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2023 Honda CRV-Sport: A compact ute for all generations

All-wheel drive is standard on the 2023 Honda CR-V Sport, as are a variety of safety features. Keith Morgan photo

By Keith Morgan

It’s the words that condo dwellers like yours truly don’t want to hear from a manufacturer talking about a new model: “It’s longer and wider!”

Sigh. Those were the first words I noticed when reading the corporate bumph that accompanied the delivery of a recent tester, the 2023 Honda CR-V Sport.

We’re not talking about half a metre in either direction; in fact the increases are just a few millimetres. However, it seems the five-passenger, five-door, compact crossover utes from every manufacturer have incrementally, if fractionally, grown with every update to the point where they’re not fun to park in condo parkades or public parking lots. Just saying.

That beef aired, I wasn’t disappointed by the redesign of this C-ute, which is boxier in appearance and now more resembles a smaller version of larger sport utes. Honda was among the first to enter the CUV market and in doing so it has built a loyal following. A hybrid version is added this year, which is sure to appeal to the frugal and eco-conscious.

A comfortable ride

It’s easy to get into for those with creaking bones. The redesigned 2023 model offers more rear legroom behind the pilot and the always-right ‘nagivator’ in the passenger seat.

Not that there’s need of a human map reader anymore with just about every car now having a resident navigation system. I swear the ‘voice’ is based on the human way-finder variety – insistently telling me to “turn right, now!”

The dash housing the programmable way-finder resembles that introduced to its stable mate Civic. The seven-inch touch screen display is half screen, half analogue gauge with one lovely concession to the old days: knobs to twiddle.

It’s smaller than many rivals who imitate Tesla’s ‘never mind the quality, feel the width’ approach to such screens. Doesn’t bother me as I’m not planning to watch the latest Indiana Jones adventure on the screen. That said, the sound system would definitely make the best of the typical, booming Indiana soundtrack. A slightly bigger screen is available on the top-of-the line trims for those for which size matters.

Much appreciated is the stowage space front and back, designed for seasoned travellers to clutter. You could actually lose stuff. All right, some forgetful people could. In terms of space for cases and the Big Shop, the rear seats fold flat and there’s ample space for a family trip for four.

Under the hood, there’s an updated 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, power plant is standard, pumping out 190 horsepower. The Touring edition features a 204-hp, two-litre engine, matched to a hybrid system. Notable improvements are noise level reduction and more responsive Continually Variable auto transmission.

Some attention to the tuning of the suspension and steering contribute to a more comfortable ride and a better sense of control. Even when fully loaded the body doesn’t lurch noticeably in the corners.

All-wheel drive is standard. Thank goodness, given our terrain. There is a Snow drive mode which is more than welcome while venturing beyond the local mountains. Hill Descent Control is also now standard which will make driving on the steep descents present on many of our major interior highways less stressful.

The interestingly named Honda Sensing suite includes a number safety and driving aids, all advanced in utility by better cameras and radar. Blind-spot monitoring is standard, which is blessing. I figure turning one’s head instead of relying purely on mirrors is a dying art. Just based on my observations of high-speed near misses on the freeway.

I must say a few weeks of extended time at the wheel showed the CR-V to be an ideal option for both growing families and seniors who still like to roam, sometimes with the grandkids. It’s got multi-generational appeal.

Need to know:

Fuel economy for the Sport and sibling trims is 9.1/7.6 L/100 kms (city/hwy). The Touring hybrid version boasts an efficient 6/6.4 L/100 kms (city/hwy).

Price-wise, the base LX AWD starts at $39,540, the Sport costs $43,440 and the Hybrid jumps to $50,840 plus taxes.

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