By on January 11, 2010

actual production version (courtesy auto blog)

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.

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39 Comments on “New Hybrid Honda CR-Z Equals Cobalt’s EPA Mileage; Set To Stumble Like The Insight?...”


  • avatar
    dmrdano

    Awesome looks, awful performance.  Reminds me of some people I’ve known!

  • avatar
    carguy

    If Ford’s claim of nearly 40 MPGs for the new Fiesta is true, then the CRX’s mileage clearly isn’t even remotely competitive. Particularly once you add the hybrid premium. Pity – it’s a good looking car.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Perhaps we should drive the CR-Z before we hang it.

    • 0 avatar
      MusicMachine

      Yea.  Let’s do a more comprehensive CR-Z / Cobalt XF comparo.  I would bet mileage would be similar; performance / quality / feel would be quite different.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Why would you compare it against a cobalt?  I would think you would compare it against a Cruze, which is supposed to have a better highway rating than this.

    • 0 avatar
      MrDot

      I’m sure it drives much better, but that isn’t the point.  Hybrids are all about economy and that’s it.  Honda tried the performance hybrid thing before with the accord hybrid and lost their shirt.  Then they tried to be nearly as good as the prius and flopped again.  You’d think that they would have learned their lesson.

    • 0 avatar

      “Hybrids are all about economy and that’s it.”
      Um, no. The original design goal of the hybrid drivetrain was reduced emissions, period. Economy becomes a side benefit, but it is not always guaranteed. If economy was the goal then hybridizing Diesel like what has been done with locomotives for almost a century, would be the logical choice.

      Had gasoline prices not spiked in 2004/2008 the Toyota Prius and Hybrid drivetrains would remain a California Market Oddity.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      Chuck, what have you been smoking? Toyota’s goal for the Prius was to reduce consumption by 50%, and that was later raised to 100%. Nowhere in the history of the Prius and the original Insight did reduced emissions take a precedence over fuel economy. Obviously, emissions are also reduced as a byproduct of reducing consumption.
      The diesel-electric locomotive is NOT (sorry for the caps, but I’ve had to make this point way too many times) a “hybrid”. A hybrid implies that its power source is available from two discrete sources, like in automotive hybrids: either from the gas engine, the electric motor, or from both. A diesel-electric locomotive is simply an electric locomotive with its own power plant along for the ride. There are some brand new battery-diesel hybrid locomotives just hitting the market, for switching duty only, but it does not sound like that was what you were referring to.
      Furthermore, there is no doubt that diesel-electric locomotive (and the Chevy Volt when running on generator power) gives up efficiency compared to driving the wheels through a mechanical transmission. Locomotives give this up in order to have the power transmitted electrically, since mechanical and hydraulic clutches are complex and maintenance intensive at the power levels involved, but may come back if diesel gets expensive enough.
      This is why the Prius is so efficient on the highway; mechanical losses through the transmission are only some 3%; a gen-set and electric motor combination lose closer to 20% in the transmission process.

    • 0 avatar
      Norma

      @Mr Niedermeyer:

      “Toyota’s goal for the Prius was to reduce consumption by 50%, and that was later raised to 100%”

      Am I smoking? Em, looks quite likely, and I’m the only one.
      I’m not sure about the first part of the statement but regarding the second part: a reduction of consumption “by 100%”, I think it’s apparent that Prius failed in that regards, and it failed spectacularly.

      On second thought, may be I should hesitate, the post is up for two months, for two months, and no one, not a single soul notice this. It baffles me, it truly baffles me, especially on the site that associates itself with “truth”, nothing but the “truth”, and still no one notice it, for two months.

      Maybe my hgih school maths is really bad, that bad.
      Or maybe I’ve overslept for a few decades and we’re in hydrogen age or whatever it is and Prius succeeds to reduce its consumption to zero.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    Maybe there going for the sporty hybrid thing?  Where it doesn’t feel like your hands have been dipped in novacaine?   That’s all I can think of.  Or the epa numbers are bunk, or Honda is out of its mind.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    My ’91 Honda Civic LX auto could get 40mpg in combined city/hwy driving if I stayed at 60 mph or less.

  • avatar
    brettc

    That’s pathetic economy for a brand new car, especially a Hybrid. Is that factoring in the economy loss on the forced 10% ethanol blend as well?
    As a side note, I got 46.1 MPG recently on a 700 mile trip in my 2003 Jetta TDI. Keep in mind that the car was running on winter diesel with about 600 pounds of people and luggage in it while driving on winter tires. I think I’ll keep my Jetta…

  • avatar
    mountainman

    Remember, that is what the EPA numbers are, not real world.

    My Impreza 2.5i EPA is 20 city, 26 highway, and I get around 32 highway going 65 mph.

    I would bet it’s actual mileage will be better.  Like SherbornSean said, let’s test it first.

  • avatar
    SpacemanSpiff

    You’ve got the wrong picture posted, that’s the concept, it doesn’t look that good now! – never mind, the red one is up now. That’s probably the best angle, the front overhang is about a mile long.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Honda needs to come to their senses and offer an ICE only version of this car. It’ll never be a high volume seller owing to its segment but they’ll sure sell a lot more of them than they will as a Hybrid only model. Seems like Honda can’t remember their own previous successes.

    Now that the actual car is posted it is quite a let down from the concept at least viewed from this angle.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Honda, like GM, doesn’t really “get” hybrids.  They never really have.  Hybrid buyers are looking for a car that doesn’t require a compromise, and they’re by-and-large “normal” people, not enthusiasts.
     
    GM and Honda both think they know better, and are building the hybrids that they want (and, out of hubris, that they think the customer wants), rather than the ones that, eg, Toyota and Ford are already selling.  GM was under the addle-brained assumption that heavy truck buyers would be interested; Honda goes the other way, and seems to think that hybrid buyers want performance cars.
     
    If Honda had thought this through a little better and realized that hybrid buyers really want a vehicle that’s practical and economic, but a little weird, they’d have sold a hybrid Element, CR-V or Crosstour and probably done well by it, just as GM really ought to have sold hybrid Saab 9-3s or HHRs instead of Tahoes.
     
    Instead, they try stuff like this, and then are caught trying to play catch-up on Toyota’s turf when they realize their ego has led them astray.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

                      I think Honda is have basically realized they cannot, for patent or not-invented-here-syndrome reasons, compete with Toyota in hybrids at this time, so they’re just casting about wildly for a niche Toyota is not in. And “sporty cars” is about as Toyota safe a segment as any.
       
                      Also don’t discount the value of having hybrids prominently advertised, when it comes to selling larger, less fuel efficient, non hybrids. As “everyone” knows, “American” cars are not appropriate for the “environmentally conscious”, regardless of mileage. Honda sure don’t want that image amongst their CR & NYT reading Pilot intenders.
       
                      An IMA car will likely never match an Atkinson cycle engine, synergy drive, Prius for efficiency, but it’s just as hybrid, darnit! And for that tiny minority that would care, probably a lot more amendable to being fitted with a manual. Let’s just hope, for the price Honda will likely charge for this thing, the manual and clutch is Si / TSX / TL grade, and not from the cheap bin.

  • avatar
    krazykarguy

    I’m waiting for a CR-Z Si with the 2.0 or 2.4 making around 160-170 hp.
     
    Until then, meh.

  • avatar
    Ernie

    Dear Honda:
     
    It’s called aerodynamics.
     
    Love, Mazda
     
    :D

  • avatar
    Mullholland

    What is happening at Honda? Man is that car ugly. Looks like they went for the inspirational twin of the amazingly hideous Crosstour.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    I am so angry. The styling and interior are great, but everything else is a massive failure of epic proportions. This thing is an insult to the original CR-X. No power. No fuel economy. Expensive. I never thought that I would see something so pathetic come from Honda. Abort mission. All they have to do to make this a good car is put a K-series engine in it. Or offer a much cheaper version with the plain 1.5l.

  • avatar
    chrisgreencar

    Honda really needs to remember its heritage. What happened to this thing? Between the high cowl and extreme front overhang,  it looks like it has a wedgie.

  • avatar

    Is it a sporty car for hybrid buyers, or a hybrid car for sporty buyers?  It’s an important difference.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    I really hope Honda keep this out of the showrooms – it’s ugly and a bit pointless. But I get the feeling that it’ll go on sale regardless and be bought by people who:
    “…w anted something a bit sporty but wanted to respect the environment too, y’know man.”
    So it’ll probably sell well in my home town of Vancouver to the aging hippy population who want something cooler than a Prius.

  • avatar
    stuki

                    Once upon a time I had a Pug. Every time it had to slow down abruptly, that short body and heavy snout would cause it to do a stoppie and slam it’s nose into the ground. Poor thing……
     
                    If this one has an Si grade manual and clutch, and nice handling, it won’t be a bad car for urban commuters and college kids who can’t stand autos. It might even be the lone cheap, sporty Honda evading the suicidal maniac insurance premium for the sub 25 male demographic.

    • 0 avatar
      Demetri

      The handling probably won’t be all that.  It has the Fit’s suspension setup and about 150lbs of extra weight. I don’t even think it will be as sporty as a Scion tC. It certainly won’t be as fast; Honda is saying 9 seconds 0-60.

      This is basically the original Insight, but with much worse fuel economy.  And a lot heavier. I’m seriously worried about what’s going to happen to the next gen Civic, and whether we will even get an Si version at all.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    Agreed that the big schnoz on this thing seriously downgrades the sexy factor…Honda does seem to struggle with it’s hybrids…IMO, the market is speaking and buyers have HIGH expectations if they are gonna spend the extra money and go the hybrid route…they expect outstanding mileage (think Prius and Fusion) and little compromise in function…

    Mild hybrids with a higher purchase cost and only moderate mileage gains ain’t exactly selling like hotcakes…there are PLENTY of fun, “efficient enough”, better value non-hybrid options out there.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    HAA hahahahahahahahahaha!

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I don’t think the looks are a deal-breaker but is it sporty or, in some other way, compelling enough to overcome the mediocre mileage and limited seating?

  • avatar
    Power6

    This is not a very good job with this story, seems to me just an excuse to blast this vehicle. Also we all know the XFE can’t come close to the rated economy, it is an EPA test special.

    Honda are calling this the Sport Hybrid in the model name but there is no mention of that here. There appears to be some tilt toward performance here. I read that 1st-5th in the 6 speed box are optimized for performance  not economy, but you would never know that here I had to read Edmunds to find those things out.

    Nice objective analysis there.

    • 0 avatar
      ragnar danneskjold

      +1 Power6

      I was wondering when someone would point out this wasn’t meant to be a traditional hybrid.  Perhaps we should wait until there is an actual production model to compare to a similar vehicle.  As for what to compare it to, well, I would definitely not be any other hybrid out there right now.  It isn’t a standard sedan (prius) or meant to be strictly economical (volt).

  • avatar
    cory02

    Wow.  This is failure on a GM/Chrysler scale.

    I had entertained thoughts of getting  CR-Z as a semi-fun to drive commuter car but now all I want is answers:  how does the CR-Z get worse mileage than the Insight and why does Honda actually plan on selling it when its such a failure.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Maybe this vehicle (especially the CVT) will help offset the Crosstour’s lousy mileage, but it’s a lot of effort to level the CAFE numbers.

  • avatar
    wentzr

    For those wondering how the mileage of the cr-z could be rated so low—consider the fact that the ratings released thus far are in sport mode, not econ mode. Honda has kept the numbers the car is CAPABLE of getting under the radar after learning from the past.

    It’s a no-brainer.. remember how dissapointed all the asshats who bought a prius felt when they realized that although the car was CAPABLE of 60mpg it didn’t GET 60mpg like all of Toyota’s ad campaigns in 2004 claimed??

    I mean for a car that has three economy modes shouldn’t all you smarter-than-thou kids who hate everything manufactured be scratching your gear-heads wondering why the thus far released efficiency numbers have such a short range?!?! It aint rocket science!

    My last car which was a first gen honda insight got 36 mpg… when i drove it with the pedal to the metal in sport mode (yes the FIRST gen insight also has multiple driving modes) but it was also capable of getting 60-110 mpg depending on road conditions and driving methods while in normal “D” mode…

    And seriously… get real. The CRX got great gas mileage but it in no way “GOT 50 mpg”.. it was capable of reaching 50mpg but you’re not thinking straight if you doubt the CR-Z will also be capable of achieve 50mpg when driven the same way under the same road conditions in econ mode.

    anyway… just thought i should point this out since the car is already making massive waves in Japan as this realization about the actual achievable fuel efficiency of the car is sinking in.. . just wanted to save a few of you from putting a foot in your mouth after this car is released in the states this fall.. for LESS than $20,000.


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