There’s a new Honda CR-V coming for 2023, and Honda just dropped a hint of what’s to come for its bestselling U.S. model by offering up a few photos, and saying that the new model will have “a rugged and sophisticated design” with “increased versatility.”
Honda is also promising “a more advanced hybrid system for a sportier driving experience and more capability.”
Certainly the photos reveal a CR-V with cleaner front end and slim, sporty headlights paired with a grille design that looks as if it could be used on a battery-electric vehicle. Hmmm … more on that in a minute.
In the rear, the taillamps seem to be an evolution of the current model, which resemble those used on Volvo CUVs and Cadillac’s XT4. The vehicle seems more sophisticated and less outdoorsy, a slot now taken by the Honda Passport. The whole vehicle just seems to be a bit less fussy in design.
As for powertrains, they shouldn’t change dramatically, being evolutions of those currently in use much like Honda did with the last Civic redesign.
What will it offer?
Other than that, what the CR-V might offer is pure conjecture, such as whether it will offer a third row to better compete with the Volkswagen Tiguan and Mitsubishi Outlander. Also, it wouldn’t be out of the question for Honda to field a plug-in hybrid model; the company currently manufactures one in China.
And finally, since the all-new 2023 CR-V will come as a hybrid, it could possibly be offered as a purely battery-electric vehicle sometime after the Prologue debuts. It offered a sketch of the Prologue just last week.
Honda promises, however, to offer more details come summer.
The current CR-V
If you want to understand what could be coming from the 2023 Honda CR-V, consider the 2022 model. Most CR-Vs are powered by a 190-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission.
The CR-V also comes as a hybrid that pairs a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gas engine with dual electric motors to produce 212 hp. All-wheel drive is standard on the hybrid and available on other models.
A popular player
The compact CR-V crossover utility vehicle is far and away Honda’s most popular people mover in America, with sales rising 7.7% to 361,271 units in 2021 from 333,502 units in 2020. In fact, it accounted for 44.5% of Honda’s 812,030 truck sales in 2021, a line-up that includes not just the CR-V, but also the HR-V, Odyssey, Passport, Pilot, and Ridgeline. So the current CR-V is still benefiting from strong demand.
That’s in contrast to its chief rival, the Toyota RAV4, which saw sales decline 5.3% in 2021 to 407,739 units from 430,387 units in 2020.
So any changes made to the CR-V will have a big impact on Honda’s bottom line.
But the biggest change could come from driveline mix.
In April, Honda announced the next step in its North American electrification strategy, which will see the automaker concentrate on increasing sales of its CR-V, Accord and, in the future, Civic Hybrids. Honda is planning to make Hybrids to account for 50% of the sales mix of each model.
Honda is planning for 40% of North American sales to come from battery-electric and fuel cell-electric vehicles by 2030, rising to 100% a decade later.
Honda’s current hybrid offerings include the Accord Hybrid, CR-V Hybrid, Insight Hybrid and a forthcoming Civic Hybrid. In 2024, Honda will produce its first battery-electric vehicle, the Prologue SUV which was co-developed with GM and based on the Ultium platform.