauled suspension should also make the new CR-V a better car to drive although at heart it’s likely to remain a no-nonsense family SUV. We expect prices to significantly increase but it would be more or less in the same ballpark as its rivals.

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Image: Honda


Somnath Chatterjee

Somnath Chatterjee is an experience car journalist and automotive expert. His supercar reviews, interviews and industry features have appeared in global publications such as Upscale living, Robb Report and Yahoo Lifestyle Asia. Somnath specialises in luxury and lifestyle-oriented features with a focus on automobiles, aviation and luxury. He also holds a Post Graduate in International Business from the University of Dehli.