2023 Honda CR-V Sport

The new CR-V has grown up and blossomed into a sophisticated family hauler.
The new CR-V has grown up and blossomed into a sophisticated family hauler.

by Ben So | June 19, 2023


If I told you that the sixth-generation Honda CR-V is one of the most important new models to launch in the Canadian marketplace this year, you would probably think I am crazy. Before you close your browser, hear me out. The CR-V is not only the brand’s best-selling crossover, but also one of the most popular SUVs in the marketplace. We have had our hands on the CR-V EX-L and the  Touring Hybrid, and this week, we officially kick off road trip season with the 2023 Honda CR-V Sport.

The CR-V Sport slots between the base LX and the EX-L as the value pick of the lineup. It retains many distinctive exterior design elements found on upper trims such as the body-coloured tailgate spoiler, piano black front grille, and the black roof rails. From the outside, the unique distinguishing feature of the CR-V Sport is the set of black 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels – the rest of the lineup gets either 17-inch steels wheels, 18-inch silver, or 19-inch black wheels. We are glad to see the signature vertical taillights that have existed on every generation of the CR-V remain and the overall design is evolving gracefully.

All non-hybrid models in the lineup get a refined version of last generation’s 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Power output is unchanged at 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft. of torque; however, Honda says its horsepower now peaks over a broader range at high revs, and the maximum torque arrives earlier at 1,700 RPM for better response. In real world testing, the difference from one generation to another is not too evident, but we noted significantly reduced noise and harshness especially when the powertrain is under load, which happens a lot when trying to accelerate anywhere.

The Honda CR-V is not slow by any measure and its performance is on par with every mainstream compact crossover in the market that isn’t named Mazda CX-5 Signature. However, I would caution against giving the “Sport” badge on the tailgate too much credit. The powertrain has enough low-end torque to get the CR-V going with relatively little effort, and the revised continuously variable transmission (CVT) is smooth to get the best amount of power to all four wheels where traction is needed. Despite the enhancements made, the engine still runs out of power if you stay on throttle too long and the CR-V is most suitable for urban driving.

Steering is light and effortless with little feedback – all common traits of modern crossovers. The good part is that CR-V has long been the segment leader in terms of interior space and the new one is no different. Head and legroom are excellent – there is simply no other crossover in this segment that comes close – and the 1,113 litres of cargo space is very useful for bringing along everything a family needs for the summer getaway. When equipped with the accessory towing package, the 2023 Honda CR-V will happily tow up to its 1,500-pound limit which is enough for bringing a small watercraft or an ATV along.

Fuel economy is rated at 9.1L/100km in the city and 7.6L/100km on the highway for a combined rating of 8.4L/100km, which closely matches our observed 8.9L/100km result over a week of mixed commute. Though these figures might not jump out at you as being particularly fuel efficient, it is only 0.7L/100km more than what we achieved in the CR-V Hybrid – noteworthy if you are considering whether to spend the extra money for the hybrid powertrain.

Onto the biggest improvement of the new generation Honda CR-V – the interior. It now follows Honda’s new design language and the overall layout is much cleaner and upscale. The metal honeycomb mesh grille that spans the width of the dashboard echoes the one at the front of the car and it cleverly adds a layer of sophisticated rawness to the cabin while hiding the air vents behind.

There are still plenty of useful buttons and knobs for easy adjustment while driving, and the new Honda infotainment system displayed on the seven-inch touchscreen is quite easy to use. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is supported across the lineup, but you will need to opt for the EX-L or Touring Hybrid if you want to be able to connect wirelessly, or if you want to have wireless charger or rear USB charging ports – something else to note for family users with tech-savvy kids.

The Honda CR-V now comes standard with Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, Lane Keeping Assist, Low-Speed braking control, Traffic Jam Assist, and Traffic Sign recognition systems to help drivers navigate their surroundings. Our tested Sport trim receives additional Blind Spot Information and Rear Cross Traffic Monitor systems for even better confidence on the road.

The 2023 Honda CR-V starts at $34,240 for the base LX-B 2WD model, and the prices go up rather quickly thereafter for every trim upgrade. Our mid-level tester rung in at $41,490, which is already more than the top-of-the-line version of the outgoing generation and comes dangerously close to many of its competitions in fully-loaded form such as the Nissan Rogue Platinum and Subaru Forester Premier.

The new CR-V has grown up and blossomed into a sophisticated family hauler that has carried on most of the appeal that allowed it to become one of our country’s favourite crossovers. In terms of value, the 2023 Honda CR-V Sport is certainly the one to get with all of the upscale exterior styling bits from the higher trims as well as all of the available driver assistance features. However, the entire CR-V lineup suffers from a self-imposed challenge – its elevated pricing structure – and it remains to be seen whether this will hinder its sales success or simply become the new norm in this hotly contested segment.

See Also:

2023 Mazda CX-5 Signature

2023 Honda CR-V Touring Hybrid

2023 Toyota RAV4 Woodland Edition

Vehicle Specs
Compact Mainstream Crossover
Engine Size
1.5L turbocharged inline-four
Horsepower (at RPM)
190 at 6,000
Torque (lb-ft.)
179 at 1,700
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Ben So


Ben has been living and breathing car magazines, spec sheets, and touring auto shows for his entire life. As proud member of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada, he keeps a close eye on the latest-and-greatest in the auto industry. When he isn't geeking out about the coolest new cars, he's probably heading to the next hidden-gem ice cream shop with his three quickly growing kids.

Current Toys: '97 Integra Type R, '07 LS 460 RWD, '08 Corvette Z06, '18 Odyssey Touring