A couple of months after making its global debut in the United States, the all-new 2023 Honda CR-V is finally making its way into the ASEAN region through the brand’s regional hub in Thailand. This is an important announcement because this is where the Philippine-market CR-V comes from. This means that whatever’s launched in Thailand will often be carried over into our market as well.
From the outside, the all-new 2023 Honda CR-V comes with evolutionary styling. Rather than completely rewriting the CR-V’s design playbook, Honda took the safe route and carefully enhanced each of the previous model’s details. For the first time, a CR-V RS will be launched (as shown in blue). This model brings a whole new level of sportiness to the CR-V’s design, with its unique front and rear bumpers, body-colored claddings, bigger alloy wheels, and fewer chrome trimmings. The non-RS will look similar to the model that was unveiled in the United States, with its usual black body cladding, twin exhausts, and standard-sized wheels.
Though Honda Thailand did not yet reveal the interior of the 2023 CR-V, it’s pretty much expected that it will have the same design as the global model. If it looks way too familiar to you, that’s because it’s nearly identical to the Civic‘s. There’s a generous amount of soft-touch plastics along with a metal honeycomb pattern that hides the aircon vents, while we suspect that the first-ever CR-V RS will come with a host of sportier add-ons such as red stitching details, and suede inserts, just to name a few.
As for engines, this is where a dramatic shift will occur. The 2023 Honda CR-V will mark the end of the diesel engine–at least in Thailand. This engine was popular because of how extremely fuel efficient it is, even based on our experiences with it. In lieu of the diesel engine is the new e:HEV hybrid model. The hybrid model blends a 2.0-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that deliver a combined 204 horsepower and 335 Nm of torque.
On the other hand, the base engine will now be a 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo four-cylinder that’s also found in the Civic and HR-V. In the CR-V’s case, this will produce 190 horsepower and 243 Nm of torque. Whatever the engine choice, a CVT will do the shifting duties. The 2.0-liter non-turbo i-VTEC engine is going to be discontinued.
With these specs and figures in mind, will this mean that Honda Cars Philippines will once again bring back a hybrid in our market? The last time the Japanese automaker offered one was with the Honda Legend–a full-size luxury sedan that was briefly sold in the Philippines.