By on July 19, 2010

It’s now way past bedtime, and I’m driving the new Honda CR-Z in one of those neighborhoods you wouldn’t be making your evening stroll in. Heads turn, necks stretch, fingers point. Blacked out windows of blacked out SUVs are rolled down. Everybody on the street seems to approve Honda’s new creation, but no one knows it’s a hybrid.

Context, as you know, is everything. Honda says the CR-Z is a sporty hybrid, and while the world of automotive marketing is often cynical, marketing a hybrid sports car is like attempting to sell water powder. Are we expected to hold our breaths towards the 45th mpg or for the last hairpin? Let’s find out.

The CR-Z is based off the Insight, which isn’t exactly a promising start as far as sportiness is concerned. Honda assures us this wasn’t just a copy-cut-paste job: the wheelbase is 4.5 inches shorter than the bread and butter hybrid, and the car itself is shorter by some 8 inches and also considerably wider and lower.

As with most of Honda’s modern designs, the CR-Z is very much a take it or leave it affair, and yes – compared to the concept the front end looks somewhat toned down. That’s not what matters, though. When you look at the CR-Z, you get the distinct notion that the designers had a clear image of the car they wanted from the get-go: this car simply looks like nothing else on the road. From the raked rear window inspired by the CR-X, to the pointy rear lights and bulges distributed in key areas – you’ll have no trouble finding this car in a Walmart parking lot.

The first thing you notice when you sit down in the CR-Z is how close your behind is to the ground. You sit very low in here. Properly low. Female companions are thus advised to avoid wearing skirts if riding shotgun. There are even more prices to be paid for the wowing exterior design: space. Front passengers will feel pretty intimate (if not claustrophobic), storage spaces are scarce, and my European-spec tester’s rear seats will make even grocery complain about headroom. Fortunately, American car journalists will be spared this rant: US-spec cars will come with the rear bench deleted in favor of extra storage space.

Having said that, when you don’t have to consider the rear passenger’s well-being, front legroom is sufficient for a plus sized adult. The trunk isn’t especially commodious – it’s 8.2 cubic feet in size with the seats in place – and the loading bay is high due to the batteries and full-size spare wheel laying underneath.

In best hybrid fashion, the instrument panel is designed with the ultimate control freak in mind. The 3D mishmash of gauges and indicators boldly hosts the rev counter and digital speedometer in an isolated central tunnel (so your wife can’t peek). The rest of the IP is cluttered with digital gauges: a battery charge meter, a fuel consumption indicator, a gearshift indicator and a bar showing whether the battery is being charged or assists the gas motor – along with the usual array of warning lights and standard gauges. Like with the Insight, the rev counter will light up in blue shades if you’re ruining the environment and lights up in cheery green if the mammals of the rain forest are happy with your driving. The central display will also be growing flowers over time if you keep it up.

Environmentalism aside, I found the entire setup a little overwhelming and distracting, especially at night when the entire car is gleaming with bright blue, red and green lights. Unfortunately, the flashy interior doesn’t manage to conceal the mediocre quality it shares with the Insight, and while all of the surfaces feel like they’ll last long after the last iceberg melts, they’re too cheap for a far of this breed.

See that? That’s a clutch pedal in a hybrid car. They’ve existed before (in the first-generation Insight, and Civic Hybrid), but rarely has as much been made of a manual-transmission option. American consumers will also be able to choose an optional CVT gearbox – but you really shouldn’t. This manual box is a magnificent unit by any measure, with nice, short and slick shifts and a buttery clutch. When you press the third pedal, the engine comes silently into life. Together with a 1.5 four cylinder unit lifted from the Fit, Honda’s IMA hybrid system generates a modest 124 horsepower on a weight figure of 2,568 pounds – not that far off from mother Insight, and all in all, not a very convincing figure.

Initial forward movement is surprisingly swift for the pedestrian near-10 second sprint-to-sixty figure, thanks to the assistance from the electric motor. In fact, the electric engine feels more like a small turbocharger rather than a fuel saver – especially in Sport mode, where the electric spinner provides more torque to the front wheels and throttle response is sharpened. The CR-Z’s engine is a short breather compared to traditional Honda performance motors – redlining at around 6,500 rpm – but there’s been a lot of effort to make it sound the part, so there is a considerable amount of not unpleasant engine noise penetrating the cabin in higher rpms.

The problem lies outside the first two short gears, where the CR-Z runs out of breath. There’s simply not enough midrange grunt to label this car a performance coupe, and under determined driving the battery runs out, rendering the CR-Z a little more than an overweight Fit (pun unintended. Honestly).

And it’s a real shame. No, the CR-Z handles nothing like the CR-X, and it shouldn’t – the CR-X was a different car for a different generation, and expecting the 2010 car to have the 1990 driving dynamics is like expecting to get satnav in a Hyundai Excel. But the truth is that when you get it up to speed, the CR-Z can bring a naughty smile on your face.

While the steering lacks feel, it’s fairly accurate and well-weighted, and due to the low ride height and relatively short suspension travel, body roll is also relatively modest. The CR-Z responds well to steering inputs, and feels agile and capable in the corners. Gather enough speed and leave the throttle, and you’ll even manage to induce some old school back slips. Unfortunately, CR-Z doesn’t manage to shake off the braking syndromes associated with hybrids. Thanks to its variable-pressure pedal, there’s not enough feel from the pedal hampering performance braking. The captain’s and navigator’s seats also don’t provide side bolstering for key areas such as the torso and shoulders.

But these are all small niggles compared to the major design flaw. The CR-Z’s biggest problem is that there is not enough straight-line performance to let you easily discover its positive characteristics, and you can really feel the chassis aching for more power.

So the CR-Z is not really a sporty car. But is it a good hybrid? After an intensive driving session, I averaged about 25 mpg. While this, if I’m blunt, sucks – remember that this was a pedal-to-the-metal drive along some mountainous roads in Sport mode, so the CR-Z shouldn’t have much problems hitting the 31/37 city/highway EPA cycle if can hold off the child in you. That’s not bad for a pretentious sporty coupe, but not really ground breaking as far as hybrids or diesels are concerned. When you’re into economy, you can switch to Eco or Normal modes. Both make the car feel more sluggish thanks to a blunter pedal response and less assistance from the electric motor – you’d be hard pressed (ha!) to switch back into one of these modes after driving in Sport.

Honda’s IMA system is what’s referred to as a mild hybrid, which means the electric motor can’t propel the car on its own. On stops, the gas engine powers down and resumes work when the clutch is engaged. There’s no noticeable shudder as the engine coughs into life, but unfortunately for those living in warm climates – like this humble author – with the engine, gone is the air conditioning compressor until the traffic light turns green.

The CR-Z’s livability is a curious mix of good and bad. On one hand, the ride is impressive both in town and on the freeway, and – dare I say it – even better than the Insight’s. It’s also easy to drive thanks to the smooth gearbox and precise clutch, and refinement is good – you feel like you’re going around 15 mph slower than you actually are.

On the other hand, that raked rear window totally ruins rear visibility (while greatly increasing the sky view), to the extent that even the simplest parking maneuvers require an additional pair of helping hands or a good set of parking sensors, and the low ride height makes entering and exiting the CR-Z a thoroughly inelegant affair. I also hope Honda have a better answer than ‘airbags’ to the complete abundance of grip handles front and back.

Is the Honda CR-Z a sporty coupe? Not really. Is it an exceptionally good hybrid? Afraid not. After driving Honda’s newest hybrid and only real sporty car in its lineup, I returned with more questions than strict answers and criticism.

In many ways, the CR-Z is a disappointment. Aside from its exterior design, it seems to be doing all its tasks halfheartedly, and the resulting feeling is that this car has a lot of unfulfilled potential. Fifty more horses could have made it a true enthusiast’s choice in a segment rarely represented in the US. Ten more MPGs would have made it a just ambassador in the hybrid club.

But in a different sense, the CR-Z is one of those ‘first’ cars, like the first Caravan or the original Grand Cherokee. While Honda surely was not the first to toss ‘hybrid’ and ‘sport’ into the same sentence, they were the first to massively produce and market such a car. It does fall between the chairs, and in many ways is inferior to its more traditional rivals – like the VW Scirocco TDI in Europe – but it represents a future. And if that’s the future of hybrids, color me green with envy.

Honda provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

This review courtesy of icar.co.il

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127 Comments on “Review: 2011 Honda CR-Z...”


  • avatar
    jmo

    But is it a good hybrid? After an intensive driving session, I averaged about 25 mpg. While this, if I’m blunt, sucks

    How do you figure that “sucks”? It’s seems quite good – wouldn’t a civic be down in the teens after such a high speed mountain run?

    • 0 avatar
      sfdennis1

      I’d also say the mileage pretty much sucks for a hybrid, because with a 10+ second 0-60 time, having any fun with this supposedly sporty little car will mean wringing the snot out of it…and suffering the mileage consequences.

      No faster than a Prius? Worse mileage than several hot diesel hatches sold in Europe? VW’s 1.4 liter twin-charger gas engines seem to get at least similar mileage, and offer way more power/fun. From another manufacturer other than Honda, this “first of it’s kind” sports hybrid might get a pass as a lukewarm first attempt, but it’s yet another in a series of dissapointing products from Honda which show they’ve lost their way…sad, just sad.

      It might sell in decent numbers, and I’ve yet to see one in person, so the styling may translate better in person than in photos, but I’m still mourning the loss of a once great car company. Honda’s used to routinely be best in class…light, nimble, efficient and fun to drive. This thing has bad compromise written all over it, not as much fun as the old CR-X, nowhere near as fuel efficient as the original 2 seat Insight…sorry, that’s just a fail.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I’d agree. 25mpg while being thrashed isn’t bad at all; a Fit will drop well below that, as will any diesel or gas subcompact.

      The problem is that this car, when stuck in urban stop-and-go, won’t be able to pull the numbers that the Prius can. That’s where Honda’s hybrid drivetrain falls down. It won’t do badly, mind, but it won’t do quite as well, either.

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      As stated, it’s pretty good for the manner it was driven at. I only stated it was bad because you’re not going to be getting these numbers on the morning commute.

      The EPA numbers are fine, but a modern diesel – or even VW’s 1.4 TSI – can get there without the entire fuss.

    • 0 avatar
      itsgotvtakyo

      I see 25mpg in my Integra GS-R in 70/30 city/highway while driving like a lunatic most of the time. Comparable fuel economy, less space and less power in a much newer vehicle sounds a lot like failure to me.

    • 0 avatar
      KGrGunMan

      i drive a 1988 toyota mr2 with a 115hp 1.6ltr i drive the heck out of my car wot everywhere and have modded it to get bad gas milage with sticky 225 wide tires (came with 185 all seasons) and i get 24mpg when really giving it the beans (other people with stock mr2’s not driving hard get into the low 30’s)

      23 years and an electric motor got them 1 mpg more while handling worse and being less fun, i’ll be it more practical.

      super fail.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      23 years and an electric motor got them 1 mpg more while handling worse and being less fun, i’ll be it more practical.

      That’s more than a little disingenuous.

      Try this: drive your MR2 into a concrete wall at 50km/h without braking. Assuming you survive, try the same in the CR-Z. Now, what was that about “fail” again?

    • 0 avatar
      itsgotvtakyo

      What’s disingenuous is suggesting superior safety makes up for the vehicles apparent performance inferiority to a vehicle two decades its senior. I’d much rather not be in any vehicle when it crashes into a concrete wall at 50km/h and I’d like to believe that a modicum of skill, defensive driving and just plain old knowing when it’s the time and place to push my vehicles prevents me from doing just that. This really isn’t about the car and performance, it’s about nanny states and personal responsibility. Instead of forcing people to skillfully and responsibly drive their vehicles our culture has decided it’s better to keep their stupidity from killing them.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      …And when one of those idiots blows through a red light and clobbers you in the side, breaking your legs and crushing your chest, will you sing the same tune about skill obviating the usefulness of vehicle safety?

      In other news, I flog the ever-loving piss out of my 3500lb saab 9-5 luxobarge, do 0-60 in 6.8, and return 23mpg. And my climate control silently maintains 68f on a 90 degree day at stop lights.

    • 0 avatar
      KGrGunMan

      psarhjinian:
      “That’s more than a little disingenuous.

      Try this: drive your MR2 into a concrete wall at 50km/h without braking. Assuming you survive, try the same in the CR-Z. Now, what was that about “fail” again?”

      I’m an aw11 enthusiast and I have real world experience with this. I own 3 mr2’s two 88’s and an ’86 or I should say I’ve owned two ’88s because going up a mountain road I hit some black ice and then hit a rock the size of an F-150, I was going 35mph when I hit, thats 56km/h. I moved the rock less then 6in (15cm) judging by the dirt marks around the rock. I got out totally unharmed, not even a bruise. Being an ’88 it had zero air bags, I was wearing my seat belt and I was fine.

      One thing you may not realize is there is no engine in the front of an mr2, it’s a big crumple zone. It is a very small car but it takes a front end impact like a champ, yes the car was totaled but as far as insurance is concerned the car was only worth $1,500 to start with so totalling it out does not mean a lot and while we’re talking about it look at the cost of insuring a $1,500 23 year old 4cyl vs any new car.

      The joy of nanny free driving makes me want to drive ’80s cars for the rest of my life, that and the steering feel, yes a toyota with steering feel.

    • 0 avatar
      itsgotvtakyo

      @Perisoft-No, I’d be hoping I was in my TSX and not my caged Civic or Integra. Bouncing my head off of a metal tube would probably put an end to things pretty quickly. If I had time I would probably motherf**k Honda for trying to be cute with the CR-Z instead dropping in some variant of the K-series, forcing me to drive wildly inappropriate vehicles on the street when they could have built a better one at the factory. Look, I get it, it’s the culture we live in; there’s simply no way Honda or any other manufacture could get away with NOT having this stuff. My problem is the ham fisted attempt at a “sports car” when they have all the tools to build a real one. Say you can remove a net of 100lbs from the manual transmission car by removing all the hybrid gear and dropping in one of the 2 liter K engines… 200hp in a 2500lbs car would get you the performance the enthusiasts want and the fuel efficiency that’s being demanded. Honda wins, the enthusiasts win and the average consumer wins. Position it in the lineup exactly where the CRX was with HF and Si models and now we’re talking about a car I would buy. Instead they’re alienating the enthusiasts and failing to impress the tree huggers.

      Your defense of this car is that it’s safer than the CRX without refuting it’s inferior in every other way. Well nobody’s going to disagree. The car isn’t lame because it’s safe, it’s lame because it could have been so much better with no real downside.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeDude

      I’d speculate that the outcome of driving either an MR2 or a CR-Z into a concrete wall at 50km/h is all a matter of random chance. If you’re lucky, you’ll escape unharmed; if not, well… Yes, all them numerous airbags and ‘advanced engineering platforms’ and stuff probably make cars a little safer, but mostly these are marketing tricks to create an illusion of safety.

      Another question is: Is all the extra weight really due to the presence of safety features? Somehow I feel not. I’d rather suspect that we should thank poor engineering and bean counting. Don’t think too hard, go with the easiest solution, and call it a day. This is the motto, and I am pretty sure this was the motto of everyone involved in the development of the CR-Z. Hence the half-baked product.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      IMHO, the mileage sucks too. I flog the crap out of my Miata and have a really hard time getting the mileage below 25mpg. Honda should concentrated on making this a lightweight fun car that met current safety standards with a conventional engine. I suspect they could have gotten much, much better performance…both 0-60, and fuel mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      ATF

      An informative article, well written. 

      I drove a CR-Z automatic today and had mixed feelings.  Rear visibility was terrible, and no sunroof option, but I did think the car was peppy enough, nimble enough and comfortable enough for my 6 foot 230 pound athletic body, (so was my MGB).  Now the real issue for me concerning the gas mileage, was I owned a 1986 CRX si, with a 5 speed and electric sunroof 25 years ago, and was able to nurse 44 out of it on the open highway, A/C blasting.  My 81′ Toyota Starlet tiny box, also with A/C and 5 speed could accomplish the exact same thing, and my 95′ Accord Sedan also with 5 speed can return over 30 mpg on the open road.  It’s hard to believe the CR-Z can only manage 25.  A big disapointment after all these years. 

      What have Honda engineers been doing when they should have been at work?

    • 0 avatar
      CR-Z OWNER

      I am getting about 39 mpg on the average so far.
      This is because I am paying attention to all the dials it gives you.
      Yes, I can get in the 20’s but that is when I am zooming in the red.
      As jmo said, the other cars you are comparing to would get less than 20.
      Take a crappy Mazda Miata (20/29).  It doesn’t have much power either and when you have “an intenstive driving session” it gets less than 20.
      The problem with comparing this car to those of the 80’s and 90’s is that the cars of the 80’s and 90’s didn’t have to have all the safety equipment the new cars do.  Compare the weight of these cars.
      I bought a Chevrolet Metro years ago that got 45-50 mpg (40 was REALLY BAD).  I then bought one 10 years later (the exact same car) only then if it got 40 mpg it was going downhill.  The one 10 years later was much heavier and much safer.
      This is why comparing cars from the last century just doesn’t work.
      I have really had to work to get only 25 mph — that is, I have to drive it like it is a sports car and not a hybrid.  In this case, look at the rpm — very high.  Once I went back to driving it like a hybrid and paying attention to the gauges it gave me, that 25mpg went up to 35mpg pretty quickly.
      This is not a 35mpg sports car.  It is a 40mpg hybrid or a 25mpg sports car.  It depends on the way you drive it.  Even at that, it gets better mpg than a similar sports car (like the Mazda Miata) when you are in “an intensive driving session.”
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

    • 0 avatar

      In the sense that my regular gas car of 7 years gets that much just city mileage and probably has slightly better performance (despite being slow for its class. It’s a 2003 Toyota Celica). So my car is more fun to drive and gets just as good gas mileage (better if you ask some people on the Celica forum, I tend to have the lowest mpg of the people on that forum).
      I’d consider 25 mpg a failure if you are looking at it from a hybrid should get exceptional gas mileage. There’s a Civic Hatchback of one year that gets rated 30 in the city mileage. One of the CRX’s got 50 mpg according to a lot of people.

    • 0 avatar
      mongst

      My 1990 Honda CRX DX averaged mid to high 30s [mpg] when I drove it through the hills and knobs of southern Indiana. It never got below 30 mpg when I owned it regardless of how I drove. My 1992 Accord on the other hand gets about 27-35 mpg and I could easily see 25-30 mpg with spirited driving.
      I agree with the review that 25mpg sucks.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Looks good + Honda badge = good sales

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Fortunately, American car journalists will be spared this rant: US-spec cars will come with the rear bench deleted in favor of extra storage space

    Crap. I actually liked the idea of this as a second car when my Fit’s term expires. I knew it would be cramped, but I hoped I could swing it on the grounds I could seat my kids in the rear.

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      Trust me, you wouldn’t want to seat your kids in there. I’m 5.75 feet and after spending some time in the back seat, I spent the next day gripping my back every time I had to get up. I didn’t elaborate (since those seats won’t appear in the US CR-Zs), but it’s very difficult to enter and exit the rear bench and even children will find it cramped. The seats themselves are hard and uncomfortable, and there are no grip handles whatsoever.

      Hands down, this car has the worst rear seat bench of every coupe I know. It even beats the TT. Compare that to the spacious, almost Golf-like space of the Scirocco.

    • 0 avatar

      I also winced at that. It’s not that the rear seat is functionally useful — it’s that its presence has a soothing effect on insurance companies, who think that anything with only two seats is some kind of exotic sports car. I’m not particularly excited about my Mazda3 sedan’s rear doors (which are too narrow for my aging parents to use gracefully, anyway), but they save me hundreds a year in insurance premiums over a coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      At the very least I was hoping that I could stick a car-seat back there. Oh, well, more’s the pity…

  • avatar
    Brian E

    The CR-Z seems more to me like a young professional’s commuter car than a sporty hybrid. It’s the type of car that Honda stopped making when the Integra was discontinued in favor of the rice-rocket attitude RSX. In a car like this, speed is not the ultimate imperative. Good city handling, small size for easy city parking, just enough interior storage space (helped by the deletion of the rear seats in the American model), and a slick but durable interior that’s likely to age well should appeal to buyers who want something with a little style and would prefer to hold on to it for at least ten years. The fact that it’s a hybrid seems almost incidental.

    Honda has already dropped a few hints about a future Si version, so those looking for more power would be well advised to wait for that. Personally, I’d consider the current model as is – that is, if my current TSX needed to be replaced, which it doesn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian E

      One thing I forgot to mention – in Europe there’s a GT trim level with sunroof and leather seats. I have no idea why they don’t bring that to the US. Hopefully after a year or two Honda will relent, as they did when they finally started offering leather on the Civic.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I’d rather have the CRX parked next to it…

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Big fan of death traps are you?

    • 0 avatar
      thats one fast cat

      +1 threeer. I had an 88 CRX (Si, natch) that may be the best car I have ever owned out of the 30+ that have graced my garage. Fantastic vehicle — I put 100K on it, never replaced anything except normal wear items, got 32-35 on the highway.

      The two cars placed side by side sum up with what is wrong with car design today generally. Too big, not nearly efficient enough, and just plain ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      @ jmo: Ever driven a CRX? It is one of the best handling cars ever made – and the cheapest of the best handling cars ever made.

      It is also a much older car compared to today’s more modern designs – almost all cars back then were death traps with some exceptions. The CRX did have one great advantage in safety which you may not know…the ability to better avoid an accident.

  • avatar
    mjz

    An overstyled, overpriced underperformer.

  • avatar
    afuller

    See that? That’s the world’s first clutch pedal in a hybrid car.

    Seriously? I guess I better go outside and tear the clutch pedal out of my 2000 Insight.

  • avatar

    Why can’t a current car handle like the original CRX? I’m not ready to let Honda off so easily.

    This car better ride better than the Insight. The Insight rides horribly.

    The Insight does have one clear strength, though: reliability. Owners have reported very few repairs via TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey.

    For details on the survey, and to sign up to help with it:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Why can’t a current car handle like the original CRX?

      Because there’s no current car like the CRX. The closest we get in the North America are the much-taller Yaris three-door and the rather-expensive Mini Cooper, both of which are reasonably fun to drive by virtue of their mass.

      This car should not have been called the CR-something, if for no other reason than it would have kept the gearhead whinging down.

      The truth of the matter, though, is that people would not buy a modern CRX. Oh, they’ll say they will, but they’ll subsequently complain about noise and fuel economy, and features, and how the next-car-one-size-up or ten-year-old-luxury-car is a better value. And the manufacturers will never, ever make a car when it only sells a few copes a year.

    • 0 avatar
      L'avventura

      It won’t handle like the old CRX because this car weighs a good bit more. We have to understand the CRX weighed 760-820kgs, and only the SiR barely hitting a metric ton; that’s Lotus Elise-like weight. In addition, the car was fairly low to the ground.

      But the CRX is one order smaller then the CRZ. I’m over 6-foot and my personally memories of the CRX is that I fit, but was never comfortable in it. This CRZ has even got rear-seats, probably not comfortable, but it’ll likely help sales. Practicality was always a drag on CRX sales. The car faded because people weren’t buying it. And the low-ride height of the car wouldn’t fit in the modern day ocean of SUVs.

      Let’s also remember that the commercial success of the CRX is dubious. People have fond memories for the AE/AF/EF versions of the Si and SiR but not the other iterations, especially the DelSol. Anything below the Si CRX was painfully slow.

      Hopefully this is the CRZ “DX” and we have yet to see the “Si” or even an “SiR” of this car.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I am wondering if Honda ought not have called this the Insight, and the current Insight, oh, I don’t know, something. I don’t think enthusiasts would have complained since the original Insight was also small, slow, somewhat compromised and likely to remain a niche model.

    This is the same logic applies to the Taurus SHO: call it, oh, the Five Hundred Sport and I don’t think people would care.

    • 0 avatar
      whynotaztec

      Good point about the names, I think they really do lead to unrealistic expectations. I didn’t like the styling of this until now, when I saw the review I really wanted to like the car, I was thinking of a modern and sportier version of the original Insight. But this review totally turned me off from the car.

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      Unfortunately, Ford and Honda aren’t the only manufacturers to resurrect great names from the past and ruin them with mediocre cars. Just ask Peugeot how it murdered the GTi badge with the 207 GTi.

    • 0 avatar
      campocaceres

      Agreed. This car seems to be like the true successor to the original Insight. Aside from the gaping snout/maw (looks like a nose to me), I would say much of the car resembles the old Insight more so than the CR-X.

      If Honda had named this the Insight and their other hybrid something else (i dunno, how about the Honda Me2), it probably would’ve set better expectations.

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    It’s kind of funny reading the reviews of recent Honda models and the reactions of readers to them. The CRZ is a good example. This car is made for young Asians, period. It is a hybrid, which is cool and the kids who will be driving them (note I do not say “buying”) don’t give a rat’s-rump how many MPG it will get (because gas is still pretty cheap, not like these kids will be paying for it anyway), nor do they give a flyin’-you-know-what if the manual uses more gas, since 99.99999% percent of them will be automatics. In addition, the target market doesn’t even know what a CVT is, and could care less if said CVT doesn’t shift like a “conventional automatic.”

    This is because the guys here, and elsewhere, panning this Honda are never going to buy one. Middle aged (mostly) white men, such as myself, are comparing this car to the CRX which was made before most of the people who will buy the CRZ were born. I deal with young Asians all the time in my business. For them, this is the coolest of the cool and a car they can easily get Ma-ma and Ba-ba to fork out for, because it is safe, not too fast and doesn’t cost an arm and a chicken foot. The kids who want these cars are into flashing lights, things that go bleep and sat-nav so they can find the Hello Kitty Store. They don’t care how “linear” the steering is; they want a car they and their friends will consider trendy and cool.

    Do these kids want 200+ hp? Nope, Ba-ba would never allow it and here in Vancouver driving fast on a novice licence means a two year suspension in the blink of an eye. Hell, we have Ferraris all over the place here with N signs in the back window, streaking down Cambie Street at a blistering 50 km/h.

    Honda has done some cool things. When the new Civic came out in 2006, fogies (my age) wailed about the design as being “too radical” and then Honda sold about a bazillion of the things. If you want staid and boring, your local Toyota store can serve this up in spades but for young people, Hondas are infinitely cooler than Toyotas. Honda is keeping the youth market happy and then they step up the ladder, because in Soviet Canuckistan anyway, Honda has 74% retention. That’s pretty smart, eh?

    • 0 avatar
      Brian E

      I don’t see very many people panning the CR-Z here. Certainly the review didn’t, though it wasn’t glowingly positive. But then it’s not surprising that your comment isn’t especially relevant to the review since it also appears word for word on Canadian Driver today.

      So did you just copypasta your own comment because you thought it was good, or do you have an interest in this? Just wondering.

    • 0 avatar
      lawmonkey

      I’m not sure this quite calls for broad racial-based profiling, but it would be fair to say that this is a car designed for a specific market, and one that many people are not a part of. Still, the Element and xB were also designed for specific youth-oriented markets, and sold well to people WAY outside the intended demographic. Time will tell.

    • 0 avatar
      atlas_snored

      a rambling, off-topic post regarding racial perceptions by an old white guy–it’s so bad, it might as well be satire.

      in case you haven’t noticed, a lot of legitimately fast cars are not driven anywhere close to their potential. porsches may have been built for speed, but that doesn’t stop people (from all races, creeds, and colors) from using them to cruise around the city (and to be seen). conversely econoboxes may have been built to look sporty. it’s really not that big a deal. a civic with mag wheels and a spoiler may not fool the connoisseur, but it’s still much more practical than the whole SUV craze.

      back to the original topic: the cr-z’s downfall is its drivetrain. honda’s hybrid technology simply is not as advanced as the one from arch-rival toyota. the cr-z’s electric motor is an improvement from the one used on the insight. but unfortunately it still is relatively mediocre in terms of both performance and economy.

  • avatar
    rolando

    Why not a 2 door, sloped hatchback FIT?

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    I wonder if every manufacturer who adopts the “gaping maw” grill opening has to send a check to Ingolstadt. And to be fair, shouldn’t Audi have to share such income with Ford (Edsel)?

    IOW, not diggin’ the styling. A Fit is cheaper, more functional and is only slightly-less fuel efficient (30/combined). I mean, if you’re going to drive an ugly compact, why not save several thousand dollars when doing so?

    Furthermore, perhaps Honda ought to sort out it’s other slow-selling hybrids before embarking upon this dalliance. Honda has traditionally succeeded by giving buyers quality alternatives (Accord/Civic) to the Camry & Corolla tandem. However, they just can’t get it right when it comes to challenging the Prius. Message to Honda: Create a true competitor, increase hybrid sales volume and then engage in flights of fancy. Right now, you’re doing things backwards…

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      I agree with your comparison to the Fit, except that I believe buyers of the two are not the same market. Not that many people who would want the sporty coupe look of the CRZ would want a bread-box car like a Fit, nor would many people who want the practicality of a Fit give up 3 seats and a bunch of cargo space to drive a CRZ.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Honda’s “mild” hybrids (like GM) never seem to be able to deliver the magnitude of MPG gains to justify their weight and cost. Concentrating on reducing weight and losing the hybrid equipment may have been a better option.

    http://jalopnik.com/5183941/some-vtec-with-that-insight-sir

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The problem lies outside the first two short gears, where the CR-Z runs out of breath…

    Question: what’s the RPM at 120km/h in fifth? I ask because it sounds like this car might not have the Fit’s ridiculously short final drive. That car can pull (for a given value of “pull”) in fifth because of Honda’s stupid gearing.

  • avatar
    thalter

    I’m hoping the Lexus CT200h does a better job of bridging the performance/hybrid gap than the CR-Z does. If it can crack off a sub 8-second 0-60 while returning 30+ MPG, I’m sold. Heck, even the HS250h will do 0-60 in less than 9 seconds.

    I do have to give the CR-Z props for the CRX styling cues.

  • avatar
    krazykarguy

    I’m still on the fence about this one. I had a ’90 CRX Si, and that car still stands out as my favorite.

    The CR-Z definitely looks 100% the part (maybe on a 120% size scale), and has the Honda DNA to back up the looks. But a Hybrid? It seems like Honda is starting at the wrong end of the development scale. This car should have been released as follows:
    Honda CR-Z DX – 16″ Steel wheels w/caps, 1.8 liter motor from the Civic line, possibly detuned for fuel economy, 6-speed transmission, maybe use all of the empty battery space for a huge gas tank?
    Honda CR-Z HF – This is what the above hybrid should be
    Honda CR-Z Si – this can be the hot rod/handler, with the 197hp Si K20Z3 2.0 engine & LSD, better seats, more options, 17″ alloys, moon/sunroof,etc.

    Hopefully Honda gets this right in the next model year or so, or the CR-Z is going to be a novelty in their line that wears off quickly.

    • 0 avatar
      Canucknucklehead

      Hybrids are cool. Hybrids sell to 20 somethings as readily as soy-frappappuccino’s at Starbuck’s. Hence the hybrid drivetrain.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      I agree. I don’t buy the “hybrids are cool” argument though. They are cool for the 5% of the population that consists of overly green granola heads, but most people would prefer a little more power. What drives this model is the coming fleet CAFE standard increases in 2014. In the next couple of years (in the U.S. anyway) we’re likely to see most high volume cars get less powerful and slower. The new Infiniti G25 will rapidly eclipse the G37 in sales. The upcoming 3 series is expected to be detuned as well. Audi already dropped the V-6 from the A4. I expect the next gen Accord and Camry will finally shrink, so that buyers legitimately can opt for the 4 banger.

      In any event, it is good looking (“sporty” as my wife would say) and will sell because every other mass market hybrid is ugly and bland by comparison.

  • avatar
    campocaceres

    Good review– I enjoyed it a lot! The sarcastic environmental digs tickled my funny bone– and I tend to fall on the green side of the spectrum. You really do need to fix that glaring error of that being the first hybrid with a clutch, though.

    I’m glad to see a review of this car because I’m interested in it. I was very interested when the concept came out, less interested when the production shots came out, and less interested now that I’m starting to read reviews on it.

    Can’t help but look at the front end and see it as the “diet” version of the concept’s crisp angles. I am also surprised how quickly the “star Trek” interior styling is aging. It was cool in the Civic and the Fit, but I’m already getting tired of it. The rear end still looks good though.

    I guess I will wait and see if things improve in the next couple of years. So far I am mostly disappointed. And really, no A/C at stoplights? That would be an absolute deal-breaker for this Texan.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    It will be interesting to see how well this car sells. In many ways it seems to me Honda answered a question that nobody asked but I’m not in tune with the youth market/younger demographics segment that I’m guessing is the primary target market.

    IMO the car is too slow, expensive and the mpg is too low to justify the price difference of a Fiesta (as an example). Not sure about how the two seater issue will play out but I don’t think it’s an advantage.

    If the interior is a similar level to the Insight (and it sounds like it is) that means a crap interior. I was quite surprised when I looked at the Insight how cheap the interior looked. Not competitive with anything close to its price.

    Great review, enjoyed reading it.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    >>”See that? That’s the world’s [second… the original Insight was available with a stick] ”

    Actually, third, the unloved Accord hybrid had a manual as well.

    This CRZ would have benefited from a high-revving engine Honda is known for with the additional of a parallel hybrid IMA. The major complaint with typically Honda high-rpm engine is that they have power when you rev it but they don’t have low-end torque.

    An IMA system then would have been a match made in heaven then. Electric motors have max-torque at 0 rpm. The hybrid system would have covered the greatest deficiency of high-revving engines. But instead they stuck an Insight engine into it.

    Regardless, the CRZ is clearly a car made for Japan. Hybrids sell in Japan, Japanese consumers don’t care about 0-60 times due to narrow roads and draconian speeding cameras, ‘second car’ price tag.

    Hopefully, Honda will follow this CRZ up with an “Si” or “Type-R” model with power more fitting US driving styles.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    The next Paseo. Fail.

  • avatar

    Honda’s approach with the CR-Z seems quite forward-looking to me, albeit still a bit underwhelming. Honda is hoping to attract buyers with a sporty design, that “just so happens to be” a hybrid too.

    If that’s the case — and if they’re successful, a BIG ‘if’ — it will represent a pretty large paradigm shift in marketing hybrid vehicles.

    Definitely classier than Toyota’s spaceship Prius and Gov’t Motors’ “LOOK AT ME! I’M A HYBRID!” stickers on Tahoes and ‘Slades.

  • avatar
    lawmonkey

    Curious about the rev hang that was such an issue in the latest Civic Si, where the engine would stay the same speed for a heartbeat after the clutch pedal was pressed before the revs would finally fall. Although toned down with later software update, this is still present – when driven back to back with my other manual car, it’s irritating. I have heard, but not verified, that the Fit has similar behavior. Does the CR-Z have this issue?

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    You were very cruel parking the CR-Z next to a CR-X. The CR-X looks a hundred times better.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    By “abundance of grip handles” do you mean absence? The RSX didn’t have grip handles either, and I’m pretty sure it didn’t have A-pillar airbags. I like Honda’s recent exterior styling, but not their interiors. Pity.

    I’m in this car’s market segment and will consider it, though it’ll probably lose out to a four seat hatchback (I have a two seater right now but I’m getting married soon and have begun making Home Depot runs). I’ve spent my whole life in cars with fewer than 145hp and a weight just under the CR-Z’s. Compared to those, 25mpg under hard driving is alright, maybe slightly above average, but it’s not spectacular. The emissions better be awesome (yes, I do care) because there don’t seem to be any other advantages to the hybrid drivetrain.

  • avatar
    tparkit

    Performance doesn’t matter because it’s a chick car, pure and simple.

    Younger women will feel cute in it, and older women will feel all young and techno (in a vague but still-satisfying way, like they did when they bought an iPhone).

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Somewhere in Honda, someone has already drafted the post-mortem news release, “Due to surprisingly little demand, Honda announced today that their CR-Z model will be discontinued….”

  • avatar
    mdwheary

    Should have named it CR-Zzzzzzzzzz.

  • avatar
    Zombo

    I have to agree with those who say the nostalgic people who claim they would buy a current version of the CRX would most definately NOT after a test drive . I had a 88 CRX Si for two and a half years and while I liked(loved it at first) the car – the long reach for the steering wheel with the seat all the way back was ridiculous , no power windows or cruise , the car’s short roller skate wheelbase would have it practically flying off the road going over bumps on the freeway , definately not the best car on wet roads and the last straw was coming down a small hill in the winter with a light coating of snow on the ground and having the rear end sliding around (coasting in 1st gear) twice so the front end ran into the curb -thank god no one was parked curbside that night ! Looking for a fuel efficient car 9 years ago I took an 89 HF model out on the freeway for a test drive and it was downright scary , it seemed ancient even by the then standards of 2001 .

    I had the modern version of the CRX though , with it’s tiny useless back seat the RSX Type S was as close to that car as you could possibly get in current times . Since it was discontinued it looks like all the people pining about for their old CRX didn’t buy that car either . Maybe the Hyundai Veloster for the CRX fans , but I doubt that will measure up to the flawed car they claim they want as they’ll slam it for many of the same issues the CRX also had . Now the Scirocco TDI , THAT I’d like to see come stateside !

    http://blogs.insideline.com/straightline/2009/07/il-exclusive-2012-hyundai-veloster-will-get-140-hp-and-direct-injection.html

  • avatar
    srogers

    I’d guess that the vast majority of people who are pining for the old CR-X are now too arthritic and fat to fit in one.

    And on the top of their list of “must haves” for their next car are big-gulp size cup holders, a big GPS screen, and cooled seats for their sweaty porcine butts.

    Face it, none of you were going to buy the CR-Z for real even it had 400hp and handled like a Lotus. But keep complaining.

    • 0 avatar
      Canucknucklehead

      I would also wager that the majority of the people who will actually who will actually buy a CRZ were not born, or were in diapers, when the CRX debuted.

    • 0 avatar
      Demetri

      I’m only 24 and I worship the Hondas of yore, especially the CRX. I owned an Integra GS-R when I was 18. The RSX and last two generations of Preludes are probably my favorite sport compacts.

      I was very seriously considering purchasing the CRZ when I saw the concept, but once they announced that it would be hybrid only I immediately dismissed it. I really only expected a two seater coupe, sportier bent version of the Fit, for a little bit more money than the Fit. I would have bought that car.

    • 0 avatar
      buzzliteyear

      I’d guess that the vast majority of people who are pining for the old CR-X are now too arthritic and fat to fit in one.

      Hey! I resemble…er, resent..yeah, RESENT that remark…:-D..

  • avatar
    shortthrowsixspeed

    my first car was an ’88 CRX, and i loved every minute in that car. but i wouldn’t buy one if they sold it today. the interior was cheap, it was noisy on the highway, and it had a glovebox for a backseat. that said, I also won’t buy a car that lacks what the CRX had. a good driving experience, trouble free ownership, and decent fuel economy. Everyone’s right, the CRZ is not the new CRX. You get closer to the mark comparing it to a Fit.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    The more I think about this car I don’t think it will sell very well. I think a lot of those that may have bought it will pass because it’s a two seater and I think a lot of younger buyers that would like to own it aren’t financially capable. Honda should have an ICE model around $15k base and should have kept the minimal backseat in the U.S.

    • 0 avatar
      jcp2

      The minimal back seat would have been appreciated when zipping around Baltimore with three guys and one CRX. Guess who got to sit in the hatch? We had a group of friends who had between the three of them a CRX, a Rabbit GTI, and a Scirocco. The only time I got to drive was when borrowing one of my friend’s sisters IROC. Talk about outmatched. I couldn’t keep up.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    Well, I for one would like classic Honda handling and am still driving the Integra until Honda figures it out again.

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    Oh, this thing is such a piece of shit it’s sad to observe. Slow, ugly, cramped, heavy, uneconomical, expensive. It depresses me to discuss the vehicle, so I won’t.

    • 0 avatar
      ConejoZing

      “Slow, ugly, cramped, heavy, uneconomical, expensive.”

      It is. It really is. Such truth. Except maybe for the ugly portion. Maybe rephrase that to a kind of awkward trying to be innovative.

      CR-Z… Pay ouch level money for a car that is cramped and can neither perform or be a real hybrid. A cheaper, base level, completely stock 2.5 engine VW Golf will outperform this CR-Z (undoubtedly in the 0-60 department).

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    You know, Jack, as a former car salesman, you should know there is really only one question that really matters in the car biz:

    “Will it sell?”

    My bet is it will sell like hot cakes and make dealers lots of moolah in accessories.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    Who wants a sports car with a 10 second 0-60?

    Honestly, I think it would be great to see how a Prius would match up with this car. Have a slalom, lateral grip, 0-60, 0-100, 1/4 mile, and MPG while doing all of these. See who the real winner is. I don’t know if the CRZ would come out on top. Heck, through the Volt and Leaf in there too. I can see it now, Hybrid vs EV Smack Down.

    Sorry, I have to pass on this one.

    • 0 avatar

      I was smoking V-6 Mustangs in a 2L Neon with no turbo or nitro and yet look how many were sold. Nobody cares about 0-60 times really. Most people just want the car to feel right.

    • 0 avatar
      Canucknucklehead

      Actually, all gearheads want a $20k car with 400 hp with a leather interior. But go to a Honda dealer and ask what they sell: you’ll find that 80% of what goes out the door is a Civic DX with automatic and floor mats at about $18k including freight and PDI. No 400 hp in those and their owners could care less, too.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Who wants a sports car with a 10 second 0-60?

      Quite a lot of Miata owners, anyone who bought an AE86, most people who bought sports cars during the 1980s, just about all affordable European, ahem, “hot hatches” made before the last five years.

      I know what you mean, but when the Toyota Sienna can dust more than a few “sports cars” and the Camry or Accord can make exotics from not too long ago sweat, perhaps speed doesn’t really matter as much as we think?

      That said, this is probably not very sporty car.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Psar,
      Do you think this will sell well in Europe where hatches have more room than this? I agree, that in Europe, the times make more sense, but I couldn’t do this car in the old U S of A. Too slow.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Do you think this will sell well in Europe where hatches have more room than this?

      I think it will do marginally better, but not because it’s a hatch. It’ll do better because Europeans pay a higher price for cars and because they’re getting a back seat, notional as it is, and because cars this small aren’t a novelty.

      I agree, that in Europe, the times make more sense, but I couldn’t do this car in the old U S of A. Too slow.

      I don’t think it’s “too slow” that’s the problem. We had fifteen years, at least, of cars this slow. Many cars currently sold are about this slow or slower and sell very well.

      The problem is that the CRZ doesn’t present a good value proposition: it’s sporty, sort of, but not enough; it’s economical, sort of, but not enough; it’s green, sort of, but not enough. If it excelled at any one of those things I think it would do better (eg, if it was equipped with Toyota’s HSD, or if the suspension was more extreme, or if it was much cheaper).

      As it is, it’s like the Insight: not as good as the Prius, not cheap enough versus the Prius (and too expensive for no appreciable gain versus the Fit) and not sporty enough.

      Honda doesn’t seem to know what they wanted this car to be. Cheaper (than the Insight) and I think it would have worked as an entry-level green car. A little more extreme and it could have been the new Integra that Acura so desperately needs. It’s a problem that they have across the board at Acura, and I think it’s because they’re too egotistical to just do what Toyota does, only better.

  • avatar
    sfenders

    No, Honda doesn’t sell anything that has 400hp, but…
    Honda Civic DX: 140 bhp, 2630 lbs, 18.8 lb/bhp
    CR-Z: 122hp, ~2600 lbs, 21.3 lb/bhp (until the battery runs out)

    Yes, I think maybe it’s possible that some potential buyers of a two-seater “sports car” will be put off by the fact it has substantially less power than the average commuter car on the road these days.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think I’ll wait to see what the Italians bring over.

  • avatar
    autoguy

    Good review, Honda blew it with this car as it is just too underpowered and slow for any car with sporty pretensions (the car has only a modicum of sportlike straightline performance with the electric assist, thus when you deplete the battery you’re left to flounder on the anemic extremely low hp gasoline motor). Basically you end up with one of the slowest cars on the road. The fact is Honda could have made this car lighter and still meed safety regulations as the Mazda 2 weighs around 2300 lbs. Clearly Honda did not know what it was trying to do with this car and it ended up with a compromised car that does not excel in any area. All this car proves is that Honda hybrids are second rate to its competitors. As a loyal Honda buyer for many years, I really believe that dismal products like the CR-Z shows that Honda’s best days are past. This car should have been called the CR-Y or CR-Zzzzzzzzzz. The way things are going it Honda, I think my nest car will be a Hyundai.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Remind me why someone interested in economy AND sport wouldn’t just buy a VW Golf TDI 2-door instead of Honda’s latest & greatest failure…or wait for the Hyundai Veloster (which will get close to the same mileage with a gas DI engine?)…Color me confused…

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Gosh first it was the oversized button crazy BMW cloned Accord, then it was the half assed Insight, then the hideous 2011 minivan revamp and now this. Honda is on a roll all right, downhill.

    • 0 avatar
      klossfam

      You got that right! Let’s PILE ON Honda with the butt-ugly Acura TL complete with bottle opening grill and the ZDX and CrossTour to answer the infamous ‘question no one asked’…It’s also no surprise that the CR-Z gets unimpressive mileage vs the competition…That has become a ‘feature’ of a lot of Honda products of late…i.e. current gen Pilot, etc.

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    “Heads turn, necks stretch, fingers point. Blacked out windows of blacked out SUVs are rolled down.”

    Were they laughing while pointing? People rubberneck at train wrecks as well, they’re looking because it’s so hideous.

    “After an intensive driving session, I averaged about 25 mpg. While this, if I’m blunt, sucks – remember that this was a pedal-to-the-metal drive along some mountainous roads in Sport mode, so the CR-Z shouldn’t have much problems hitting the 31/37 city/highway EPA cycle if can hold off the child in you.”

    It had better damned well exceed those numbers, because I averaged about 33/43 city/highway in real-world, distance-driven-divided-by-fuel-consumed, miles per American gallon, in a regular, non-hybrid, 2005 Civic manual. Highest recorded highway mileage was 55mpg.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    I had high hopes for this, because all I really wanted was a civic hatchback and this was a hopefully a near enough compromise. Honda marketing is beyond hopeless!!

  • avatar
    Flipper

    Where I strain to belive that this can be sucessful is that this car by design cannot please the 2nd>3rd purchaser.As a member of a local Honda car club I can tell you that maybe 66% of those +10 yr old Civic/CRX/delSols out there have had their engines swapped.The typical Honda enthusiast LIKES the fact the the drivetrains are so swappable,and fully exploits this.I forsee these cars having the worst resale of any sporty Honda 4 this reason.In 10 years who is gonna have the tech to keep this one running or “fix it up” – – in their garage?

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      You’re talking about used Hondas which, unless (or even if) they’re CPOs, are irrelevant to Honda as far as sales success goes. CPOs aren’t typically purchased by swappers. If you’re right, the folks that DO have the tech are gonna pick up the thirdhands cheap, aren’t they?

      World’s changing, people. Adapt or die.

  • avatar
    El Captain

    Anyone here have a chance to drive one yet?

    I am always amazed how many critics come out of the wood work and complain, yet they haven’t sat in the seat and drove one. Nor will they…

    Demographics for the CR-Z are 25 to 35-year olds and empty nesters.

    There has been a lot of interest in these vehicles and yet I do not have any on the lot (will this week), pre-sales are looking favorable too. Around 25-percent of the calls taken by sales or dealership visits have been asking about this vehicle. Those interested in the CR-Z are looking for a sharp looking car (sporty) without the burden of an insurance payment of the Civic Si or VW GTI. Performance is not everything these days… as evidenced by the numerous inquiries. Yes, these people are reading the complaints of many of you “computer screen test drivers,” but remain unphased.

    On the other hand, time will tell!

    • 0 avatar
      island2island

      I got to drive this car today – didn’t know it existed but was on the Honda/Jeep lot to check out the Ridgeline and the 4D Wrangler. I loved the look (actually, my fella spotted it and thought it was me) so I test drove it. I liked it! It seems sporty to me (understand that I have a 20 yr old Mercedes SL560) and has great mileage compared to my Jeep Wrangler (and the MB) and I was surprised how cheap the MSRP was. Not sure if the dogs will fit in the back (we’re talking the two of them equal 125 lbs) but not sure what all the bitchin is about. Maybe I’m just the right demographic – asian chick who thought the CRX was a cheap car back when it was around – was more in the Legend/NSX market when I was in my 20’s – but now just want a cute runaround to add to the stable. Do wish it had a carpeted rear seat for groceries like the SL560 rather than the scooped out storage wells – would need to put a cushion in for dogs to sit. Anyway, I liked it…

  • avatar
    itsgotvtakyo

    Bench driving a car is almost always patently ridiculous, I’ll agree to that 99% of the time… Not in this case. I’m sure it’s a pleasant enough car to drive but it’s not going to excite anyone that knows what a real performance car can be. Nor am I disagreeing that this car won’t find buyers; it’s good looking, gets “reasonable” fuel economy, is relatively inexpensive, has “performance” pretenses and it sports an “H” front and rear. All good things for a lot of people. My biggest problem with this car is that Honda tried to toe two different lines and didn’t reach either one. They have a lineup full of cars that can be all things to all people and what they need (and have always had, until now) are a couple of cars that build legitimate enthusiasm in the brand. I make no claims of being an engineer but how hard would it have been to build this car two different ways? Give the enthusiasts what they want (and what your brand needs) with a lightweight, high reving k engine (an Si) and give the mpg/commuter/appliance crowd the fuel sipping miser with a sporting edge what they want. Everybody wins. My handle isn’t meant to be sarcastic, I’m a Honda enthusiast and loyalist. I feel like they’re losing their most passionate customers and it will only hurt them in the long run.

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    Wow, I am incredibly late to this party. Don’t know how I missed this review, apart from the fact that for the last several weeks I was shopping for my next ride (my ’96 Accord died this month with 215k on it.)

    Although, I spent a lot of time here reading impressions from our esteemed writers. Very helpful. That said, how in the hell did this escape my notice??

    Anyway, not like anyone will read this comment, I would be remiss to not offer my opinions as this thread slips further and further behind the rear view mirror.

    I should note that the impressions laid out in the Consumer Report online ‘first-drive’ video were quite harsh; in contrast this review makes this vehicle seem to be an almost rational choice. You know that if a small Japanese car with an H on the hood gets panned by the boys in Connecticut, well, that does not bode well for Honda.

    Essentially, the messages I’m hearing are all the same: this car is the ultimate combination of crappy sports car and crappy gas-sipper.

    I mentioned having a dearly beloved Honda product drive into the sunset. Man, that car was a great shitbox. In many ways, the perfect car for a cheap bastard such as myself. Factor in it’s predecessor (Civic) and I’ve had 15 worry-free, economic years with about 300+k miles rolled underneith my feet.

    One would think this practical bliss would lend itself to an easy choice for yours truly, Honda has done me right after, all.

    A quick tour of the lots and test drives very quickly dispelled this notion.

    I wanted to want a Fit, but the posture of the seating is obviously designed for the fairer sex, and the Fit’s fit and finish looked like an unholy conjugation of Yugo and a knock-off Tuperware vendor. All I wanted was a hatchback that was economical, presentable, fun to drive, & reliable. In short, Honda’s product line circa 1995-2004. Sure, eliminating the hatch Civic bolsters the Fits’ market, but if someone said they had an ’08-’10 model Civic Hatch with <40k miles on it, I would have bought it. Sight unseen.

    And don't get me started on the Crosstour and the other V6 whales that call themselves Accords.

    Anyway, back to the CR-Zero, about a year ago, my Accord starting showing signs of its age; that's around the first time I came across press releases. Man, I thought, that is perfect. It's just me 90% of the time, and the other 10% it's me, my girlfriend, and my 90 lb black lab, who could probably fit back in the hatch with a weekend's worth of luggage. Sold.

    Then, as time and the Accord's odometer advanced, something changed. The purported economy slipped to something in range of my Accord (last tank 32 mpg, most in the past year have varied between 29-32.) The zero-to-sixty also slipped to something in line with my old shitbox. The pricetag and utility stayed the same while the economy, styling, & ride enjoyment very quickly waned.

    I would have loved to have had the opportunity to test drive one of these over the past few weeks, but alas it was never meant to be. Perhaps my Accord wanted to spare itself and myself the embarrassment of just how far Honda has moved from the days of yore.

    I wanted a 2010 hatchback Honda Civic, but thanks to Honda's newfound targetting of the lowest common denominator of Versa owners, I turned my attention to the Fiestas & Mini's of the world.

    In the end, I'd like to thank Honda for steering me to my new car, a mkVI GTI. Such a beautiful, tasteful, perfect ride; unlike this commuter, it will fit me, my girl, a big dog, and a week's worth of camping gear simultaneously. Being aware of reliability reps, I did spring for the extended warranty.

    While I am still going light on the pedal to the right during it's break in, I did manage to scream (sans dog and girl and stuff) through the Blue Ridge Parkway for ~120 miles on the drive home from the dealership last weekend. While I didn't red-line it, I did row the hell out of the gearbox and keep the RPMs moving up and down the tach.

    I'm not too impressed by the 25 mpg this CR-Zero is purported in this review. I've got a car that seats five adults that got 28.9 mpg flying up and down mountain roads.

    Goodbye Honda.

  • avatar
    CR-Z OWNER

    i HAVE NO READ ALL THE COMPLAINTS.  I OWN ONE.  I BOUGHT IT FOR SEVERAL REASONS BUT THE #1 REASON WAS TO REPLACE MY CHEVY AVEO WORK CAR.  MY AVEO WAS MUCH LESS SPORTY THAN THE CR-Z SO SPORTY IT IS COMPARATIVELY.  I HAVE THE AUTOMATIC AND HAVE BEEN AVERAGING ABOUT 40MPG — HIGHER THAN THE STICKER.  IT IS FUN TO DRIVE.  IT IS MUCH FASTER THAN MY AVEO AND IT GETS BETTER GAS MILEAGE.  ON TOP OF THAT, IT ONLY COSTS 24K WITH POWER EVERYTHING AND NAV.  ANYTHING ELSE LIKE THE TOUTED TOYOTA HYBRID COSTS A LOT MORE TO GET EVERYTHING ON IT; HAS LESS HORSEPOWER AND CERTAINLY ISN’T AS FUN TO DRIVE.  IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU ARE COMPARING IT TO AND HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO PAY.  FOR THE PRICE, THIS CAR IS UNBEATABLE — AND IT DOES GET LOOKS FROM EVERYONE (A POSITIVE THING).

  • avatar
    CR-Z OWNER

    ANOTHER NEGATIVE COMMENT.  YOU LOOK ABOUT AS OLD AS ME.  WHAT WAS THE NOISE LEVEL LIKE IN THE MG, THE TR-6 AND ANY OTHER SPORTS CAR?  REALLY, REALLY BAD.  I HAD TO YELL TO BE HEARD.  TODAY’S CARS (INCLUDING THE CR-Z) ARE A WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT.  THE ENGINE NOISE IS PROBABLY ABOUT THE SAME AS MY AVEO — IN OTHER WORDS, I CAN HEAR JUST FINE AND TALK NORMALLY.  THIS IS NOT A RAGTOP SPORTSCAR.  IT ISN’T LIKE MY LINCOLN LS EITHER BUT IT COSTS A LOT LESS AND HAS MORE (BETTER GAS MILEAGE AND NAV).  AGAIN, IF YOU WANT TO FIND SOMETHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT, YOU CAN FIND SOMETHING WRONG WITH EVERY CAR ON THE ROAD.  THE LUXURY CARS COST TOO MUCH AND GET POOR GAS MILEAGE.  THE CHEAP CARS AREN’T MADE WELL (OF COURSE NOT…LOOK WHAT YOU ARE PAYING FOR).  SOME CARS GET BETTER GAS MILEAGE.  ETC ETC ETC.
    I NEVER OWNED A HONDA.  I NEVER WANTED A HONDA.  I WAS NEVER INTERESTED IN A HONDA.  HOWEVER, I HAVE LOOKED FOR THE PAST YEAR AND THIS IS THE ONLY CAR THAT MET MY WANTS AND NEEDS:  IT GETS BETTER GAS MILEAGE THAN MY AVEO.  IT HAS MORE HORSEPOWER THAN THE OTHER HYBRIDS.  IT HAS A LOT OF “GADGETS” FOR THE PRICE.      IT IS AN EYE CATCHER THAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIKE — EVERYONE WHO I HAVE TALKED TO HAS BEEN IMPRESSED WITH THE LOOKS.  IT HAS POWER EVERYTHING, STEERING WHEEL CONTROLS BEYOND “ANY” CAR I HAVE SEEN; AND NAVIGATION.  WITH MOST CARS, YOU CAN’T GET NAV UNLESS YOU PAY FOR THE PREMIUM CAR AND THE COST EDGES CLOSER TO $30K.  I DON’T WANT TO PAY THAT MUCH.
    COMPLAIN ALL YOU WANT ON-LINE WITHOUT EVER OWNING ONE.  THE REALITY IS THIS IS A VERY POPULAR CAR.  MORE IMPORTANT TO ME — IT IS THE ONLY CAR BUILT THAT MEETS MY NEEDS – MPG, HP, PRICE, FUN TO DRIVE (COMPARED TO A CHEVY AVEO).
    IF YOU WANT A SPORTS CAR THAT HAS THE HORSEPOWER, GADGETS, ETC PAY $100,000 PLUS AND GET A MERCEDES SL (EVEN THAT IS AS LOUD AS THIS CAR TO THE OCCUPANTS — THE ENGINE IS LOUDER).  THE ONLY THING CLOSE TO THIS IN PRICE AND AMENITIES WAS A 2011 HYUNDAI SONATA AND THAT ENGINE SOUNDED LIKE IT WAS ALREADY BROKEN (I TEST DROVE ONE).  FOR THE SAME PRICE YOU GOT NAV; POWER AND “UP TO 35MPG.”  BUT 1 – IT WAS A HYUNDAI AND 2 – THE BOTTOM (CITY) DRIVING WAS 23 — OVERALL MUCH LESS GAS MILEAGE.
    NO ONE I KNOW IS VERY IMPRESSED WITH ANY OF THE OTHER HYBRIDS.  THEY ALL LOOK DULL AND DREARY.  THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT THAT.
     

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      Owner, I’m pretty sure you missed bancho’s sarcasm. Turn off your caps lock key. Typing in all caps is the same thing as shouting. It’s annoying and difficult to read.

      Sportier than an Aveo. Check.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    Comments on another site finally motivated me to get out and look at one of these. Really, from certain angles a black one doesn’t look too bad, but I’m tall. Was every photographer looking for a low awkward angle?   That rear glass is going to be a solar oven. Makes a Mustang flatback look like a notchback. Louvers, anyone? Rear of the car is certainly … busy.

    It’s not out of character w/ recent Hondas. The last three Honda introductions that I’ve paid much attention to are the Ridgeline, the Crosstour, and the Insight. This is probably the least jarring stylewise.

    Honda’s real mistake here was not calling this one the Insight. If this is the future of sporty Hondas, I may have to join the ricers and build my own from one of the 80s-90s lightweights.

  • avatar
    wcwarrior

    I owned a manual 2000 insight for 7yrs and drove it east to west coast w a lifetime mileage of 65mpg. I just bought the new crz and have been driving it 2 weeks. Again, its a manual 6 speed. My impressions: just like the insight, u can’t get in and drive w/o learning the car to get max performance. I had to learn to drive the insight to manage to get around in the colorado rockies and up to vail. U can drive the crz in sport and it has more powerful response than the insight and a lot of fun, but when the battery power is sucked down, so is ur fun, just like the insight, so u have to learn to drive the hybrid. So far at 800 mi, I have 33 lifetime mpg. I drive mostly city and yes, been having fun zooming in sport, but not all the time petal to the metal and taking advantage of hybrid driving too when nothing to be gained from all out sport. Back bench aLlows u to recline front seats which u couldn’t do for a nap in insight and that I did not like about the insight – esp on long trips. Better ride, better sound system w back speakers, yay! My dog can sit on the back plastic bench and not tear up upholstery. Not legal for passengers or car seats, btw as no seat belts. Cargo cover for privacy – a plus. Fun dash. Love the color for sport mode – its fun. Sorely missing a sun roof!! A lot more power for getting on hiway and from a stop, so improvement on insight along w greater comfort. Pluses. Won’t get insight mileage but if u know how to drive hybrid, can get closer. I enjoy the car so far. Not exactly a sport car because battery power is not infinite. If it had a powered moonroof tho, I would be very happy. I would be even happier to buy a non_hybrid version. I let the insight go at 130K. Because not willing to pay to replace the battery. I would like to keep the car longer w/o big dollar repairs. I had NO repairs on the insight at 130k and 7yrs! Just oil changes and tires. 40mpg is something non hybrid cars can do. They should give us non hybrid option and power moonroof. Btw, 6 speed in the CRZ not as smooth as the 5 speed in the insight. Not impressed by that. Metal pedals aldo slippery. I appreciate the lights in the back/cargo area. Wish it did not have the plastic chrome trim. Looks nice now, but know it will not wear well on the inside door handle. Hatch is solid metal, well constricted. Kudos!! My scion tc plastic trunk latch broke off in the 2nd year. Bad toyota design. Honda very functional and solid, like I expect. I expect this car to be reliable too from what I have seen so far. Thumbs up as a more plush insight with sporty handling edge and a little roar that pleases the poser in me. :D I am to gas mileage sensitive to buy an all out sports car.

  • avatar
    CR-Z OWNER

    Someone mentioned the morning commute.  Actually, I have gotten 36-41 on the average.  I use this car for my commute.  It replaced my last little car (Chev Aveo).  It gets better gas mileage.  Has more power.  Looks “cooler”.  Has the option of sport mode so you can have some fun (unlike the Aveo).  If you put it in Eco mode, the engine actually stops when you stop (it goes into battery mode) unlike most cars that use up gas when you are stopped.  No, it doesn’t turn off and yes, it starts right up the instant you put your foot on the gas pedal.
    When comparing, it is also about the least expensive car you can get with good gas mileage and a nav system.  Almost every other car I looked at with a Nav was pretty close to $30k.  The CR-Z was less than $24k.  If you want a sports car…get one and get worse gas mileage.  If you want a hybrid, pay more and get less power.  For me, this car was the solution I was looking for:  Sporty with good gas mileage with a little bit of power for fun.
     
     

  • avatar
    photogrl13

    After reading the comments, I’m very disappointed. I’m currently saving up for a CR-Z and I don’t understand why everyone is bitching about it. I’ve test driven the base with 6-speed and the EX w/Navi 6 speed and was totally thrilled. It’s WAY quieter than my 1998 Civic LX and even more quiet than my husband’s 2004 Civic VP. I do think that a lot of commenters are not in the target demographic for this car, hence the dislike.

    I travel over 40 miles a day (20 of which to/from school in rush hour traffic) and this is the perfect car for me. It can be economical in Econ mode when I’m in rush hour traffic and not going anywhere fast due to the heavy traffic and can magically switch with the push of a button to a peppy little VTEC when I need/want speed and a sportier feel. In my 1998 Honda Civic LX I’m averaging 24-25 MPG if I’m lucky and filling up 2 times a week. At least with the CR-Z I can go further between fill-ups AND get better gas mileage.

    Do I expect this car to act like a RSX or TDI? No. It has its limitations. Do I expect it to get as good of mileage as my dad’s Civic Hybrid? No. It has too big of a gasoline engine. The CR-Z is meant to be the happy middle and I believe it not only meets that criteria but exceeds the expectations I had for it.

    I do agree that comparing it to the CRX is inevitable, but technology/governmental requirements were much different in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Even if Honda did bring back the CRX, they would have to make so many modifications to meet regulations that it wouldn’t be anything close to the original car. So I don’t see how it’s fair to compare the CRX to the CRZ. It’s two different eras people.

    I think that the CR-Z does what it was intended to do. It’s filling a niche that hasn’t been filled yet. It’s not perfect for everyone. In fact, I’d go so far to say that it doesn’t fit many. But it has its place and that calls for some respect. I think years down the road, the CR-Z will be seen as a catalyst in the hybrid car history, much like the original insight. I don’t know if you remember, but many people scoffed at the original insight too. Every car has people who don’t like it, don’t understand it, or just don’t accept it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a good car. I think Honda did a great job. I’ll be getting one soon.

  • avatar
    Rude374

    Just too bad….. I wanted to like this car because I think it looks cool like a modern CR-X.  The performance and fuel economy are disappointing.  The European TDI’s or small turbo fours can beat both performance and FE of the CR-Z.  They really need to re-think the powertrain…. it could be much better.  I do really like the way it looks though.

  • avatar
    chaimfan63

     
    When I got a new job (along with a 70 mile commute each way) I decided I needed a car with better gas mileage.  I would love an EV, but the driving ranges aren’t quite where they need to be yet.  So I started looking at hybrids.  Unfortunately, the Prius and Insight are dull looking and the drive is even worse.  So I wasn’t overly optimistic/excited to test drive the CR-Z.  It’s not a true sports car by any means.  But if you want great gas mileage with some spunk and something that looks really good, look into the CR-Z.  I’ve had the car for a couple of months and here are some observations thus far:  In Sport mode I get 35city/40hwy, in Normal mode I get 39city/43hwy and in Economy 41city/46hwy.  Most of the time I switch between modes (on the fly) and average between 44-46 mpg on the road and about 430 miles to the tank.  I don’t do any interstate driving.  The commute is on a state highway with towns/small cities every 15 miles or so with speed limits between 35-65 mph.  I don’t drive hard, but I keep up with traffic flow and do 5-10 mph over the posted speed limit.  The ride is way better than I expected.  I don’t figit in my seat every 10 minutes because the seat is uncomfortable, and there is little road/wind noise.  Here’s THE best thing:  before the CR-Z if you wanted Prius type gas mileage you got Prius styling and zero performance.  If you wanted something that was sporty looking, and fun to drive you had to get a 370Z or SI with 20ish mpg.  You could only get one or the other.  Now you can have both in one car.  If you want Prius mpg press the “economy” button and the CR-Z sips gas.  If you want some get up and go with enhanced handling and performance press the “sport” button and off you go.  Does it have the 370Z’s 0-60 time?  No.  But the way I look at it, does it really matter if you get to 60 mph 2-3 seconds faster?  No, not really…you still have speed limits and stop lights.  That’s some of things I like about the car.  As well as taking 87 octane gas, a Bluetooth, USB port and 350 watt stereo with subwoofer. 
    Here are the things I don’t like about the car:  1.  The gas tank is only 10.6 gallons, with 1 gallon of that as the reserve.  I would have to fill up less often if it had the standard 13 gallon tank.  I’m sure it’s a design thing to accommodate the batteries for the electric motor.  2.  The CR-Z doesn’t have a locking gas cap, nor does it have a remote release in the cabin.  Anybody could open the gas cap and siphon your gas.  3.  The gas engine automatically cutting off at stop lights took some getting used to.  For the first week or so I thought I had stalled the car.  I don’t even notice it now.  4.  I have to use the side and rear view mirrors a lot more because there is a good sized blind spot.  That is just an adjustment on my part…I probably should have been using them more in the past anyway.  5.  A center console is not standard.  You can buy one if you want for $500.  Not going to happen with me.
    But overall, I’m very happy with the CR-Z.  In town on the weekends I zip around in Sport mode and have a blast.  During the week I drive in Economy/Normal mode and get incredible gas mileage.  I have people stop at red lights next to me, roll down their windows and ask me what type of car I have or comment on how good it looks.  I haven’t had one negative comment of funny look.

  • avatar
    Deeminator

    I just bought the CR-Z and drove it 80 miles back home and I loved every minute of it!  This beautiful little car zipped through traffic on the freeways and handled wonderfully and with great spunk while in Sport Mode.  Slower traffic, the Eco mode was just fine (I spend 2-3 hours in halting/rolling traffic every day to work–so the Eco function is a blessing).  The dashboard is incredible to behold, so futuristic.  A neighbor upon viewing it exclaimed, “Omigod, it’s the Starship Enterprise!!!”  Which is part of it’s appeal–the dashboard is in 3D and looks like it’s gone into warp drive.  Depending on the drive mode, it changes color.  Seats comfortably snug and sporty.  Acoustics inside quiet, making it a pleasure to listen to music.  Love the hatchback feature, and don’t miss the backseat area at all.  Steering wheel is loaded with controls, such fun–lots to play around with during tedious LA traffic jams.  The CR-Z is replacing a Civic Hatchback I owned for thirteen years and I am quite happy!  The exterior is impressive too–love the gleaming metallic silver.  Back end suffers a little from blocked visibility, but I’m getting used to it… the car’s only fault, actually.  Highly recommend!  Can’t wait to test the Sport Mode on Mulholland’s hairpin curves!  The traction, growl of the engine and tight steering in Sport Mode brings a wicked grin to my face.  I’m 45, female, and this car has enough power, fun and futuristic appeal (“my spaceship!”) to keep entertained–and eco friendly–for a good long time.  Very pleased that Honda developed this!

  • avatar
    itsgotvtakyo

    And there you have it gents, Honda built the perfect car for 45yo women. Nothing wrong with that I suppose, it’s just a shame they didn’t build the car they could have.

  • avatar
    jsj7000

    I love my 1991 CRX, the older it gets, the better gas mileage it gets.  I’ve driven the car hard for 201,000 miles and I average 36 mpg City and around 41 Highway.  I think the reason I’ve always got great mileage is I only use premium gas.  I’ve often wondered why my old car gets so much better mileage than the new cars.  I know the new ones are a little heavier and there’s more pollution stuff, but in 20 years they can’t make a better car than my CRX?
    Granted the new Si is way fun to drive, but I have to say the CRX shifs more efortlessly than the new Si, and the new cars rattle more than my 20 year old Honda.  There’s no power steering in the CRX, so you can really feel the road better than most cars. 

  • avatar

    I had entertained the notion of trading in my Si for a CR-Z. With gas prices skyrocketing once again, I am revisiting this possibility. I test drove the 6 speed manual CR-Z when it first came out and it seems pretty quick, but then I was driving it on residential side roads chock full of stop signs and speed bumps. I want a car that is fuel efficient, but also fun to drive. The Si clearly is more fun to drive, and from what I read in this article, the CR-Z doesn’t seem to be as economical as I had thought it would be. Plus the Si has a fairly roomy and comfortable interior, something that cannot be said for the CR-Z. I’m leaning towards just keeping my Si as I love the way it drives and I particularly love to hear the engine as the high speed cams kick in at 5,800 RPM’s. What do you guys think I should do? Keep the Si or trade it in for a CR-Z?
    To the author: Just out of curiosity, you said that the CR-Z is the only sporty car in Honda’s lineup. Does that mean that you do not consider the Si to be a sporty car or that you consider the CR-Z to be sportier than the Si? Some clarification would be nice.

  • avatar
    RustyH

    I’ve had Honda’s since 1983. This is the best one I’ve had so far. It’s a 20k Honda, so I never expected it to be a sports car or anything like that. I like the middle of the road approach taken by Honda…it’s got some power and gets decent gas mileage…nothing spectacular in either category, but good enough. The climate control, blue tooth and iPod integration are 3 very good features.

  • avatar
    samerica

    You guys are trashing this little car that I love. It’s exactly what I want and it’s a shame that it’s getting so few sales. I’m getting 38 mpg with the mix of driving that I do and don’t hold back on the revs, altho I drive in Normal mode most of the time. The instrumentation is great with everything very ergonomically placed. At least you give it credit for the great manual 6 speed transmission and good looks. It’s a chick magnet and my only criterion is that the babes have to be spry enought to get into it!

    Give it a break.

  • avatar
    pierre tee

    i live in italy and have done 25thousand km so far with my CR-Z. I find it amusing that the car has been so misunderstood. Maybe it is natural to put cars people or anything really into boxes. The original CRX was a great little car..for its time. maybe the people who still dream about it should drive it again. Fortunately technology moves on. It is true that some diesels have as good or better fuel consumption… However they have a diesel engine character… … The CR-Z combines the best of both petrol and diesel engines.. Lots of low down torque (for a smallish engine…small by American standards that is.) and the ability to rev out allied with a good sound. If we forget about boxes. (Hybrids have to have low consumption….sport cars have to be lightning fast… )we find ourselves with a great looking …relatively inexpensive, comfortable small sporty car. And it is fun to drive on a daily basis. I love it and although another 20 to 30ps would have be better for the 2 times a week i can really use it it is great to own. and drive.. it will be fun to look back in five years time when more manufacturers have followed Hondas lead..with dowsizing of engines/electric motors for torque etc

    For those who like the looks….think of it as a small Gran Turismo rather than a real sports car..
    Also when i last looked Hondas are, along with most japanese cars much more reliable than most German European and American cars.. As an ex owner of an Alfa Romeo this counts for something..

  • avatar
    irdanc

    I think Honda’s biggest mistake with this car was saying it was the new CRX. They are 2 completely different cars for 2 completely different purposes. I bought my CRZ after months of research for a small commuter car. No doubt the CRZ could be a much better performance car and I would love to see them cram a 200+hp 4cyl under the hood. The times are changing though. I think it is safe to say that the time of the complete performance production car is really coming to a close. Cars are getting heavier, and engines are getting smaller. It’s predicted that gas prices will be up to around $4.50 a gallon this summer here in the US. I think back to my 87 Corolla SR5 and realize that it handled better, got equal fuel economy and similar performance (after modification ofc). In those days though, the requirements for safety and emissions. While my old Corolla might outperform the CRZ, I would be extremely shocked if it meets the ULEV emission standards that is expected of vehicles in the sub-compact class. Nobody likes the emission aspect of engineering, but it is a very real part of designing the modern car. So every one of you who are comparing the CRZ to your old cars I have a challenge for you. Take your old car, get it to produce 50% of the emissions of the average 2011 model car (as is the definition of an ULEV) and then meet all the current Department of Transportation safety standards and then post a review of your own car. This is the only way we can avoid comparing apples to oranges. For the rigid standards imposed and the stricter standards that our ignorant president is trying to impose, I think the CRZ is a well done car that has jumped through all of the hoops and still came out as a nice car. Not a fast car, but a nice car. Now that I’ve defended it I will go ahead and say some bad stuff. The blind spot is horrible and the ride is very rigid. Handling is decent, but I would like to see an SI model that loses the hybrid for a larger engine and the weight reduction of losing the heavy batteries.

  • avatar
    danwat1234

    Luckily Honda is going to release their “Earth Dreams” engines for what looks like the 2014 year, in which finally, their engines will have built-in part-time Atkinson valve behavior like the Prius, but also can have the power of an OTTO cycle engine (like a regular car).
    So you can have really good fuel economy and good power. Hopefully that’ll bump the Civic, Civic Hybrid, Insight and CRZ MPG up significantly.
    The 2013 CRZ gets this “Sport+” Mode that I think uses capacitors to store extra energy for the electric motor, interesting. Wonder how much it helps for passing, drag races, etc.


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