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Honda’s Plan For Making the CR-V Hybrid Its Most Popular Model

Honda is about to drop the new 2023 CR-V, and the big news will be the emergence of the Hybrid as its sales leader.


Honda’s CR-V now “outsells” all other Honda vehicle models in the U.S. by more than two to one. Sure, the only thing holding Honda, and all manufacturers, back from selling many more vehicles is the gummed-up supply chain. Yet, the fact remains the CR-V is now the defacto face of Honda in the USA. What we find very interesting, and also encouraging, is that soon the top-selling Honda trim will be the CR-V Hybrid.

Honda plans to sell 50% of all its CR-Vs in 2023 as Hybrids. That is a big shift from the current state of affairs. We like every version of the CR-V, and have for many years. However, the Hybrid is the car of the hour, so to speak, with gas prices spiking and the emergence of green vehicles as the most desirable in the American market.

So how will Honda make the Hybrid CR-V the top-selling vehicle in its fleet? Thrust. On a test drive, the new CR-V Hybrid is going to win over shoppers by offering them a more satisfying driving experience than the (excellent) 1.5-liter turbo-equipped models.

We’re nerds at heart here at TN. We love to pour over specifications looking for factoids on which to report. And with the CR-V Hybrid, one jumped right off the page. Despite Honda’s claim that the new 2023 CR-V Hybrid will be “more powerful” than the 2022 Hybrid, the specifications show the opposite. The outgoing model has 212 hp, and the new 2023 an also respectable but lower 204 hp. So how is that “more powerful?” In two ways.

First, the numbers lie. The old specs were SAE hp, and the new are ISO hp values. Both are real, but the ISO uses a different method by which to arrive at a peak hp value. Since peak hp is almost never used by any CR-V driver in any circumstance, this isn’t the main benefit. Let’s look at torque. In the new 2023 CR-V, torque isn’t just a higher value; it arrives at a meaningfully lower RPM. Honda says that both the electric motors and the gas engine now provide peak torque in a more satisfying part of the driving experience. This all adds up to you feeling a stronger push in normal driving.

If there was a simpler way to explain to CR-V shoppers that the new 2023 CR-V Hybrid will feel great when you drive it, we would have just written that, Bit sometimes the wordy way is the only way.

We have not yet tested the all-new 2023 CR-V Hybrid, but Honda is among the best of the best manufacturers at putting vehicles into the driveways of those who report on vehicles. We hope to test the new CR-V Hybrid before it arrives at dealers this fall. When we do, we will honestly report how the new CR-V Hybrid feels when driven. The outgoing Hybrid was darn good, so our expectations are high. We have no doubt they will be met.

Image courtesy of Honda.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

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