Why The Honda CR-Z Is So Ugly And Should Never Have Been Built
Ok, it’s not exactly a new phenomena: car company shows a low and slick concept, and the final product looks like an obese baby seal. We took GM to task with its Volt bait-and-switch routine. And now we take on Honda, although probably not quite so ferociously; given that the gap between the CR-Z concept and production version is a tad bit narrower than the Volt Grand (Lie) Canyon. But the Volt was always intended to be a four-seater; not the CR-Z. Therein lies the Honda lie: it’s ok to just chop off the back of a sedan and call it…not good.
The problem in both cases is one word: cowl; as in cowl height. There is no doubt in my mind that the CR-Z is essentially a shortened Insight, forced to share the same hard points (key chassis/body structure elements) as its bigger sedan brother. Blank out the CR-Z from the cowl back, and imagine an Insight body instead. All of a sudden, that big bulbous front end makes (some) sense. The problem is that the CR-Z is trying to be a sporty little coupe like its (almost) namesake, the immortal CR-X. Well, I’m not sure if the CR-X had to the Civic’s cowl structure or not, but if it did, Civic front ends back in the day were a hell of a lot lower than they are today, thanks to the double-wishbone front suspension and a different styling ethos at the time.
Update: Profile pictures also show the extreme front overhang in relation to the rest of the car. And specs reveal that the CR-Z weighs exactly 24 pounds less than the substantially longer Insight (CR-Z: 2720 lbs; Insight: 2744 lbs)
But trying to force the Insight’s W. C. Fields schnoz on the front of a sporty little two seater just doesn’t cut it. Either spend the money to drop the cowl and build a proper sporty car, or…don’t. The whole question of what the CR-Z is trying to be, a sporty hybrid with mediocre fuel economy, or a hybrid sports car with mediocre performance is unfortunately as confused as its marriage of a sedan front end with a sports car middle. The result is a hybrid of a different sort; a mish-mash of styles and performance goals that reminds me painfully of another car with a similar problem: the Gremlin or the AMC Spirit/Eagle Coupe. Trying to serve too many masters, or being too cheap to do it right is not a recipe for success.
Or the Ford EXP, which suffered the same high-cowl problem (shared with the Escort) as the CR-Z. Note the black-out paint on the bottom of the side windows, to try to make them look deeper then the actually were, just like the Volt.
More by Paul Niedermeyer
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Tassos Unlike Tim, I don't use this space as a wastebasket for ANYTHING BUT a proper used car.If you seriously need a car AND you are as destitute as Tim's finds imply, HERE IS A PROPER ONE FOR YOUR NEEDS:You can probably get it for only $4k, WITH Leather, Factory Navigation, plenty of room and a V6.https://www.cars.com/research/toyota-camry-2005/I even considered getting it myself as an extra reliable car.
- Jeff Of all the EV trucks I like the Rivian the best but I am still years away if ever from buying an EV.
- Kwik_Shift I definitely like the looks of the newest 300s over the Chargers.
- SCE to AUX "Should car companies shack up with tech giants in order to produce legible infotainment systems and the like? Or should they go it alone?"Great question(s).The River Rouge days are gone, where Ford produced whole cars out of raw materials entering the plant at the other end. Nearly everything is outsourced these days - sometimes well, sometimes disastrously.But the problem with infotainment systems is that they are integrated with the car's operation. VW has delayed entire products for issues with infotainment.For me, the question boils down to a contractual arrangement - who owns and maintains the code forever? Since more and more of the car's function is tied to the infotainment system, I'd argue that the car mfr needs to own it - especially the larger ones.Do mfrs really want to share intellectual property with Huawei just to fast-track some code they've managed themselves in the past?
- Kwi65728132 I always did like the styling of the 300C and it was on my short list for a new (to me) rear wheel drive, naturally aspirated V8 luxury sedan but I found a Hyundai Equus that was better optioned than any 300C I could find and for several grand less.