The 2024 Honda CR-V Sport-L is the Best CR-V (but Still Not Enough)

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

Honda has addressed the price problem; but only slightly.

Recently, we spent a week with the 2024 Honda CR-V Sport-L (known as EX-L Hybrid in Canada). The latest model addition to Honda’s best-selling SUV lineup performed well, earning big points for its refined cabin and driving behavior. It represents a broadening of options for the electrified CR-V, which is most welcome.

There’s just one problem: it’s still too expensive. Here’s why.

Limited hybrid offerings

Look at the CR-V’s erstwhile competitor, the Toyota RAV4. Whereas Honda offers three hybrid CR-V trims (two in Canada), there are seven RAV4 hybrids to choose from. That’s not even counting the RAV4 Prime, the plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV) for which Honda has no direct competitor.

To Honda’s credit, it offers the CR-V hybrid with both front- and all-wheel drive, something Toyota doesn’t do with the RAV4. That allows folks in warmer climes to skip the rear powered axle and eke out even better fuel economy. Nonetheless, there just aren’t as many choices should you want to tailor the exact level of comfort and convenience of your hybrid. Which brings us to the next point…

Lacking tech

Despite debuting at the tail-end of 2022, the current CR-V swerves a few of the trends that have become more common in the market. Outside of full-size pickups, arguably no other segment is as ruthlessly competitive as the small family SUV one. Thus, it strikes us as odd that the CR-V doesn’t feature a 360-degree camera on any trim, something almost every other competitor does. Heck, Nissan offers it on multiple Rogue trims.

Want a wireless charger? Top-trim only, we’re afraid—same goes with navigation. Ventilated front seats, heated second-row ones, or a head-up display? Not on this features list. Honda’s latest infotainment system is fine, but the 9.0-inch screen in the top models lags behind the sharper, more responsive setups elsewhere.

It might not matter

The Honda CR-V is consistently one of the 10 best-selling vehicles in both Canada and the US. It has a reputation for reliability and a sterling blend of comfort and agility. Honda had a sales boom on its hands last year, as the CR-V’s sales bounced back by 51 percent. Not only that, the company beat its initial prediction of a 50-percent hybrid mix in the US: it ended up at 55 percent. Since all of those were higher trims—where profit margins are typically fatter—Honda probably isn’t too fussed. And again, we’re talking about the consistent number two in the segment.

Given that upwards momentum, we’d be inclined to think a broader hybrid lineup could seriously challenge the RAV4’s dominance.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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  • Tucson60 Tucson60 on Apr 10, 2024

    Test drive a CR-V when the New model came out. I liked its ride/handling a lot. But this was an entry level vehicle I drove, although I did look up the CR-V Sport Touring’s equipment list and was disappointed by it not having a bigger screen, a head-up display and no option for a panoramic roof which I have on my Tucson. So yea not impressed with the top-trims features,as that would be the one I would get. Those items I mentioned I would want come on the Pilot but that’s quite a bit more money. So I think I’ll get a New Santa Fe which has all those features and then some compared to this CR-v.

  • Nauticalone Nauticalone on Apr 10, 2024

    I went in to my local Honda dealer recently and agree with the authors assessment here.