By on September 30, 2010

After reading Tal Bronfer’s review of the Euro spec Honda CR-Z, I made arrangements to get a North American model for a week.  The car arrived the same day that Michael Karesh’s second review of the CR-Z ran on TTAC. Instead of a third review, Ed and I discussed doing a comparison with an original CRX and seeing what CRX fans think of the CR-Z. Well, it didn’t work out that way ….

There’s no question that  Honda evokes the two seat coupe from the late 1980s and early 1990s in the CR-Z. I suppose the nomenclature skipped a letter in the sequence, but then who wants to drive a CRY? The similarities extend beyond some distinctive styling cues. The CRX was a sporty and economical car. The CR-Z is supposed to be sporty and green/fuel efficient. Honda marketing pitches the car as a “sport hybrid“. The CRX helped popularize the import tuning scene and the car is still much beloved amongst Honda performance and tuning enthusiasts. Honda is clearly pitching the CR-Z to the tuning market. Honda gave six of the first CR-Zs in North America to Honda tuning shops to see what they could do with them and to please display them at the upcoming SEMA show once they are properly hopped-up.

I started to search for a clean, not-too-modified CRX, preferably a first generation model. I live in the Detroit area, not exactly a hotbed of the ricer tuner scene. But Detroiters are supposed to be gearheads who can appreciate cool cars and there are car enthusiasts of every stripe around here. Looking on Craigslist, there were a few 2nd gen CRXs for sale but most were kind of tired and would pale next to just about any new car. Some were highly modified with things like JDM drivetrain swaps and body kits. One had some mods but was basically stock in terms of the interior. It looked promising and the listing said it was in Troy, only 20 minutes away. I sent the seller an email suggesting that helping me with the comparison and getting his car on a million hit site like TTAC wouldn’t hurt his chances of selling it. I also figured that as a Honda enthusiast he’d get a kick out of a fairly early look at the new CR-Z. I got back an email saying that the car was in Florida, ready to ship for free because another buyer backed out… in other words, a scam.

None of the CRXs on eBaymotors were within a reasonable drive so it was on to Plan B. I went to some Honda fan websites looking for Honda clubs and Honda tuners in the region. Auto Addiction is a speed shop in Rochester Hills that works on all kinds of cars, foreign and domestic. Their business card features a trick Scion xB. In the shop there was a freshly painted yellow AMC Hornet hatchback (w/ a V8) undergoing restoration, along with a rat rod and a chopped Yamaha RD350. Hondas, though, are the true love of shop owners Andy McPherson and Mike Kilgore, and shop personnel own a few CRXs. Andy told me that it was going to be almost impossible to find a CRX in original condition. Their own cars have engine swaps, turbos, roll cages and non-stock interiors.

Andy graciously invited me over to their shop to look at their cars, but I decided that while an actual comparison wasn’t practical I’d still visit them to gauge the reaction to the CR-Z from dedicated Honda fans and tuners, one of the CR-Z’s target markets. When I got to Auto Addictions, Andy and Mike and their employees all circled around the CR-Z like it was a new toy. From the reaction from Honda fans and the general public alike, the styling is an unqualified success.

When I asked the tuners what they thought of the car’s potential, they said that the front end’s geometry, styling and contours were amenable to appearance mods. They suggested blending some of the front end shapes and adding a splitter below. On the inside they liked the seats and how Honda used some parts from their Si models like the steering wheel (which on the CR-Z has blue stitching to match the other blue touches in the interior). They were less impressed with the Tokyo-by-night instrument panel.

As far as the show part of the tuner scene is concerned, Honda seems to have hit the target. The go part is a different story. Though I couldn’t let the Auto Addictions guys drive, it didn’t matter, their opinions about the CR-Z had already been formed.

Andy and Mike know one of the six tuners who received one of those early CR-Zs. There were conditions from Honda. They could not substantially alter the drivetrain, which uses Honda’s 1497cc L15 engine plus an integrated electric motor that provides power and torque assist (and replaces the starter and alternator, allowing for regenerative braking and auto-stop of the ICE). That restriction on drivetrain modifications was probably due to Honda’s knowledge that the first thing that real world tuners would do with the CR-Z would be to drop in a K Series engine from an Accord or Acura. That’s what McPherson and Kilgore said that they’d do. The CR-Z’s drivetrain, with the ICE and electric motor combined, has but 122HP. The least powerful K Series engine has 160HP, and variants go up to 260HP. An additional 40HP, or even better 140HP, would transform the CR-Z from a not so sporty hybrid to a pretty nifty sport coupe. It already has the styling and the handling (albeit with numb steering). I don’t know if a two-seat coupe with legitimate performance creds would outsell the same basic car sold as a sporty car that’s guilt free because it’s a “hybrid”, but I wonder just how many green performance car enthusiasts there are.

The CR-Z has been less than a critical success. Comment threads and fan forums have echoed the critics. The consensus response from the Best & the Brightest to Michael’s and Tal’s reviews has been that the CR-Z is a car with no real purpose. It’s sold as a “sport hybrid” but its performance is neither sporty nor does it get the gas mileage people associate with a hybrid. In terms of both performance and fuel efficiency, the CR-Z’s raisons d’etre, it’s just not superlative.  Maybe that’s why they didn’t call it the CR-Why. The CR-Z is fine around town, even fun if you leave it in sport mode which boosts the electric assist and changes the engine mapping, but the first time an owner tries to do a 60-80 acceleration on the freeway they’ll be disappointed. While the IMA allows you to putter around subdivisions in 5th or even 6th gear at ridiculously low RPM, if you want to head out on the highway you’re going to have to downshift to 4th if you want to get the motor running in a hurry. You might move faster than a hypermiler in a Prius, but you’ll be embarrassed by a variety of genuinely sporty small cars.

Honda obviously thinks that the CR-Z has sufficient performance for their target customers, with potential for more. According to McPherson, Honda of America Racing Team has made a couple of show cars that do explore the performance possibilities of the stock CR-Z IMA setup, using the typical route of modified intake and exhaust components on the ICE. It seems, though, that even though there are tuner mods available for the L15 engine, the best bang for the buck will be a K Series swap. Racerboys (and girls) with Fits and Jazzes replace their L15s with K Series engines, and they’ll do the same with the CR-Z. Even Honda knows that tuners and racers will go the engine-swap route. That’s why they told those six tuners to use stock engines.

There’s also buzz from the aftermarket. The folks at Auto Addiction heard that Hasport, a company that specializes in performance brackets and mounts, was working on K Series motor mounts for the CR-Z. I spoke to Brian Gillespie at Hasport and he verified that they were working on mounts to make a K Series CR-Z a bolt up affair, but that the new mounts, originally scheduled for next month, will have to wait until next year. Gillespie said that Hasport has a good working relationship with Honda and that Honda requested that they wait until after this year’s SEMA show for the introduction.

Gillespie said that Hasport’s K Series mounts will be available by early 2011. As far as the stock drivetrain is concerned, he said that he knows of one company that is already working on a supercharger and that the exhaust setup on the stock CR-Z is ideal for mounting a small turbocharger. He predicted that both those forced induction accessories will be available for the CR-Z within a year. The big question is if Honda will make a tunable ECU available that will allow the use of performance parts on the ICE while still keeping the IMA.

When asked if he thought that the CR-Z would sell, Gillespie at first said no, but then reconsidered and said that he’s heard a “fair amount of buzz” about the car. He agreed that the CR-Z is crying for more power. Other than the engine, it’s a nice small sports coupe, which brings to mind Mrs. Lincoln and plays.

When was the last time you heard of a car company discouraging the sales of aftermarket go-fast parts so they wouldn’t make the stock “performance” car look weak? When a key part of your target market says that the first thing they’d do with the car is swap out the drivetrain, you may have missed the mark.

Why didn’t Honda spec the CR-Z with a bigger motor in the first place? I think that in order to keep the CR-Z credible as a hybrid it had to be able to at least get within hailing distance of 40mpg (around the city I was first getting about 29mpg, but after ~800 miles, including about 500 highway miles, the average went up to a bit more than 38). The concept behind the IMA system is to use a smaller ICE, an electric motor and high gearing to get better fuel economy. Going to a bigger ICE with the IMA might yield better mileage than with the ICE alone, but it wouldn’t get close to 40mpg. It would, though, be more fun to drive.

Going with a smaller engine may have been driven by a need for high MPG figures and credibility as a green car. That decision, though, has fatally compromised the car’s credibility as a sporty car. I believe that Honda should have made the CR-Z with a larger displacement combustion engine. With Honda tagging the CR-Z with the label “sport hybrid”, people already understand that the “sport” part comes at some fuel economy cost and they won’t expect the CR-Z to get Prius level gas mileage. They’re willing to pay that cost if there is indeed some sport involved. By moving the needle too far in the green direction, Honda may have shot themselves in the foot. A CR-Z powered by an IMA equipped K engine would still have been a hybrid with some green cred but it would also have had true performance. Few things are worse than unachieved potential. The CR-Z could have been a contender but Honda sold it out to the green mob.

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53 Comments on “Honda Knows The CR-Z’s Not Very Sporty...”

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Honda’s place in the automotive market has changed immensely since the CRX. For them to make the CR-Z a complete spiritual successor to the CRX would have been CRaZy. The CRX was sporty, economical, fun to drive and extremely affordable. That helped Honda establish a foothold in the market, as that’s kind of how all Hondas were at the time. But now? It’s a new world. Honda did the right thing by making this a stylish coupe that’s “eco-friendly.” Whether it is eco-friendly or not doesn’t matter. Now that I’ve seen one, I think it’s a slick-looking car, has enough technology to appeal to nerds, and a price that the college educated and still employed and under 30 crowd can afford.

  • avatar

    All they had to do to sell tons of these things and get back that market was plop that upper body on the lower body and powertrain of the standard Fit, making sure it weighed a little less and tuning the suspension to be sportier, then sell it for a little bit more. It would have gotten gas mileage in the same ballpark, been faster and handled better bone stock, been more modification friendly for the people serious about performance, and with the styling and cheaper price of entry gotten a lot more young people into Hondas much like the original did. Instead what they have is a car that looks the part but is a complete joke otherwise.

    • 0 avatar

      + 1

      I had a 2005 C230 Kompressor sedan a few years ago.  It was the “Sporty” version of the last generation C-Class – made to look like an AMG, but really it was a 1.4L Supercharger 4 banger.  It was peppy enough (0-60 7.2) and handled like a champ.  It also weighed quite a bit for a car of its size, yet STILL could pull low 30s MPG for gas milage.

      So why can’t Honda start with a smaller lighter car, supercharge a small 4 cyclinder and then add an electric motor?

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Yup. A CRX-styled Fit would have been the way to go.

      As it is, this thing is pointless.

      Drop in a K-series motor, and they coulda resurrected the Prelude.

  • avatar

    Grassroots Motorsport has a great comparison of a rather original CRX and the new CRZ. Of course, they probably had a better range of pickings for the CRX. Still, a great article. This car would seem to be a fine commuter, a small footprint and something enjoyable to go around urban areas.

  • avatar

    –the tag is wrong ‘Hona CR-Z’–
    I like the design but unfortunately the problems this car has are even worse in the Netherlands cause they are compounded by the tax system: it’s not efficient enough to be exempt from certain taxes that cars like the Civic IMA and (crinch) Prius do qualify for, and at the same time it’s not sporty enough to pay that much more cash for it (because of taxes).
    Shame really.

  • avatar

    Next year Honda will have the Hyundai Veloster  to contend with. 140 hp, 40 mpg, and seating for 4. There are rumors that the Veloster might get the 200 hp engine as well. Honda needs to wake up.

  • avatar
    Headroom Tommy

    “but then who wants to drive a CRY?” Lmao I lol’d while over this, thanks.

    I wonder where Honda’s customers fit in age wise nowadays, particularly compared to 20 years ago.

    In the city I see the kids are still ricing up the old civics, but not many newer ones.


  • avatar

    When I first read about the concept CR-Z I immediately thought Honda would take one of their high revving engines and combine it with a hybrid drive so you get the best of both worlds – Low end torque from the electric engine combined with the chunk of HP found in the upper reaches of the VTEC sweet zone.

  • avatar

    I fail to see how hybrids are more green than an equivalent fuel efficient substitute (this is considered as a whole and not the owner’s simple out of pocket expense).  The hybrid system requires a more complex manufacturing process (for said drivetrain and battery bank) and mining of rare earth elements (in this case lithium).  If you keep these “green” costs in mind the hybrid actually produce more green house gasses in its production than a comparable car.

    Let’s take the Prius – yes you get a bigger delta in fuel economy ~ 10-12 mpg over a new generation of fuel efficient engine (Hyundai Accents new 1.4 GDI ~ 35mpg combined).  The Prius will cost significantly more (and yes I know it has greater content) – but I fail to see how you or society itself will make any money back (tax credit aside which only adds to our federal deficit), and will the Prius ever get that much better fuel mileage and pollute less over its life to offset the higher emissions in production?  Then, what about the eventuality of when the battery needs to be replaced (you might be safe out of pocket with an warranty, however society actually loses as there’s the emissions of production / recycling of these batteries).  With all the costs in mind, I see Hybrids as a greater societal loss as a whole rather than a solution.

    If Honda instead passed on making its complex mild hybrid (it just can’t compete with Toyota’s parallel system or even GM’s upcoming series system) and instead put its brilliant minds on making the standard ICE substantially more efficient by: switching to diesel engines as they already match / beat hybrids highway mpg (especially in its heavy vehicles – how is the V6 Honda Pilot getting worse mpg than full size v8 powered trucks?), adding start/stop technology (to help boost city mpg), improving the efficiency of transmissions by adding gears sooner and improving the CVT, implementing direct Injection, or downsizing displacement significantly by using forced induction, lightening up the weight of the cars.  In the end these small incremental improvements in mpg in their core products will far more than offset the sales of the very few hybrids they sell. Honda would be much more successful and probably meet upcoming CAFE standards better as their entire fleet will be more efficient.

    To really make my case…consider the CR-Z…if the Veloster shows up with more power, 2 more seats, and likely high 30’s combined mpg (and the way Hyundai is going it will look better) – the CR-Z is a complete failure. I’m writing up my own review on my blog about the CR-Z but am waiting to do an actual test drive (hard to do around my racing schedule). I’ll compare it to the 88-91 CR-X HF I used to own (with the HF engine an the Si engine). I still have an EF Civic Hatch but it is no longer “stock”.

    • 0 avatar

      I think you’ve read too many “dust to dust” reports… you act as if cars are the only things out there planning on using batteries.  I’d venture that cell phones, ipods, and laptops waste and destroy more batteries, by volume, than even if 20% of cars became a hybrid of some sort.  If anything, Honda’s IMA hybrid is so simple and mild that it basically is an incrimental improvement to the IC.  By cutting batteries out, you are saying “Hey, that energy we could be getting from braking… no need.  Let it go.”

      Diesel is probably the only way to make this car less fun to drive.

    • 0 avatar

      – Lithium, no matter what Limbaugh says, isn’t rare.
      But, it is a Wall Street sucker play:
      This is why you ALWAYS Second Source anything Limbaugh Says.

    • 0 avatar

      Quentin – If you’ve driven a modern diesel engine – they have decent acceleration and fun to drive (why people think diesel is a step down from an IMA assist engine is beyond me as the IMA engine has little in the way of acceleration and the diesel meets and betters its highway mileage).  If you truly think diesels suck and take the fun out of driving – please drive a BMW 335d or Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

      As for saying the IMA is really an improvement over the normal ICE, then explain why Hyundai take a 1.4 liter engine and add GDI yet get similar mileage and power all for a substantially lower cost than Honda’s IMA system.  I’m not saying Hybrids are a complete loss b/c in research of them we’ve found some neat innovations that can be easily adapted to standard cars – such as start/stop technology, improved aerodynamics, etc..  I just don’t agree with a $3k+ premium to buy a hybrid in which it commands a 1% market share for all light vehicles.

      It is hard to argue when people only see it as how it affects their pocket book and their analysis stops there.  All the intangibles are forgotten and the total lifecycle of the car is something ignored altogether (some just don’t get this argument b/c they do not see the cost to society as a whole). Overall to me hybrids are inefficient and have little promise.

      Mike999, please – don’t go down that pathetic road of politicizing my opinion. I don’t ever listen to or consider anything Limbaugh says. There are costs to mining lithium and transporting it around the world. The largest producer of lithium right now is China which they are now limiting exports on most rare earth elements.

    • 0 avatar

      The comparison of the Prius to a Hyundai Accent is completely bogus.  The Prius is a real-world car with no compromises for most drivers compared to a well-equipped Focus or Civic.  Comparably equipped, it’s also not much more expensive than the Civic in the real world.
      The Accent is a physically punishing car to drive, clearly the worst penalty box you can buy in the U.S.  I took a 250-300 mile day trip in an Accent earlier this summer and felt like I’d been beaten up by the time I got home.  For starters, at 70 mph, you essentially can’t listen to the radio for the engine noise.

    • 0 avatar

      Patrickj: Oops I meant Elantra not Accent – good catch.  The Elantra will come with Hyundai’s new 1.4 liter GDI engine supposedly next year.  The Elantra is less of a penalty box than the Accent.  However compare a Yaris with an Accent and the gap is not that large as both are very cheap cars.

    • 0 avatar

      I have a 2003 Civic Hybrid and have been very happy with it. I agree with your point though. I had to replace my hybrid battery at 100k miles. Honda did the $4000 repair for free, and said they would recycle the battery. Not sure what that entails though. The repair guy said the hybrid battery is about the size of 4-5 regular car batteries. I get 40-45 MPG, can drive in the carpool lane, fill up once a month – 450 miles a tank, and never have to get a smog check. Still, I miss my old 1988 CRX-SI (32-37 MPG) and my 1998 Integra Type R (22-27 MPG) and have been considering getting a CRZ. The dash seems kind of cheap and unlike jdm and europe the US doesn’t get the glass roof or leather seats. Oh well.

    • 0 avatar

      When has Rush Limbaugh ever said that Lithium is “Rare”?

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    IMHO this all illustrates, once again, the principle of “you get what you pay for.”  Honda’s IMA hybrid concept is cheap and it delivers appropriately low-rent results in terms of both fuel economy gains and performance.  Toyota (and Ford’s) parallel system delivers superior fuel economy (Prius) or superior performance with somewhat better fuel economy (Lexus GS 400h; RX-400h).
    In three words: the powertrain sucks.
    Fix that and you might have a nice car.

  • avatar

    I personally dislike the styling intensely.

  • avatar

    The CR-X was created by engineers.  It was a car that created its own niche based on its qualities.
    The CR-Z is created by the marketing department. What else do you expect?  Build some crap and market it to the gullible.  It doesn’t matter if it is sporting or efficient.  If you spend enough marketing dollars to call it a “Sports Hybrid”, you can rely on Uncle Goebbels to take care of the perception.

    • 0 avatar
      Amendment X

      Bingo. That’s what you gotta realize. In an age where a fledgling automaker is trying to impress the market, it engineers a car from the ground up to certain specifications.
      In an age where an established automaker is pandering to a trendy new (green) ideology, it mashes together a few parts and calls it a day.
      Any real enthusiast is going to rip all of that hybrid sh*t out of the car and put in a proper engine. Common sense.

  • avatar
    John R

    If Honda is smart they’ll let this farce continue for a another 6 months and then introduce a CR-Z Si or some other nonsense with a K-series motor. With or without IMA makes no difference

  • avatar

    I’d like to drive this car just out of curiousity.  The front styling is quite good… but I do not like the 1st gen Insight butt.  The seats and interior seems nice enough.  On paper, though, this thing is begging for something that revs nice and high instead of the hybrid drivetrain.  The drivetrain, IMO, should be in the Fit.  People that highly rate good gas mileage highly rate practicality.  Those looking for a small, light, fun runabout aren’t going to be terribly concerned about a few mpg because the car will already be quite efficient. 

    • 0 avatar

      Is an Insight driver, which has the same power train, I’d say, if you drive no more then 20 mph faster then the speed limit you will be happy with this car.  If you need to drive faster then that, you should be on a track.  But, yes, this car does not compete with a Mustang GT.  The electric motor has 200% more torque then the gas engine, at least that’s how it feels.  It’s a great city car, suburban car, commuter car.  Highway racing?   No.
      Then again, this car can cut your fuel bill in half, and that’s nice month in and month out.

    • 0 avatar

      My GTI was a riot from 0-70 (pretty frequently able to make that run getting onto the freeway).  I have my doubts that the CRZ will have a similar feeling.  With the Civic’s K20, though, I think it would be a proper sporty car. 

      Like I said, I haven’t driven it, but I doubt it will make me smile like an idiot the way the S2000 or my friend’s 99 Si did.

  • avatar

    Honda’s really going to need to start to simplicate and add lightness to all of its vehicles before I would consider them again.  Take the CR-X, beef it up for modern-day safety standards, slip in the engine from the Civic SI to add power to offset the additional weight, and that might be something I’m interested in.  Don’t make it huge and don’t make the IP look like I’m driving a cartoon car.  The CR-Z and where Honda’s going in general just makes me CR-Y.

  • avatar

    Compromised products never function as well–see TV/VCR combo for example.

  • avatar

    I actually do not have a problem with the hybrid part of this.  Hybrids and electrics are where the technology is going for now and Honda needs to demostrate that they are at the front or near it.  The problem is that Honda is doing a slapdash half-assed job of it with the CR-Z.  Their execution of the hybrid is so bad that it seems almost pointless – even more so than their past failures.
    The CRX was an icon of honest simplicity, reliability, fun.  It is a shame that the marketing folks are using its good name to peddle this lackluster pretender, but I guess that is what all marketers do since they can’t do anything else.

  • avatar

    I think someone got the labels mixed up in Honda R&D.  This car should have been badged “Insight” while that actual Insight was probably meant to be called the “Metoo”
    On a serious note, had this car been called the Insight I suspect the complaints would have been more or less nonexistent.

  • avatar

    “It already has the styling…”
    Hang on – isn’t this the car that TTAC said “should never have been made” and described as one of the ugliest vehicles ever created?

  • avatar

    I like the styling more then the Civics, but what makes this car so different from a Civic? An Si is better, and a Type R best.

  • avatar

    Ronnie – you should have posted a request on, a very active forum for rabid 1st gen CRX enthusiasts.
    I would have driven my 99% stock, original engined, almost totally rust-free 95,000 mile ’86 CRX Si over from Milwaukee for your comparo.    It’s got to be one of the last unmolested 1st gens out there.

    Anyway, I haven’t driven the CRZ yet but last week parked next to a neighbor’s for some comparo pics.  It was surprisingly not much larger than the original, but 600+ lbs heavier, same or worse economy (I get mid to low 30’s), and similar speed isn’t much to crow about IMO. 

    Some pics of mine (only non-stock items are Tokico blue shocks, semi-ricer muffler put on by the PO that doesn’t sound half bad, period Momo wheel (stock one retained) and a fiberglass sunroof to replace the rusted out original):

    She’s a warm weather car only, goes into hibernation in a friend’s warehouse from ~Nov-April. 
    Kind of strange that I’m more protective of, and serious about keeping the CRX in good shape than my ’85 308GTS…


  • avatar

    Automaking is full of compromises. Honda should have made a decision from the get-go whether this would be more sport or more hybrid. More sport would have meant a more powerful engine; more hybrid would have been, well, more fuel efficient. You can’t have both and excel at either, and the stock CR-Z doesn’t. They were going for balance, but ended up with mediocrity.

    • 0 avatar

      That is the Honda Accord business plan since 2003.  The 2003 and newer Accords were built to be more sporty than a Toyota Camry and at the same time more comfortable than a Nissan Altima. Right in the middle. It was suppose to appeal to everyone.
      Honda ended up with a car that was neither sporty nor comfortable.

  • avatar

    Finally saw one inside a Honda dealership and liked it from the outside , not so much from the cheap plastic interior inside with non-adjustable steering wheel , no sunroof option , and no right rearward visibility with the tiny useless v shaped rear window . Liked the Fiesta better , especially the one in the link below even though it’s a bit rough on the tires .

    • 0 avatar

      I am going to have to agree with you Zombo. I managed to get over to my local Honda Dealer and was rather fond of the looks. I thought it had a very cutting edge design that looks like it would sell like hot cakes, aside from the ever so boring interior that I for one think is found in 99% of honda’s. (Apart from the early 90’s “cockpit” style interiors like the nsx) I would not compare it to a fiesta although. I do not think someone that may have the CR in their cross hair’s would compare it to the ford… Thats just me though.

  • avatar

    The main complaints I’ve read about the CRZ are the mileage and acceleration times. The mileage on the sticker isn’t that great, I’d agree. The actual mileage people are getting is over 40 from several posts I’ve read. I’m still waiting to read one from a reader who is in Econ mode and driving the car easy. I would expect 45-55 mpg maybe more? I had a 1988 CRX-SI for over 120k miles and got 30-37 MPG regardless of how I drove it. My 2003 Civic Hybrid got 36 MPG driving around SF, but gets 40-45 living in the suburbs. I admit, 23 years of innovation hasn’t produced as much as some would have hoped, but is there another manufacturer that has done better than Honda? I loved my 88 CRX-SI and will always regret selling it, but I bought a Integra Type R (22-28MPG) and didn’t need two cars. I’m very happy with my Civic Hybrid, but am considering getting the CRZ. The JDM and European versions have leather seats and a glass roof. I wish the USA version had these options. Oh well. I admit that the dash does seem kinda cheap. I couldn’t find the gas cap release. It turns out there is none, just push on it and it pops out. I didn’t see a trunk lid release either. The three mode option is intriguing. In my Civic Hybrid I can shift to S for Sport, but that’s about it. I’m really wondering about all the changes these buttons make. Mileage and acceleration. Wait till we have some definitive tests in Econ, Normal, and Sport modes for both mileage and acceleration. I’m interested to see these numbers. Still, the CRZ is fast enough for me, maybe not as fast as my 88 CRX-SI, but with the Econ mode I can get over 40 MPG, something I couldn’t do with my CRX-SI. I can also set it to Sport and get better acceleration, tighter steering, and ?, something I can’t do with my Civic Hybrid. I’ll post again after I buy one and have driven extensively.

    • 0 avatar

      Perhaps you release the hatchback like the gas cap – you just push on it??? GRIN!

      I had an ’83 CR-X. Tiny engine but plenty to cruise the interstate at 75 mph. I paid $150 and drove it for 18 months. The guy I bought it from paid $50 (yeah FIFTY) and drove it for three years. Bought it from a guy shipping out (we were in the Navy) and he did not make time to sell it.

      Car had plenty of room for two and luggage. I still prefer my ’87 Accord hatchback but the ‘X was the right car at the right time for my needs.

      Did you know that in Europe they sold the ‘X with a backseat in it?

      Let’s get back to light weight cars that get good MPG without all the Star Trekkery tricks. I’d be interested in the VW Polo TDI if they’d import that. 75 mpg! No hybrid tech involved. The Polo is alot like the Honda Jazz/Fit in size and shape.

      Size we need a family car I’m going to shop the Jetta wagon TDI when the time comes. 48 MPG on the highway a friend reports. I’ve had/have alot of VWs over the years. Always good. No perfect but we love ’em.

    • 0 avatar

      There is little difference in mileage depending on your driving conditions between the 3 modes. If you are cruising normal and sport get about the same with econ getting a little better under 55 mph. Over 55 normal seems to get better mileage. The throttle response especially in the manaul transmission is huge between the 3 modes. The biggest benifit of the econ mode is it uses considerably less power from the gas engine and more from the electric motor but it runs down the batter faster as well. The steering does tighten up a lot in sport mode which some will like others won’t. I drive in normal about 70% of the time and in sport the rest and average 39 mpg about half and half driving. Doing 50 mph with the cruise set i will get over 50 mpg on flat roads. As far as the gas lid you just push on it and it opens. The rear hatch is opened by pushing a button under the handle in the back. There is no release inside the car in the driver seat.

  • avatar

    I love the styling, and agree with the sentiment that Honda shouldn’t have tried to make this is an eco-car (complete misfire) and make it something like a Prelude.  Honda needs to remember that actual sales are more important than pat’s on the head.

  • avatar

    The first thing anyone who wants “sport” from the CRZ is rip out the crappy engine and put a K series in. Period. Hasport has already made the motor mounts. All you need is the engine. Honda, you should have chosen one or the other. Sport or hybrid. You have made a crappy sports car and a crappy hybrid all in one. You have actually aimed for mediocrity.

    This is the kind of thing that kills brand loyalty. Toyota has already lost its sporting heritage, in favor of vanilla camry’s.

  • avatar

    I bought a fully load CRZ-EX, with an auto transmission-after I read all the lousy reviews on this car. Why did I buy it?  Because I had a Honda Accord for over a decade, and it never so much as broke down on me.  And, because Honda has a very good reputation for making very good and reliable cars.  I had a mini cooper, and it did great until I took it from Arizona to Washington State.  It seems that the mini cooper doesn’t like cold weather too much, and I started having problems with it, and it started being unreliable.  So, when I took it back to Arizona, I sold it, and then went and bought a Honda CRZ.  I took the Honda CRZ back to Washington state for about two months, and I never had one problem with it (by the way, my mini cooper was just two years old when I sold it). 

    Critics started giving the CRZ bad reviews before it even got on the road good.  And, most of them never even drove one.  I also drove one of my friend’s Toyota Prius for awhile when they went out of the country.  I will admit that the Prius does get good gas milage-but it is no better than the Honda CRZ in that area.  The Honda CRZ had three different drive modes to choose from-the sport mode, which allows the car to hug the road and curves better, the econ mode, which allows the car to take the best advantage of the battery and gas milage (by the way, I do use this mode when I’m driving around town, and I have saved a considerable amount of gas-thank you), and then you have the normal mode, and I still am able to get between 35 and 40 miles per gallon of gas in normal mode-which is more than what Honda says you can get with the CRZ. 

    And, the Honda CRZ-EX models are super fast.  My car held its own against a Mercedes sport coupe, and even beat a 2011 Nissan 270 Z going over 110 miles an hour on a strip of isolated highway.  I think this vehicle is getting a bad rap before it even gets on the road good.   

    And, you don’t have to plug the car into your garage electrical socket to recharge the battery either, because the battery recharges itself-which in turn saves you not only money on your monthly house electric bill, but, you also don’t have to worry about the battery dying out before you can find a place to recharge your car if you have to drive over the range of the battery charge-like the chevy volt-which is being way over rated by the way.  

    And, I was able to haul two floor lamps, and twenty bags of groceries in the rear of the CRZ.  It looks like it wouldn’t hold much-but it does!  I was even surprised myself-but, I got the car so I could get women-and it is doing the job in that department, too.  I never really had a problem getting women, but now, I’m getting way more than my fair share.  Thanks, Honda.

    Out of a score of 1 to 10, I would give the CRZ a 9.5-taking off a half point because the visibility in the rear window is somewhat hindered by the cross pane.  But, over all, the car is sick as hell (which means super good).  I would suggest that half of you people on here who haven’t even driven a CRZ do so before you bash it, because they are selling like hot cakes, and I had to go to four car dealships before I found one that was on their lot.  


    • 0 avatar

      Oh man… This one made me smile.

      Assuming you meant 370Z, I promise you did not beat the car, you beat the driver who probably decided a hefty fine and a few points off the ol’ license were not worth smoking a car with less than half the horspower and torque.

      As to you saving a considerable amount on gas, well… Good for you! *thumbs up*

  • avatar

    Not gonna find its way on my lot.. PR car is right.

  • avatar

    I laugh at these reviews of the CRZ. I bought one a few weeks ago after doing a lot of research on a lot of cars. My criteria for a new car was one that had a manual transmission, got 30+ mpg no matter how i drive it, have lots or truck/storage room for i am an outdoorsman and do a good bit of hunting and competition archery shooting where a car can go to, and have a car that doesn’t look like something an old woman should be driving. It basically came down to the ford fiesta, chevy cruze, and the honda CRZ. I checked them all out and drove them all and in the end the CRZ was the funnest to drive, price was close on all of them, and the storage room was great on the crz. I have had aweful luck with chevy in the past with not being very reliable past 100,000 miles and honestly never been a huge ford fan but i do not mind them but the crz just stood out compared to the others. After 1200 miles thus far on the CRZ I am averaging 38.9 mpg with half city driving half highway. My best tank was 42 mpg and i was moderately easy on the gas pedal then and my worst was 36 mpg which i was driving it like i stole the dang car. I get lots of great comments about the car and i absolutely love it. It is fun to drive with plenty of power to make the tires squeal when leaving a stoplight. My EX model with the 6 speed manual transmission will do 0-60 in mid 8 seconds with the traction control off which is way faster than the 10 second times these clowns post. Honestly i was kind of disheartened by the CRZ before i went and actually test drove one and it is a way nicer car than many claim. This car will run right with my previous 04 Toyota Tundra with a V8 so why all the bashing on the speed theme it is plenty fast. If you want to race a car buy a $60,000 muscle car but if you want a sporty economical car that you can run through the gears with the manual or have a smooth driving car with the CVT(but considerably slower), this car has it all.

  • avatar

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  • avatar

    I’ve owned a 2011 CRZ for the last 7 months 26000 miles, I get 40 plus MPH, & have a ball driving to every Casino Poker rm here in the North East, taking it to Tampa FL HardRock soon, on 3 tanks of gas, from New Haven CT. & the tank holds only 10 gals of gas. It’s quick enough, & nimble enough for me. Base model Auto trans, cost me $22200 out the door, with the Cash I won on PokerStars, as they ( PokerStars ) closed down to USA players 4/13/11, so it was a free car for me.
    When it gets older, I might drop a small block Chev into it, maybe in 5 yrs…..

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