By on September 15, 2010

Once upon a time I wanted a Pontiac Fiero. Then the original Honda CRX awakened me to the joys of driving a small car sideways. It was what the Fiero, similarly pitched as an economical commuter, should have been. In comparison, even the second-generation CRX seemed too large, too refined, and disappointingly dull. Fast forward a quarter century, and the Honda Insight is perhaps the most disappointing car I’ve driven in recent years. So when Honda announced that it would base a new two-seater on the Insight, and call it the CR-Z, I fearfully predicted that it would look like the CRX, but drive like the Insight. And?

The original CRX was not an attractive car. The second-generation was prettier, if blander, and the CR-Z clearly owes most to it. The new car suffers from a surprising amount of front overhang, but otherwise there’s so much style, most notably the curvaceous rear quarters, that few will guess its close relationship with the plain, malproportioned Insight. Interesting details abound—check out the tail lights. Clean styling? Forget it—that’s so 1990.

Inside the story is much the same, with plasti-chrome door pulls, shiny silver cloth upholstery, piano black control pods, and a glowing light show dead ahead. Materials and design are both much better than in the Insight, if no threat to the Germans. This being a “sport hybrid,” there’s a large centrally-located tach—something you won’t find in any Toyota hybrid—flanked by an arsenal of visual driving aids.

As should be clear by now, Honda no longer places function ahead of form. The instruments will overwhelm and/or distract some people. The nav and audio controls on the center stack are beyond reach. Yes, there are redundant audio controls on the steering wheel, but in a well-designed cockpit these would truly be redundant. The control pods do locate large HVAC, mirror, and driving mode buttons close at hand. A large km/h-mph button as well—do some people use it often?

You sit low in the well-bolstered front seat. As in the Insight, the headrest juts too far forward, though in this case I found the seat almost bearable. The relatively upright windshield of the original CRX didn’t even survive the 1988 redesign. Too bad, as a steeply raked windshield distances man from machine. Thanks to the CR-Z’s chest-high tail and ultra-thick rear pillars, some panel vans have better rearward visibility—consult your rabbi for the appropriate prayer before lane changes.

The rudimentary back seat offered overseas was nixed for the U.S. market. Considering the poor excuses for back seats offered in some cars, it must be beyond awful. In its place we get a pair of deep storage wells that can be covered by a folding partition. Cargo volume isn’t generous, maxing out at 25 cubes, but since you can’t see out the back regardless you might as well pack to the ceiling.

The original CRX was forgiven many sins because it was so fun to drive. The faults noted thus far would similarly be forgiven if the new CR-Z were half as fun. Well, long story short, there’s little fun to be had here unless you’re mesmerized by the light show. In “sport mode” the electric motor readily delivers 58 pound-feet of low-end punch. But the 122-horsepower 1.5-liter gasoline engine, bereft of any V-TEC magic, is no joy to rev. The 6,500 rpm redline might be low by Honda standards, but there’s little point in venturing even that high. The shifter feels long of throw and clunky compared to Honda’s best. The best that can be said of the brakes is that they feel almost conventional.

The steering’s notable heft was probably intended to make the CR-Z feel sporty, but instead makes it feel heavy. A 2,654-pound curb weight (EX manual with nav) is fairly low by current standards—the Fit weighs nearly as much—and is admirable for a hybrid. But the CR-Z feels like it tips the scales north of 3,000. Despite quick steering, agility isn’t part of the mix.

On the other hand, aside from the minor pitching unavoidable with a 95.9-inch wheelbase, the CR-Z also rides like a heavier car. Compared to the Insight, it feels smoother, more composed, and less tinny. It doesn’t feel like an assemblage of shortcuts.

Honda might have learned from its Accord Hybrid experience that people expect hybrids to deliver stellar fuel economy. Any performance benefits are secondary. Well, they didn’t learn. The 31 city, 37 highway EPA estimates (with the six-speed manual; 35/39 with the CVT) would be exemplary for a non-hybrid, but are well below those for the similarly powerful Prius. The much heavier and similarly quick Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan nearly matches the CR-Z on the highway and beats it by a wide margin in the city. In my moderately aggressive test drive, which was about 2/3 suburban and 1/3 highway, I observed 28.3 miles-per-gallon. My Mazda Protege5, which weighs a little more, does about the same when driven similarly. With a (much missed) sixth gear the Mazda would probably also match the CR-Z in relaxed driving on the highway.

When a car doesn’t much especially well, it had better be attractively priced. With a base price of $19,950 and as-tested (EX with nav) price of $23,310, the CR-Z is the least expensive hybrid in the U.S. You’ll spend about the same amount for a Honda Civic EX.

The Honda CR-Z doesn’t drive like the Insight, so this part of my prediction proved off-base. But it also drives nothing like the CRX. The hybrid powertrain hurts more than it helps, dulling the driving experience without substantially boosting fuel economy. The lack of a rear seat and abysmal rearward visibility will further harm the car’s prospects. Ultimately, the CR-Z’s best hope is the amount of style it offers for a fairly low price. Dull powertrain, heavy handling, disappointing fuel economy, high style, low price—this does describe one mid-80s two-seater, just not the CRX. How much does Motors Liquidation want for “Fiero?”

Michael Karesh owns and operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data

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131 Comments on “Review: 2011 Honda CR-Z Take Two...”


  • avatar

    What’s the matter with them???!
    >>>consult your rabbi for the appropriate prayer before lane changes.
    Thanks for a great laugh. If I ever have to drive one, I will.

  • avatar

    That has to be the absolute ugliest interior I’ve seen in a modern car. Then again, it does compliment the almost-equally awful exterior. A lot of faults may be forgiven if it handles and drives well, but, ah…

    I weep for the Honda Motor Company that produced my aunt’s 1979 Prelude — her first new car — as well as the 1990 Accord I got my license with, and the 1992 Accord coupe I proudly purchased a few years after that.

  • avatar
    fastback

    Saw one of these during this am’s commute.  (Going well under the limit, mind you) Sharp little car, in silver—I must confess that the sight of it today sent me into bit of a timewarp to the late 80′s when my then girlfriend Lianne would drive 5 hours to visit me at Syracuse Univ. 

    Good times. 

    Alas, you cannot go back again.  This theorem applies to myself & Honda. 

    :) 

  • avatar
    philadlj

    My ’98 Civic hatch is a genuine four-seater; people over six feet, including myself, found the back seat more than tolerable for short to medium trips. So why is the CR-Z so form-over-function it doesn’t even have rear seats? Well, the fact it’s five inches shorter than my hatchback is one good reason. That’s five inches of lost legroom in my books. My car isn’t exactly a stretch limo; with all the front overhang of the CR-Z, would it have been so hard to simply add a little rear overhang to balance it out and make back seats (more) possible?
    There are things I like about the CR-Z, but even I’ll admit it does nothing well and pointlessly puts form before function in too many cases. With future product, Honda really needs to get back to basics.

  • avatar
    jmo

    That is the most awkwardly placed nav system I’ve ever seen. 

    • 0 avatar
      Ambrose

      Why?  It can be reached by the driver AND the passenger.  Unlike some other car brands, the Honda navi can be programmed while the car is moving. 

      There it sits – right in the center.  Where do you want it to be?

    • 0 avatar
      Invisible

      Good points Ambrose!

    • 0 avatar
      wvjdmu

      I agree, where do you want the Nav to be? Also other controls for climate control and etc are all focused on the driver like they should. Honda took a risk with this car and I think it paid off. Yes they arent gorgeous, but to twenty somethings like myself that have grown up dreaming of a time when I could have bought a crx new and adore honda am very grateful for this car. I have a deposit on a manual at the dealership just waiting for it to arrive. It will look great in my honda stable.84 crx(50000 miles all stock, beautiful) 87 crx si, 04 rsx s, 09 s2000 cr, and cant wait for the crz to join them. Its an affordable car thats fun to drive, its not a corvette and its not a prius. Its a modern look at a excellent car that can never be duplicated.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “consult your rabbi for the appropriate prayer before lane changes.”

    I’m not Jewish, but advice well taken. Thankfully, I’m 30 years too old for skates like these. Now if someone brought back 1980′s Dodge Dynasty or 1960 Impala 4 dr. hardtop visibility, I might have to take a second look.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    This car is begging for a good ol’ fashioned, non-hybrid 200hp V-Tec.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    that is one seriously big mph/kmph switch. I can only assume they made it that big so they could ship the exact same car to the US and Canada? While there have been instances where I would have liked to have that switch, I can count them on 1 hand.
    Also, until Honda gets away from their dash as entertainment designs they will never have me as a customer. The S2000 and Honda Civic are cars I should be willing to cross shop but they get eliminated immediately because of the digital dashes.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Such a pity – it’s actually quite a good looking car. Maybe if they ditched the heavy hybrid parts and replaced the engine with a modern DI 1.6 or 1.4 turbo you could probably get a lot more fun for the same amount of gas.
     
    Who ever thought they’d see the day when Honda was lagging behind in 4 cylinder technology?

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Saw one of these on the showroom floor at the dealership the other day when I was taking my Pilot to be serviced (routine maintenance).  Regrettably, your comparison to the Fiero seems spot-on.   Looks pretty nice, but disappoints in all other respects.
    Honda’s basic hybrid problem seems to be that its low-rent “IMA” system really doesn’t deliver the goods.  I have yet to see the case for buying any of Honda’s hybrids, unlike the Prius or the Fusion/MKZ.
    Seems like they should put a nice little 200 hp V-TEC motor in this as an alternative.  I bet the EPA ratings would not be all that bad, compared to the hybrid.

  • avatar
    John R

    Why? WHY?? Why this and not a K20 Fit? The chassis can take it. Shops the world over have done the swap and its salable, tractable and most importantly FAST. Honda, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

  • avatar
    pauldun170

    A steeply raked windshield may distance man from machine, but it after a few years on the road you still be able to see through it (vs those upright windshields that like to catch rocks)

  • avatar
    PG

    I can’t remember the last time any car got reviews as bad as this new CR-Z. It’s unfavorable across the board. Anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      PartsUnknown

      This car has been brought low by its hybridity.  With a normal drivetrain, Honda would have a hit on its hands, at least for a while, I suspect.  I sense there’s a decent amount of (well-founded) nostalgia around the old CR-X.  Honda had a chance to get some of their mojo back with this car.

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t recall any positive reviews for the Saturn Ion. But that may be it.

    • 0 avatar
      Ambrose

      I certainly don’t know where you get the idea that the car has universally been poorly reviewed.  There are quite a few positive reviews as well.

      I have driven the car and it is a lot of fun to drive!

      http://www.autoweek.com/article/20100914/CARREVIEWS/100919942

      http://www.examiner.com/honda-and-acura-in-national/2011-honda-cr-z-press-launch-driving-impressions-part-3-of-7

      http://apps.detnews.com/apps/autoreviews/index.php?id=35370

      http://lifeoncars.blogspot.com/2010/07/fire-up-honda-cr-z.html

      http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/10q2/2011_honda_cr-z_hybrid-first_drive_review

      http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/hatchbacks/1006_2011_honda_cr_z_us_spec_first_drive/index.html

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Right on point.  Honda missed out on a core group of customers who would have bought this car in a heart beat if it wasn’t so compromised to be a hybrid.  Once the “newness” dies down this mild hybrid will slowly sell for years before joining Honda’s unsuccessful hybrids (1g Insight, Accord Hybrid, Civic Hybrid, and soon the 2g Insight).

    • 0 avatar
      Canucknucklehead

      I am not so sure Honda has missed anything. There is a three month wait to get on in these parts. It is considered “cool” but the Facebook/Twitter set.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Ambrose,
      There are plenty of auto “journalists” who give positive reviews of everything they test.  I suspect most, if not all, of those links fall under that category.  Car and Driver will probably provide some honest criticism of the CR-Z once it’s in a comparison and they have to justify finishing order but, until then, the “First Drive” and “Road Test” might as well be dealership brochures.

    • 0 avatar
      Invisible

      PG, I don’t think Honda is too concerned about what some old fart on TTAC says.  It’s showroom traffic and sales they are concerned about, and all indications seem to point to a hit.  Sales have been much much stronger in Japan than they imagined, Europe is doing well, and get this,  The CR-Z has the lowest “days on the lot” here in the USA.

    • 0 avatar
      wvjdmu

      Also driven 6 speed model. I thought it was fun to drive and handled well. I personally think the dash and interior layout is awesome.  Got bought out from under me and have deposit on one thats coming in to dealership in couple weeks. So ill let everyone know about it once im able to drive it all the time. But what do i know I only own 4 other hondas so i might be a little biased. I do however hope that honda will make an si version with a K20, that would be a nice car. Im sure it will be done by someone soon and as soon as they do im ripping out that hybrid powertrain and putting an a K20. Honda still has amazing 4 cylinders. Also people saying put in a 1.4 1.6 turbo?? Hey honda doesnt have to turbo charge thier motors to make power. I have rsx and s2000 each has 100hp per liter.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    28.3 mpg?!  My 05 xB gets the same or better when driven the same (also 34-35 hwy), and its inflation-corrected price was $17k.  And it seats 5.
     
    But I don’t have a mph/kph switch.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      Okay, my ride only seats three (four if it’s us two humans and our German Shepherd and Scottish Terrier), and I don’t have a handy kph/mph switch, but my ten year old Sierra 1/2 ton (4.3 V6 4 spd auto) gets a little over 20 mpg in mixed urban/city driving if I drive like an old man. And I have more cargo room, in fact enough to store the CR-Z in the pick-up bed.

      Why would anybody pay so much for so little passenger and cargo room, and such abysmal mileage?

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Monty, sure your truck beats the CR-Z on those terms.
      But look, the CR-Z at least beats the Ferrari Enzo on those same terms.

    • 0 avatar
      Invisible

      LOL, you guys are commenting on the MPG underwhich the reviewer was trying to get the worst possible MPG he could out of the CR-Z.  Now go read where people are getting 50, 60, even 70.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    Why does this car even exist?

    My 1997 Civic Sedan with 1.6l and a 5-speed gets the same mileage (w/o all of the additional cost, complexity, and weight of the hybrid system), AND has a very functional back seat.  And it’s a fun, zippy car to drive when compared to our other vehicles: ’01 Odyssey, ’01 Lesabre, ’79 Chevy K-20 pickup.

    I agree with above poster, Honda, why why why?

    More and more I think that Honda’s golden years (late 80s – mid 90s IMO) are permanently behind them.  I would rather drive an early 90s Civic, Accord, or Acura over any of the models that they make today, although I certainly don’t miss the automatic shoulder belts.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      I had a new 1989 Accord Coupe SEi and loved everything about the car except the seat belts.  However, the automatic shoulder belt worked great if you cut out the lap belt; with the lap belt intact it was like climbing into a spider web.  Removing the lap belt was not necessarily safe, but the automatic shoulder belt at least got me to start wearing my seat belt.

      Since the 1980′s I’ve owned cars and trucks from Infiniti, Nissan, Toyota, Isuzu, Dodge, VW, etc, and none of them were as well designed and engineered as that 1989 Accord (Isuzu Trooper was close).  Great styling, best ergonomics ever, and never burned a drop of oil in the 200k miles I owned it.

      Too bad Honda lost their design mojo in the mid 1990′s.

    • 0 avatar
      mikedt

      Their motorcycle lineup is also dying as well. Many me-too models and other bikes (new VFR) that also ask why, why, why?
       
      When the founder died the company seemed to lose their nerve.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Amen on the motocycle thing.  Honda Rebel or Yamaha V-Star 250? Why sould an “entry level” crusier with a 234cc engine be $4000?  The V Star is a true 250cc machine and cost about the same.

    • 0 avatar
      Invisible

      redmondjp, and don’t forget, your 97 Civic has about the same crash worthyness as that coke can sitting next to your monitor.

  • avatar
    Toyondai92

    Jeeze, what a waste of metal. I passed one of these going the other way and thought a Mazda 3 was less weird looking. A Civic from a decade ago will provide the same economy as this thing and it looks normal! And drives normal, too.
     
    Edit: Is Hyundai still bringing out the Veloster concept car? In normal trim it should get the same fuel economy as this Honda, and if they can get it right be nicer to drive.

    And at least the Fiero was rear-wheel-drive and can hold a quad-cam V8!

    • 0 avatar
      Invisible

      Are you claiming the future Hyundai will get similar mileage without any hybrid technology.

      LOL, you are kidding right.  Hyundai has NO “normal” cars currently rated on 30mpg in the city.

  • avatar
    geeber

    As a long-time satisfied Honda owner, I wanted to like this car, but it really makes me worry about Honda. Honda’s vehicles were all so well-focused, polished and functional. But this tries to combine the qualities of a sports coupe and hybrid, and ends up fulfilling neither mission very well. What’s the point?

    I will disagree about the first-generation CRX not being an attractive car. I always thought it had purposeful, clean appearance. The stubby tail, in particular, really worked.

  • avatar
    jimble

    Why do the dashboards of so many Japanese cars, especially Hondas, look like cheap, 10-year-old boomboxes? Do they not want adults to buy their cars?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Honda just doesn’t get the hybrid market, or if they do, they’re being particularly GM-esque and deliberately doing exactly what Toyota isn’t.
     
    They’ve had five (Insight 1, Civic 1, Civic 2, Accord, Insight 2, CRZ) kicks at the hybrid can and not a single one has been a better “fit” for prospective customers than Toyota’s second cut at the Prius.  At this point, they have two choices:
    * Cut the price dramatically and implement IMA across the board.  The supposed advantage to IMA is that it can go anywhere, where HSD requires a dedicated design, so why aren’t there IMA-equipped CR-Vs, Elements, TSXs** or Odysseys?
    * Give up on IMA, and possibly on hybrids altogether.
    * If you’re going to play the niche vehicle card to be “different”, the execution needs to be better.  The CR-Z isn’t a bad concept, but it should be at least as sporty***, which means  as the Fit, not an Insight with heavier steering and less rear seat space.
     
    Honda’s problem isn’t that they’re losing technical competency, it’s that they’re arrogant: they think they know what people want.  They’ve always been pretty arrogant, but they’ve blended it with a kind of complacency that comes with doing pretty well for a few years.  Toyota doesn’t do this: they’re paranoid and perhaps too focused on manufacturing process excellence rather than product, but they’re not actually cocky the way Honda is.
     
    I so wanted to want this car, just as I did with the Insight. I got a quick spin in one when my Fit was in this past week and I have the same problem I had with the Insight: who was this car designed for, exactly? Because it seems like it was designed for the guy who built it.

     
    ** Why aren’t there any hybrid Acuras?  Isn’t Acura’s brand identity all about high-tech?  Doesn’t Acura have higher margins that could support the cost?
    *** In the Honda sense of the word, which means light, quick steering, light-on-the-feet ride, great shifter, not necessarily a lot of power.  Even the current Accord feels relatively light for a big car; why doesn’t this thing?

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      I’m waiting for the Hyundai Veloster.  It will come with a 1.6 DI engine in a 2+2 format.  The 1.6DI in the new Elantra gets mid 30′s combined MPG meaning the Veloster being lighter will equal or beat that number.  Then Hyundai is also talking of an upgraded version with the 2.0T from the Genesis.  By 2012 I’d expect Hyundai US sales to get ever closer to Honda’s and slowly overpass them.  Honda’s lost its mojo in focusing too much on its failed hybrid and fuel cell strategies.  It is this opportunity costs pending billions of dollars of R&D and thousands of engineering hours on a mild hybrid system customers are not willing to buy.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      “Isn’t Acura’s brand identity all about high-tech?”
       
      Maybe it used to be, but now Acuras are too ugly to have a hybrid powertrain.  It’s pretty bad when a Subaru Tribeca looks better than an RDX, and most sadly, an MDX.  The MDX used to be very good-looking, IMO.
       
      I think the CR-Z will spell the end of Honda’s hybrid forays.

    • 0 avatar

      The main reason there aren’t hybrid Acuras is that the mileage is not good, so it’s not going to sell. Still, they could’ve built an Insight-based Acura a-la Lexus 250h.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The main reason there aren’t hybrid Acuras is that the mileage is not good, so it’s not going to sell

      That’s not necessarily true, nor really relevant.  Acura’s (last cut at) branding was as a “high-tech” offering.  A hybrid powertrain, even a weak one, would only help that image, and the green tinge, deserved or not, would simply be gravy.  It would certainly help distinguish otherwise-pointless cars like the TSX or RL.

      It was what Honda tried to do with the Accord Hybrid, only in a more brand-apropos manner.

      I’d hazard the CR-Z would have been better labelled as the next RSX.  Most RSXs weren’t Type-S models and were only moderately sporty anyway.  It certainly makes more sense than hocking it as a base-trim Honda and trying to leverage the legacy of a hair-shirt sports compact.

    • 0 avatar
      itsgotvtakyo

      No disagreement on the RL, but how is the TSX a “pointless” car?

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      I did the same thing a few weeks ago while getting a new tire for our Fit. I preferred the Fit in every regard. I didn’t have complaints about the steering or suspension, both were pretty comparable to the Fit, but (I drove the CVT) this might just be the worst drivetrain I’ve ever sampled. Leaving aside my usual CVT gripes (which ALL applied, this is a bad one), the start stop was shuddery and awful, there were bad vibrations through the chassis and the extra power seemed to dull the 1.5′s character instead of adding to it. I actually preferred the engine “as is”, and this, as mentioned in the article, is no screamer, it’s a relatively torquey small 4 (kinda like an old 2.slow btw). You should be able to add character to an engine like this without trying too hard.
      I think adding that 6th gear to the Fit would acheive better or similar milage than the CR-Z gets, I also think that my Fit already gets 39+mpg on the highway now that the break in is over, and that makes me really scratch my head looking at the hybrid Hondas. If the hybrid technology is going to be such an afterthought, then at least shove a K series in there so there’s something good about the car overall.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    Wow, the best anyone can day about this car is that it looks better in person than in photos (I agree) but is a disapointment in just about all other areas…performance, driving fun, fuel economy.

    Oh, how the mighty have fallen…and Honda deserves EVERY scathing critique, hopefully to shake it out of its friggin’ COMA and get back to the business of engineering class-leading fun to drive cars in each segment. Wake up Honda!!!…you are throwing away decades of consumer goodwill and a richly deserved reputation for superior products…are you aiming to be the Japanese GM?? Even GM is getting it’s crap somewhat together these days, and building better cars than it has in decades.

    As others have chimed in, my family has owned and loved Hondas from the ‘golden era’…CR-Xs, Civics, and Accords and it’s maddening to see what has become of the company…You know, one day soon, Hundai/Kia is gonna discover how to design a 4cyl that screams to a 7500 redline, and also has an excellent shifter, and then you’re toast, Honda.

    May the ghost of Soichiro Honda haunt you bastards until you get back on track!

  • avatar
    Stainless

    With a (much missed) sixth gear the Mazda [Protege5] would probably also match the CR-Z in relaxed driving on the highway.

    Kind of off-topic, but you’re so right. I have a last generation Protege and it’s just dying for a sixth gear — 3700 RPMs at 75 MPH is unacceptable in terms of both fuel economy and noise. I love my car deeply, but its gearing is one thing I will certainly not miss when it’s time to retire the thing.

  • avatar
    TokyoPlumber

    The CR-Z is a product of hybrid-hype marketing instead of sensible Engineering.  Honda could have developed an equally efficient (but sportier) two seat hatchback by following a more conventional path.
     
    The Honda Fit gets 27 city and 33 highway with a five speed manual.  With a five speed automatic the Fit gets 28 city and 35 highway.  To improve on these numbers the Fit platform could have been used as a basis for a lighter, lower two door hatchback with a six speed transmission.  Such a vehicle could have easily matched the CR-Z’s 37 / 39 highway figures without the added complexity and cost of a second (electric) powertrain.

    • 0 avatar
      Invisible

      Sure, but how the heck do you plan to get the CITY mileage up there without the hybrid technology.  The highway mileage isn’t really improved with the hybrid.
       
      OH, and the Insight, CR-Z share platforms with the FIT already.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Sporty? No. Fuel efficient? Not really. Interior space? Not much. Cheap? No. Interesting to look at? Maybe.
    Apart from its slightly odd look (I’m not going to call it distinctive), what on earth has it got going for it? I just don’t get it.
    I’m assuming that the people who eventually buy this thing will be vanity freaks who really don’t care about all of the above. All they’ll want to do is brag to their ‘friends’ about their environmentally friendly sporty coupe. Fortunately for Honda, there are plenty of those fools around.

  • avatar
    Syke

    That kph/mph switch does make sense in certain parts of the country – as the wife and I are currently visiting her mother in Bangor, and have done a couple of day trips over the border in her ’05 Lacrosse, I appreciate it.  Nice to not have to do conversions in your head, and just watch the speedo dial directly.

    • 0 avatar

      I have no issue with the existence of the switch. Just wondering why it’s so large and prominently located.

    • 0 avatar
      bolhuijo

      This kph/mph switch is far less obnoxious and obvious than the one that Pontiac used to put in some of their late 80s / early 90s monstrosities.  I can’t remember the exact car, but I do remember this giant lever hanging down on the right side of the instrument cluster.  Sweet buddha, how often did they think people needed to switch back & forth?

  • avatar
    dominican

    Really? Honda, really? About 7 years ago, all I can do was rave about Hondas of the 90s, all of them really. Then the millennium ticked by and changed, and there still was product left from the 90s to rave about. Then all of the new products came. First they kill the last gen Prelude (I own and DD it) then they kill the NSX, and the S2000 followed. Now I can’t even look at Hondas anymore. All the 90s cars are too old and all the recent stuff is really not good, not even the acuras. Now I’ve bought a BMW, and will buy an S2000, but after that, what?

  • avatar

    Honda had a real chance to do something Toyota and Nissan won’t and has botched it.  That something is diesel.  Scrap the hybrids, invest in certifying the diesels for 50 states and suddenly they could have a TSX (and a Civic) with a nice backseat, good handling much better performance and mileage that would likely trump this pretty bauble of a car.  Would anyone choose this over a 3 door Civic Type R either?
     

    • 0 avatar
      chaimfan63

      Until diesel is the same price as 87 octane, diesel isn’t worth it.  I was considering the Golf TDI and CR-Z when I needed a new car.  I went with the CR-Z because I have a 70 mile commute (each way) and it takes 87 octane at 30-40 cents cheaper per gallon than diesel for the TDI.  I’ve averaged between 44-46 mpg with the CR-Z.  You do the math over a one year, three year, five year period.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    Honda has really let me down as of late.  A quick look at their lineup leaves me with a WTH feeling.  Why do the CR-Z, Insight, Crosstour, and FCX Clarity, even exist?  All are sales blunders (prediction on the CR-Z) that pollute the rest of their portfolio.  The Element is in desperate need of a makeover – Ridgeline too.  So why?  Why Honda?  Concentrate on what you have done best in the past:  Small, safe, good fuel economy, fun to drive autos!  How about a compact pickup with a diesel?
     
     I worry about you Honda…   

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Honda was supposed to bring us the TSX with a diesel engine as the Euro Accord (on which the TSX is based) has an excellent one.  It would not pass CARB with an automatic so Honda gave up (this is not the Honda I recall as Honda made the CVCC engine and did what everyone said was impossible).  The core Honda products suffer b/c they focus too much on a technology the market has spurned in favor of Toyota.  Honda can’t admit defeat as their ego is too strong.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      @jaje

      I’ve read that the Euro Accord and the TL are the same car and in pictures the TL looks a lot more like the Euro Accord than the TSX. Can somebody, anybody, tell me which is correct? Or are the TL and TSX so similar as to be redundant.

    • 0 avatar
      PartsUnknown

      t-i-b,

      Euro Accord = U.S. Acura TSX.  Check out google images.

    • 0 avatar
      itsgotvtakyo

      The TSX is a modestly upfitted euro Accord. The redundancy is the RL. It’s almost identical in size and features to the TL but significantly more expensive. Some argue that they’re two completely different KINDS of cars (and there’s a reasonable case to be made there) but having so much redundancy in the USDM makes little to no sense. The puny sales volume supports this.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      After having done a quick search online I now notice that the current TSX is more like the Euro Accord. However, I still seem to recall a couple years ago that the Euro Accord was a dead ringer for the non-cheesegrater TL. Maybe I’m wrong, or my memory is already failing at a mere 22 years of age.

      I really did like Hondas in years past. When i got my first one 5 years ago (a 95 Accord EX) I thought it was great. Relatively fast compared to my previous vehicles (93 Aerostar, 93 Escort, 91 LeSabre) it was in good shape and looked sedate and not over the top. Then I got my 03 Accord Coupe LX 4-cyl in silver. I liked that car, but determined that silver was my unlucky color (within 6 months of getting it I got hit in a parking lot and had to replace the bumper) so I got rid of it.

      The current generation Accord sedan is hideous. I think the Coupe looks much better, but alas I’m not in the market and am going to teach myself self control and drive my current ride until the wheels fall off.

  • avatar
    jaje

    Anyone recall Honda CEO’s comment about when they once again canceled the NSX and S2000 replacement.  He directed them that the CR-Z will be their new sporty car.  Wow – that cannot be further from the truth.

  • avatar
    charliej5

    I read these reviews and wonder just what kind of cars do you like?  You say this is no CRX, that is correct.  If Honda built the CRX today, it would be panned.  You said you like the first generation CRX best.  I owned one of those and loved it.  Very reliable, good mileage and wonderful fun on backroads.  It also had 83 horsepower.  It was a slow car.  But, it was great fun to drive.  It was fun because it had narrow wheels and tires.  You could slide it around at low speed.  The CRZ is no CRX.  As a car, it is much better.  It is faster, corners harder, stops better.  Low power sporty cars were never about speed.  They were about conservation of momentum.  Get on a twisty backroad and enjoy the feel of the car.  By the way, I don’t own a CRZ, also not intending to buy one.  I simply don’t understand the negativity that so many aim at any new vehicle.  I guess that being an older driver I compare new cars to the ones that I drove 50 years ago.  Any modern car is so much better than any car from my youth.  Why all the negative feelings because the car is not to your specification?

    • 0 avatar

      Because it’s not fun, simple as that.

      I’m not that picky, I just want a car to be engaging and fun to drive. I refuse to believe that the problem is with me. It’s that there truly are few fun cars.

      Totally correct about the skinny tires. This is what I was referring to with “the joy of driving a small car sideways.”

      One of the most fun cars I’ve ever driven was a 1982 Civic. I worked at a pharmacy, and we used it to deliver prescriptions. I think it had about 54 horsepower, and the hood popped up and down violently on the highway.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not a bad car and of course there’s truth to the “modern economy sedan has better performance than a 1970s era sports car” argument. However, it’s sad to be disappointed by a Honda product. I don’t think it’s a slug – it has more than adequate performance for street driving as long as you stay out of Econ mode – but overall the car doesn’t bowl you over with how it impresses you. After a day with it, instead of thinking about what impressed me, I was left with a list of niggling annoyances, some not so niggling.
      We’re used to Honda amazing us. It’s a decent car with flashy styling, but there’s really nothing amazing about the CR-Z. I could easily live with it as a daily commuter, but then I’ve daily driven a Dodge Dart and a Toyota Tercel too.

    • 0 avatar
      Ambrose

      Others disagree that it is not fun:

      http://www.tflcar.com/2010/09/first-drive-2011-honda-cr-z-the-first-ever-hybrid-with-a-quirky-fun-personality.html

      “Zap! Bang! Pow! Here comes the first purpose built “fun” hybrid!

      Waiting for the backhanded compliment? Sorry… I have no intent on creative hyperbole or brooding understatement when I call the CR-Z “fun.” That’s because it is. The 2011 Honda CR-Z is fun.

      Ah, now I hear you pounding your chest as you quote numerous magazines that have brow beaten the little hybrid. As it stands, they make good points when it comes to comparing the little coupe to other cars. It’s not very fast (about 8.3 seconds going from 0 to 60 mph – with the faster 6-speed), it’s not very cheap (about 20-grand), it’s not even jaw-droopingly fuel efficient (26 mpg combined when driving like an ass – - I’m an ass). It’s not even utility smart with the overseas back seats removed for some silly reason.

      But, despite it all – it IS fun.”

      ——-

      “Driven daily, the CR-Z is a much more exciting vehicle than the four-door hybrids.”

      ————————————————

      http://www.thestarphoenix.com/cars/goin+green/3537292/story.html

      “At the Canadian press introduction, the CRZ put a grin on my face and I particularly enjoyed the race track portion of the event just like I would have if this were a CRX.”

      ———

      “As you start the CRZ, the electronic dash comes to life in a busy rush of colours that almost over-powers you the first time you see it.”

      ———

      “I never thought that being green could be this much fun.”

    • 0 avatar
      photogrl13

      I like the CR-Z. It was just as fun as the 2003 Civic SI that I test drove last year. Actually…I liked it more BECAUSE it’s a hybrid. I have options with this car. I can have it in sport mode and have a peppy little car on my hands and have fun driving (YES, it is fun.) OR I can pop it into Econ and have a efficent, albeit boring, little hybrid. I even like how it has a normal setting so I can have somewhere between the two (which feels an awful lot like my husband’s 2004 Manual Civic Coupe. It is way better than any car I have driven on a normal basis (not that I’ve driven as many cars as people older than me), particularly my current car..a 1998 Honda Civic LX Automatic Sedan.

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    Looking over the years, Honda has come out with some pretty unique stuff. The first CRX was met with howls of derision by the automotive press, as was the current model Civic. Alas, Honda when went on to sell about a bazillion of them.

    The CRZ is totally cool in the 20 something set. Sure, it is not cool in the 40 something set, but we aren’t going to buy one anyhow. Want one here in Vancouver? Better get set to wait three months.
     
    They sell cars, loads of them, and make money on every one. They must be doing something wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      Totally cool to college know it alls who don’t buy new cars.
      The CRZ sold 694 cars in August.  It’s a loser no matter how you look at it.

    • 0 avatar
      itsgotvtakyo

      “The CRZ is totally cool in the 20 something set.”
      No it’s not, it’s an insult to those of us in the 20 something set that grew up owning, driving, modifying and loving this car’s ancestors.

    • 0 avatar
      Norma

      “The CRZ sold 694 cars in August.  It’s a loser no matter how you look at it.”
      The official first sale date for CR-Z is August 24, 2010.
      Aug. sales
      Scion tC 1092
      VW GTI 967
      Nissan 370Z 823
      VW Eos 610
      Mazda MX-5 547
      Mazda RX-8 71
      From what I can see, not bad, not bad.
      ‘A loser’? Know your fact first before you post, pleeease.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Canucknucklehead

      It was not a full month. But alas, the Honda Hate is on full bore.

    • 0 avatar

      Any Honda hate you see here is purely a function of how much people love what Honda used to be. It’s tough love.

      Is it possible to stage an intervention with a car company?

    • 0 avatar
      itsgotvtakyo

      Spot on Michael.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      I’m not a Honda hater.  I’ve owned 11 different Hondas/Acuras over the years.  IMHO Honda has really distracted itself with its infatuation with hybrids (Toyota does it so Honda must too) that have not met their own sales expectations, provide only marginally better fuel mileage than an efficient non hybrid car, and are also-rans to the Prius (which Toyota sells more Prius each month than all of Honda’s hybrids combined).  Fact is almost all of Honda’s customers don’t (and won’t) buy hybrids – they buy their normal cars.  If you spend a lot of your time focused only on a small % of your business…the larger part suffers.

    • 0 avatar
      Norma

      @jaje,
      Save Prius, the other hybrid models from Toyota, which totaled 6, sold only 3645 in August. Prius sold better, but still dropped from its height in 2007 (even though the current generation is totally redesigned), mainly because it’s became synonymous with hybrid in public’s mind and media wooed by its EV mode.

  • avatar
    itsgotvtakyo

    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 (an HF) what they want. Everybody wins. My handle isn’t meant to be sarcastic, I’m a Honda enthusiast and loyalist. They’re losing their most passionate customers and it will only hurt them in the long run.

    • 0 avatar
      18726543

      +1 on that my man.

      My current vehicle is a 1995 Honda Civic VX.  Know how many Civic trims could be had in ’95?  I believe 6 in total.  2-door/hatch models came in CX for the cheapster, DX as the up-scale, SI for the sport-minded, VX for the hyper-miler, or in the sedan, EX for the cheapster-with-a-family and LX for the family who arrives in comfort.  And if none of these please you, just check the other side of the lot for another 3 versions of the Accord!  What a great time to shop Honda!

    • 0 avatar
      itsgotvtakyo

      Coupe- LX, EX
      hatch- CX, DX, VX, Si
      sedan- DX, LX, EX

      So yes, six different trims, but nine unique cars to choose from! And it couldn’t have cost Honda much of anything to have this much variation, it’s simple addition or omission on the line.

      Enjoy that VX, I sometimes miss that anemic d15 when I’m putting premium in mine and seeing mid-20′s for MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      18726543

      Thanks for the correction. 

      And yes, highway merges can be a tad hairy (and impossible with A/C), but being a poor college kid, I’ll gladly trade a snappy 0-60 for the 41mpg I nearly always achieve! 

  • avatar

    They dropped off a CR-Z for me to test this morning (I didn’t know that Michael had a second take on the car in the pipeline or I would have asked for a different car to test).
     
    Though I think the car is a bit more fun to drive than Michael thinks, in large part I agree with his criticisms. Some of the worst rear visibility I’ve ever experienced in a vehicle that has glass and not metal behind the driver. Michael said a panel van has better rear visibility, my thought was that I was more comfortable changing lanes in my cousin’s Econoline because that at least has very large mirrors and unlike the short wheelbase CR-Z people get out of your way when you’re driving a full size van.
     
    Here’s a flaw Michael didn’t mention. The exterior door handles are built into the edge of the door. The problem with this design is that most people are right handed and most ignition switches are on the right side of the steering column, so most people hold their keys in their right hand, and in the CR-Z’s left side door if your right hand is occupied you have to make an awkward backhanded grab with your left hand to get the door open. My guess is that the designers, in RHD Japan, didn’t notice this because it’s much easier to open the right side door with your left hand.

    • 0 avatar
      chrisgreencar

      Not to mention that those door handles look like something from 15-20 years ago, and not in a good way. They are straight out of a Del Sol! They also look like they’ll break off after a few thousand (hundred?) yanks. I know I’m not the college-kid target, but the car looks and feels cheap.

  • avatar

    BTW, it seems to me that people love the styling. I got a thumbs up from a utility crew, and a friend’s sister who only drives Hondas loved it. My daughter took pictures of it to send to her friends.
     
    QC seems to be pretty good. That rear quarter / sail panel has a very complex shape where it meets the taillamp unit. There’s an almost perfect and uniform ~2.5mm gap between the body panel and the lamp.

    • 0 avatar

      The rear quarters are lovely.

    • 0 avatar
      wvjdmu

      When I went to test drive it, 4 other people came while I was looking at it, taking pictures with thier phones. Even a woman driving a large gmc suv said she owned a 91 crx and was going to trade in her current car for the crz.  Got a deposit on one coming in a couple weeks. I think it looks awesome. My fiancee even wants to get one. So we will be the couple with big smiles driving our ugly, slow, cheap, hard to see out of cars, and loving every second of it. All you haters need to drive the 6 speed model. I love all my hondas, and im sure this one will be no different.

  • avatar
    JMII

    This car represents everything that is wrong with Honda these days: its interior has a terrible design, the exterior boarders on downright fugly, its gets average mileage and it lacks any sporty-ness what so ever. I’ve owned two Civics and a Prelude, I don’t own any Honda now nor do I have the desire to own any new ones, especially this CR-Z mess.
    Amazing how quickly a company can go from making world class products to producing completely under whelming vehicles. Honda’s downfall began about the time they discontinued the Prelude and added their first SUV to the lineup.
    BTW my brother owned a 2nd generation CR-X Si, it was without a doubt one of most perfect vehicles I have even experienced. It did EVERYTHING right.

  • avatar
    dominican

    The main problem I see is that they are trying to do the hybrid route, and failing at it, while at the same time abandoning performance altogether.

  • avatar
    tparkit

    Somewhere up above, Redmondjp asks, “Why does this car exist?”

    It’s a chick car, and a fashion accessory. Full stop. It exists, in all its messy miserableness, because Honda marketing thinks it can hit a target with it.

    BTW, I sat in one at the dealer, and getting in and out of it was difficult. Honda clearly expects the typical CR-Z buyer to be small in stature (in addition to not giving a hang about performance), and to ask only, “How will I look in it?”

    FWIW, the contrast with the Fit next to it was remarkable. With its high roof and tall doors, entering and exiting the Fit was quick and easy, and the Fit’s interior vastly more comfortable.

  • avatar
    ajla

    In a hypothetical competition between this CRZ, the new Scion Tc, and the base Genesis Coupe 2.0T- would the Honda be the distant third?

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    OK, wait a second.
    I drive a 1st gen Insight on a regular basis for over a year now and use it for virtually all my travels.
    My wife drives a 1st gen Civic Hybrid… which I have nearly emptied two junkyards in the hopes of making it the last of Honda’s 1st gen hybrids.
    I even spent a good part of this afternoon saying hi to a friend of mine who works at a Honda dealer. Even thought of the fact that it would be nice to test drive the CR-Z for TTAC… as my friend charged $3100 for an A/C overhaul on a 2003 Honda CR-V. What can I say. He’s a far wealthier friend than yours truly.
    I get home… and Micheal Friggin’ Karesh is reviewing this car. A really nice guy and all. But is he really in the market for this type of car?
    Paul & Ed… let me break it down for you.
     
    Baruth gets the testosterone poisoned machinery.
    Karesh gets the Camry
    Ed gets whatever car review offers a built in vacation and a few hedonistic pleasures.
    Sajeev likes cars designed for old people.
    I get the nerdy and cheap cars.
     
    Farago offered me this virgin territory back in the day. First there was the Kia Rio…then an Aveo… then I had to go to detox for all the smelly plastics I inhaled during those first two test drives. Seriously, I thought the Rio review was one of my better works.
    Aaahhh… screw it. I guess I’ll enjoy the beater circuit. Nothing like saying hi to old friends that come back to the auctions month after month. Wholesale heaven here I come!

    • 0 avatar
      turbosaab

      ha!

    • 0 avatar

      The Camry? What did I ever do to you. Well, aside from jumping on the CR-Z.

      I’m a big fan of fairly cheap cars. Okay, not five-year-old Taurus cheap, but pretty cheap. Low teens. Most I’ve ever paid for a car is $16,700, and prefer to pay less.

      Ed seems to have nixed a Take 3 from Schreiber. But if you’ve got a much different take, I can see how there’d be room for that.

    • 0 avatar

      Fan or not, you were reviewing luxobarges for months before CR-Z. I though it would be your speciality and eagerly expected a run in a Bently.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      PS… about the $3100…
      It was paid for by a lady who kept on hammering the help about price, offered cash constantly, and kept calling nearly every hour about her vehicle.
      I felt sorry for her. But the kicker was that she already took it to an independent place to have it serviced, and they billed her $1k for about $15 worth of freon.
      Unbelievable…

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    The instruments! Dear lord in heaven; you’re HAVE to wear your sunglasses at night…

    • 0 avatar
      Wagen

      +1

      What is it with Honda and their (recent) obsession with filling the instrument panel/console with every button and light imaginable?  How distracting is that while driving either at day or at night when you want the majority of your visual input coming from outside of the car (the road, other vehicles, etc.)?  Of course, I made a similar comment in another forum and someone replied with “it makes for an ‘interesting’ dash.”  Well, one person’s interesting is this person’s distracting.  Please see BMW for how it should be done.

      I recently had an Accord LX as a rental and found the fact that the IP is lit so brightly when the headlamps are off to be a safety hazard because at night, the IP being lit plus the DRLs being on might lead the driver to not think to turn on the headlamps (no auto on/off in this vehicle) which will leave the car with no driving lights in the rear, either.  I won’t even get into the HVAC and audio controls that seemed to be sized appropriately for Shrek to use.

      Honda, I used to love your products and purchased two of them.  Now, I’d choose you only as the lesser of two evils versus a Camry.  Please return to what you were in the 90s.

  • avatar
    JimC

    35+ foot turn circle?  For a dinky two-seater (with a 96″ wheelbase)?  Really, Honda?  Really?  (You took the words right out of my mouth, Dominican.)  If you don’t care about your former customers then your former customers don’t care about you either…

  • avatar
    shaker

    A bit of a Frankensteinian effort, but at least the stitches don’t show…
    I wonder if the insurance rates are higher because of the lack of a rear seat?

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I just noticed that Honda stock is at its highest level in years.  Maybe it’s that the market expects the Odyssey to have a much bigger impact on the bottom line.   Or that the cycle of recalls is ebbing.  Or that the market believes that if Honda can maintain profitability during carcapoclypse, then it should do great as sales return.

    • 0 avatar

      You seem to be looking at a different chart than I am. The chart I see has the stock price just as high earlier this year. I’ve never paid attention to Honda’s stock price, but now that you’ve drawn my attention to it it doesn’t seem to vary much aside from one big dip in October 2008, from which it recovered during 2009.

    • 0 avatar
      mikedt

      Ug, the new Odyssey. Another fugly car coming out of Honda and I say this as an owner of an Odyssey.

  • avatar
    Irvingklaws

    The 2010 (and now 2011) Golf TDI is a waaaaaaaaayyyyyy better car in every way.  It’s THE best best/closest thing to a performance hybrid out there.  CHEAP is the only thing the Honda has going for it.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Well. CR-Z is intended for young people. If you miss the CR-X so dearly, you must be too old to like this new car.
    Don’t like digital odometer? Come on, go drive a Buick.

  • avatar
    suzane

    The Honda cars, CR-Z is an interesting car. Five months ago, when the CR-Z debuted at the Detroit auto show, it was met by a wave of public indifference. (A curb weight of just over 2800 pounds, which seems impressive until you consider the car’s 95.8-inch wheelbase and 55-inch height.) “Slow,” they said. (122 hp at 6000 rpm.) “Small and silly,” they said. (Two seats, 25.1 cubic feet of storage with the rear partition folded.)
    Also, fuel economy — 31/37 mpg with the standard six-speed manual, or 35/39 with the optional CVT — wasn’t impressive.

  • avatar
    americancarlover1994

    The exterior looks like an Insight went to the gym, so bad, and the interior just looks horrible. I really couldnt take this car seriously

  • avatar
    bludragon

    I poked around one of these in a showroom when I was getting my civic serviced over the weekend.  I was left with a big feeling of looks cool, but what’s the point?  Adding to that feeling was the mph/kph button, and the folding rear plastic bench with the warning sticker that it can’t be used to sit on.
    I think there have been a few comments on this, but the only way this car makes sense is with a NA 200hp 2.0 engine (e.g. K20A), LSD and tuned suspension.  While you’re at it, shrink that kph/mph button, and add the option of fitting small children in the back.  An optional DSG type gearbox would work well too.  No other type of auto should be allowed in a sports coupe, most especially anything CVT based.  They could then keep this model for the environmental crowd without becoming such a target for criticism.

  • avatar
    jdemo23

    I like this car a lot.  I am actually in the market for a car for my little cousin and would love to hear people’s opinions on Honda’s because quite frankly I have never owned one. I do not know too much about cars, but have come across some great reviews/lists of good cars for teenagers like this one http://www.ranker.com/list/top-cars-for-teenagers/car-lists Can anyone with some expertise in cars let me know if I should follow that list as a guideline or do something separately. Anything would help.  Thanks a lot! <!–table

  • avatar
    typer1998

    Wow, what a negative review! I’m excited about this car as are many others. Is there any other car creating this much buzz? The Lexus LFA ($375-$400k), the Nissan GTR ($80k) are not affordable cars. Honda may come out with an SI version and maybe even a Type R version of the CRZ. Still, this first generation and they are already racing it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXe2HAuXLsQ and tuning it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ojhcw6-rZw

  • avatar
    AJ

    Regarding making lane changes and needing a prayer, as I recall the CRX had a higher then average fatality rate, which is why I figured Honda pulled it from the market?

  • avatar

    I’m a regular guy, not a car enthusiast. I test drove the automatic and found the blind spot to be an issue, the split window in the back unfriendly, but the overall drive was fine. I live north of Reno and was looking for a hybrid, but one that had power to race up Mt. Rose for the weekends at Tahoe Lake. The price dictates you are going to not get everything you want. The TDI may be a better drive, but it looks like a box. I like the CRZ look, but am open to suggestions on the 5 days of hybrid driving that is coupled with a weekend sportier performance. Can you make a recommendation on what I should look at? Keep it under 30k with everything.

  • avatar
    photogrl13

    After taking the CR-Z out a second time, I am still equally impressed. The interior noise is quiet compared to what I expected, shifting in manual is smoother than my husband’s ’04 civic, and the overall feel of the car is very refined. I think that Honda did a great job finding the happy middle for those that want a sporty car without breaking the bank on gas. It’s not a sports car. It wasn’t meant to be. It’s sporty. There is a distinct difference. Oh, and fyi I’m 26. Yes, I’m female but I’m not some ditzy blonde that can’t change her own tire either. I’ve driven honda since 2004 and have driven other cars but never been as satisfied. Although there are a lot of people unhappy with the CR-Z not being the new CR-X, I don’t believe it was intended to be just that. The CR-Z is a new car and a new idea. No other “sporty” hybrid exists. You can have your Prius.

  • avatar
    itsgotvtakyo

    Jesus, I’ll say it. Nobody except Honda cares what CR-Z owners have to say about their car, especially women. Those of us that are truly, honestly critical of it are only so because we know what Honda has built and what they are capable of building. Dear, I’m sure you’re a very nice girl that did her due diligence when looking for a new car and I don’t doubt that this will be fantastic for you. But the fact of the matter is that you wouldn’t know a proper “sporty” car if one ran you over doing 100mph. And nobody that knows anything actually wanted it to be the CRX. The CRX was just fine back in the day. What we wanted was the car we’ve been building since we figured out how you could make Hondas good. By that I mean outrageous horsepower from high spinning 4cyls in lightweight cars that can be built to handle like go carts. Honda knows what their cars can do, I just wanted them to actually build it for once. If anything it just makes me sad: they’re losing their most passionate consumers and there’s nothing they can do to get us back. I honestly believe my TSX will be my last new Honda purchase unless they straighten themselves out really god damn fast.

  • avatar
    chaimfan63

    I’ve had the CR-Z for a couple of months now and like it alot.  I get between 44-46 mpg on my hour and a half commute.  And it’s got more than enough zip in Sport mode when I need it.  Is it perfect, no…no car is (especially a first generation).  Insight owners get great gas mileage, but complain about poor styling and performance.  SI owners get great performance but get poor gas mileage.  The CR-Z  has merged these two worlds and obviously meets somewhere in the middle.

  • avatar
    ic8789

    Would I buy one? Probably not. However, I think all the doom and gloom is misplaced. I see the kind of people who buy these all the time and they are not looking for a fast sports car. They’re usually shopping for something that looks cool, with good features, and great gas mileage. Overall it is fun to drive. Its low to the ground, handles reasonably well, and has more than enough pep to get you around town decently fast. While the MPG ratings aren’t up to par compared to most hybrids, you aren’t going to see someone cross shopping a CR-Z with an Insight or Prius. It’ll probably be a 20 something woman who is considering a Civic coupe.
     
    They have been selling really well on our lot and others. IIRC, Honda estimated around 15k units to sell in the first year. I think it’ll be a success in that regard.  Go out, drive one, and make your own opinion. It is selling well (at least around here) with Honda’s targeted audience so kudos to them.

    As an afterthought: I’m a 6’3″ 250 pound guy and I can get in and out of this very easily. Its a comfortable ride packed with tons of features that are very attractive in this price range. Yeah, the cockpit is a bit flashy, but it really isn’t as bad as most people make it out to be. Your typical Generation X techno-illiterate person might be overwhelmed, but that (in my opinion) is the minority.

  • avatar
    Dynasty

    Uh.. I test drove one of these the other night.  Two of them actually, one with the auto and the other with the six speed.  Saying I was disappointing is an understatement.   This car does absolutely nothing well.  It is not well priced, it is not quick, not particularly fun to drive, no cargo space or room for more than one passenger, and not that great of fuel mileage.  And to boot, the seat became uncomfortable after about twenty minutes of driving.
    And why a six speed? I felt like I had to shift every five seconds. And I really don’t like having to shift from first into second gear after about 1 second.
    This car sucks big donkey you know whats. And it is really not that even attractive of a car. Honda missed the mark by a long shot with this one.
    I think Honda and Toyota need to study the demise of GM, otherwise they are going to end up repeating it.

    Edit: I just read through some more of these comments and I’m shaking my head in disbelief. Someone said, “I can put it in sport mode and have a fun quick car.. or econ and have a boring economical car…” Or something pretty close to that effect. In Sport mode, the car is still a dog. To offer some perspective here, I have a ten year old toyota corolla w/ an auto transmission. My ten year old corolla gets 36 mpg on the freeway at 75 mph. It’s considerably quicker than the CR-Z, can fit more than two people, and its paid for. But I will 110% admit, it is a boring boring albeit reliable car and that dash doesn’t light up like an 80s arcade game.

    If someone is reading this and they are thinking of getting this car, do yourself a favor and find a used 90s Honda that has less than 150K miles on it. You will pay a fraction of what this car costs, and have A LOT more fun. And if you are still concerned with mileage, the thousands upon thousands of dollars you save will buy a lot of gasoline for many years.

    Honda used to be such a cool car company. I’ve owned two in the past. And they are not even on the radar for a replacement. Actually, they haven’t been for a long while. Yeah, Honda is falling in the same footsteps of GM.

  • avatar
    Cheule

    While this car review isn’t specifically untruthful, it is also clearly biased against the car from the get-go. In the first paragraph Michael admits his prejudice against the car prior to driving it. Every comment about the car further elaborates on that bias.

    As an actual owner of a 2012 CR-Z EX CVT, you might accuse me of the opposite. But I did want to point out that some things in the article just don’t make sense to me. It’s true that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you make an efficient hybrid car you’re likely to see lackluster acceleration, but you should see better than average gas mileage. Michael points out that the car seems underpowered, then also cites that he only got 28mpg. I’m left wondering what was going on with his car, or maybe perhaps, his driving habits. I get 47mpg on my hour long commute from LA to Oxnard CA.

    I can only assume that his hatred for the Insight (which did drive like a dog) made him punish the CR-Z :)


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