The all-new 2023 Honda CR-V redefines the segment once again, and this time, it includes styling as one of its key attributes. Add in the hybrid powertrain, and the CR-V raises the performance bar even higher.
The styling of the CR-V has been thoroughly reworked with the silhouette being dramatically different. The a-pillar sits far more rearward to extend the length of the hood and move the visual weight of the cabin for a more traditionally proportionate and balanced shape, however, its details help it from feeling bland.
Following in the shadow of the Range Rover’s dramatic redesign, the Range Rover Sport plays it relatively cool. The updates are significant enough to deliver a fresh and modern impression and feel closely derived from the Range Rover although the tailgate seems to draw its inspiration from the Velar and Evoque with its rear “Range Rover” blackened trim piece that extends from one tail light to the other it lacks the dramatic appeal that one might be looking for from a $100,000+ vehicle. At this price, it is fighting against some extremely polished competitors from Mercedes, and Audi.
+ The Lexus IS sedan has been around for a long time (its last full redesign came 2013) and while it has received updates throughout the years to remain equipped with the latest features and infotainment, it’s lost the performance edge that it once had.
+ One way to regain that desirability is to drop in a powertrain that no other competitors offer – a 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8 with a 7,300 red line, a sharp (and sometimes brutal) automatic transmission, and an active exhaust that rewards with a wonderful bellowing sound at any engine speed, even idle.
The Honda’s latest styling theme has caught up with the award-winning Accord and even if you’re not impressed by the intriguing styling, everything else about the car is easy to appreciate. Improving upon the previous generation is no small feat and the 2023 Honda Accord enters its 11th generation with notable improvements in nearly every aspect.
+ Honda expects the Hybrid to account for 50% of Accord sales and is now the only way to get the Sport trim or the top-tier Touring trim.
+ The Acura Integra Type S is significantly more hard-edged than the Integra upon which it’s based. (photos: Acura)
+ The engine has been upsized to 2.0 liters, the turbocharged unit puts out 320 horsepower, and, together with the active exhaust, the Type S makes some pretty entertaining sounds while achieving those figures over and over again. It also does more than just hit impressive peak figures and sound racy too as its strong low-RPM torque allows it to dig itself out of a low-speed turn and the high-RPM power peak encourages you to spin it all the way up to the redline.
There is no doubt that the Acura MDX Type S is a milestone vehicle for the brand. It represents a rare moment (for any brand) where unique and tasteful styling meets high-quality design and premium materials, and most importantly, a very impressive powertrain. This is Acura at its best.
Honda put the Passport through a significant mid-generation update for 2022. It retains the typical Honda pillars of practicality, affordability, and sportiness and adds a dose of rugged flair with chunkier front and rear styling.
Also notable is a new mid-level TrailSport trim that signifies Honda’s desire to offer even greater off-road capability, however, for this Passport generation, it’s more of an off-road styling package than anything else. Still, with a capable engine and versatile all-wheel drive system, the Passport feels better suited for light-duty trails than most others in its class.
It’s hard to imagine a single brand that offers three SUVs that could be more different than the Lexus NX 450h+, GX 460, and LX 600. Each one carries its own mission and finds success in its own way. At the heart of these different vehicles is their unique powertrain that speaks to their overall character.
At one end of the spectrum is the brand’s first plug-in hybrid model, the crossover NX450h+ which brings both sport and efficiency. Then, there is the body-on-frame GX460, whose current design has soldered through what amounts to three vehicle life-cycle generations yet its sense of familiarity is oddly comforting and refreshing in today’s fashion-forward layouts. Last but certainly not least, is the redesigned LX600 which mixes old-school capability-minded chassis targets with newer and smarter technology to create an SUV that seemingly excels at nearly everything.
When the third-generation RDX arrived on the scene in 2019, it hit all the marks. A punchy turbocharged four-cylinder, super-handling all-wheel drive, a modern interior, and a big leap forward in infotainment technology placed the two-row crossover as a rightful competitor to the best in the segment all while under-cutting those Europeans by several thousands of dollars.
Now three years later, the RDX receives its scheduled refresh but instead of keeping pace with the rapidly progressing segment, the folks at Acura played an overly conservative hand.