One might quite reasonably have expected a smaller, lighter two-passenger variant of the Insight to achieve higher EPA numbers than its bigger brother. Say, like it did in 1989, when the CRX HF pulled a 41/50, compared to the ’89 Civic sedan’s 27/33. But reasonable expectations have been dashed by Honda more often than not lately, as in the Insight’s various shortcomings. But a 31/37/33 mpg combined rating for the new 2011 CRX manual, when the Insight is rated at a 41 combined? Does Honda have a death wish? That highway mileage is the same as the Chevy Cobalt XF, which doesn’t need any stinking battery and seats four. And even the combined mileage is only three mpg better. What gives?
Beats me. The CR-Z uses a slightly larger 1.5 version of the Insight’s 1.3 four, churning out 122 hp. But a slightly larger engine doesn’t necessarily equate to worse mileage; on the contrary, the new Prius’ larger 1.8 gets better mileage than the older 1.5. The CR-Z uses the same 10 KW/13 hp electric motor and battery from the Insight. And given the opportunity to reduce frontal area and fine-tune the coefficient of drag, these numbers are simply hard to digest. One small consolation: the CTV version gets somewhat better numbers: 36/38/37; but still well below the Insight.