Perfect For City Life & Road Tripping

By Jenny Peters

There’s been a lot to like about Honda’s CR-V compact SUV over the years, and now, with a complete redesign for the 2023 models, it’s even better. The CR-V has always been an excellent choice for city living, with its manageable size making street parking a breeze, yet meanwhile having enough interior space to haul ski/snowboard gear to the slopes, luggage to the airport, and all the Costco products you’ll need for a month.

There are five iterations of the newly imagined Honda CR-V, beginning with the basic LX, which goes for about $30,000, and going to the Sport Touring Hybrid, which you’ll pay close to $42,000 to own. 

We tested out the EX-L ($37,000), one of three gas-only versions, on a four-day road trip of 1,000 miles across long freeway stretches and onto crowded big-city streets.  

Part of the sleek new design is a roomier interior, with very comfortable front seats and a ramped-up infotainment system; the EX-L boasts a nine-inch touchscreen, wireless phone charging, and a center storage console. Dual heat and air-conditioning controls allow for individual tastes, and the seats adjust to numerous settings.  

The EX-L’s tinted windows in the back rows and rear window are a huge plus for hauling—and leaving—things in the cargo area (like suitcases on a road trip) because they make it almost impossible for outsiders to see in. That alone makes it an ideal vehicle for city living. 

The turbocharged 4-cylinder, 1.5-liter engine produces a peak of 190 horsepower, providing more than enough oomph to merge quickly onto the freeway, easily take hills, and maintain top speeds. It’s willing to drive as fast as you like to push it but be warned: the CR-V’s interior is designed to drive so smoothly and quietly that you can suddenly realize that you’re going 85mph in a 55mph zone!  

Even if you enjoy driving fast, this SUV takes regular gasoline, holds 14 gallons, and averages about 30 miles per gallon without discernably guzzling gas at higher speeds. And if you choose the Sport Hybrid, expect to average 40 mpg instead. 

The CR-V is built for comfortable speed and safety as well. The vehicle comes with ten airbags, including front, front side, and side curtain ones, as well as knee airbags in the front seats and side airbags in the rear. It will even brake automatically when the Honda Collision Mitigation Braking System, designed to avoid accidents, kicks in when it senses an impending crash.

The SUV has new safety features as part of the Honda “Sensing Suite,” with two favorites. We love the blind spot information system on the side mirrors that show the driver when another vehicle is nearby and the automatic high-beam headlights, which happily send the old click-on, click-off manual way into oblivion. It’s amazing how two such insignificant things are such welcome innovations. 

A not-so-small change for 2023 and beyond is the Honda Service Pass, which covers all Honda models. For two years or 24,000 miles, all standard oil and oil filter changes, tire rotations, and multi-point inspections are included in the car’s purchase price.  

With this redesign that makes the CR-V feel like a much more expensive vehicle than its price, it’s not too surprising that the SUV placed in Car and Driver Magazine’s 10 Best Trucks and SUVs ranking for 2023, alongside the Porsche Macan and the Genesis GV70. With its good-looking exterior, nicely appointed interior, extensive attention to safety, and smooth, quick, and quiet driving experience, it is a well-priced compact SUV that will make you happy to get behind the wheel and go. 

For more information about the Honda CR-V EX-L (and other variations), visit