By on October 26, 2014

2015 Honda CR-Z - Photo Courtesy HondaSeptember 2014 was American Honda’s lowest-volume CR-Z sales month since December 2012.

248 CR-Zs were sold last month even as Honda dealers sat on sufficient inventory, at least by the standard of the CR-Z’s low desirability quotient, to sell more. According to Automotive News, Honda had a 79-day supply of CR-Zs at the beginning of the month, and of the 963 new CR-Zs Cars.com is currently showing in its database, the vast majority were in stock during the month of September.

Through the first eight months of 2014, Honda was selling 337 CR-Zs per month. Honda sold 4550 CR-Zs in 2013, equal to 379 per month. Monthly volume peaked at 1819 units in April 2011. After 5249 CR-Zs were sold in the final five months of 2010, annual sales reached 11,330 units in 2011 and then plunged to 63% to 4192 units in 2012. 2013’s recovery, at less than 9%, was moderate.

We’ve known for years that the CR-Z was not a CRX successor, but success could theoretically still have been located in some dark corner of the American car market if consumers had been convinced that the CR-Z represented something no other automaker offers. It’s an efficient two-seater with oddball styling, a desirable Honda badge, and some joy in its chassis.

Unfortunately, the CR-Z isn’t really all that efficient, with EPA numbers of less than 40 mpg on the highway. Manual-transmission CR-Zs are rated at just 31 mpg in the city.

In its record-setting month of April 2011, the CR-Z accounted for 2.6% of Honda passenger car sales, a figure which fell to 0.4% in September 2014, when sales were 86% down from that peak performance. Year-over-year, September sales were down 6%, a decline of 16 units as the overall auto industry grew 9%, as Honda brand passenger car sales jumped 17%, as Honda sold 1095 Accord Hybrids.

As for CR-Z alternatives, it’s difficult to know where to start, as there are no absolutely direct rivals. Fiat 500 sales jumped 29% to 2737 units in September. The Hyundai Veloster was up 22% to 2777 sales. Mini’s five-pronged Cooper range was down 42% to 2116 units. Scion tC sales fell 15% to 1404. Total Volkswagen Beetle volume was down 49% to 1821 units.

As for cars which sold in CR-Z-like numbers last month, that list includes the Porsche Boxster (275), Hyundai Equus (261), Jaguar XF (258), Porsche Cayman (245), the Nissan Cube (238), and Honda’s own Insight (240).

Ah yes, the Insight. We’ve already discussed its demise. As much as the CR-Z wasn’t as well executed as enthusiasts would have wanted, we can hope that Honda won’t force us to write a CR-Z eulogy any time soon. We can hope Honda will give it another shot, not with a supercharger, but with a completely new approach. There’s no need for Honda to give up. We’ve had about enough of the giving up with the dead and gone CRX, Integra, RSX, and Prelude.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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86 Comments on “September 2014 Sales: Honda CR-Z Takes Another Dive...”


  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Mazda called and they want their Snoopy nose back.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Look at that rear wiper!
    It’s on the effin’ ROOF!

    Have we now gone as far as possible with idiot squashed D-pillars?

    Oh, wait…Urus

    Edit: Commented before caffeine, didn’t realize this is just an insignificant tidbit for boy racer types. Real people have nothing to fear from this.

    Phew…

  • avatar
    Brian P

    This car should have had the vestigial rear seat that the European models had (even if only suitable for emergency use), and powertrain should have mirrored the Civic, skipping the hybrid nonsense.

    If a car like this isn’t going to be economical then it ought to be fast, and this was neither!

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      Exactly!

      The Hybrid powertrain should’ve been an option, not the only choice. Or at least should have been a performance-oriented setup.

      I can’t see a 200 hp Si/Type-R version of this can sitting around showrooms for long. But the current iteration is just another example of Honda’s hubris.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Simple, and always has been. No power, no torque, no sale ;)

  • avatar
    insalted42

    How to make the CR-Z (more) desirable:
    1.) Get rid of Hybrid system
    2.) Drop weight to around 2200 lbs (if taking out the hybrid tech doesn’t already get it there)
    3.) Give it the standard Civic engine
    4.) Lower the price by ~$5k

    Basically, make it into real modern CRX. The gas mileage might even improve…38 mpg for a hybrid is pathetic. That’s barely better than a Fiesta.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      This is my idea:

      1. Start with a Fit, remove the rear seats, center console nonsense, make it into a FWD coupe.

      2. Re-style the back akin to a CRX

      3. Offer a jazzed up variant with the Civic engine, and a stripped “high economy” model with the base Fit engine.

      4. Please, for the love of the NSX, don’t over do the Gen-Y marketing.

      5. Release the new NSX so we can start complaining how its just an Audi R8 knock-off.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        If you’re lucky, the savings on deleted components will come close to offsetting the costs of marketing, certifying, and crash testing a separate model. Unless it’s something truly spectacular or unique most folks will just buy a similarly priced Civic coupe and avoid the insurance penalty usually set ion 2-seat cars.

    • 0 avatar

      @insalted42

      AGree. Interestingly, some people take the original Insights, which weigh around 2k, remove the hybrid and stick 2 liter toyota engines in them. (The handling on those cars is terrific, surprised the hell out of me the one time I drove one.)

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      This

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      1.) Possible to work, loses some cache.
      2.) Where are you shaving this weight? 500 lbs is a HUGE number to shave out of a car this small, so are you taking structural steel or using ultra-lightweight materials?
      3.) Sure, that’s not a big deal.
      4.) This makes the car unprofitable or close enough as it stands. With the others done (namely the weight reduction) you’re probably losing 1-2K on every car.

      The better option is just upping the HP/Torque output with a supercharger or turbocharger and move on. Turning it into a hatchback Miata isn’t going to win it market share.

      • 0 avatar
        insalted42

        Even if they priced it at ~$18k, it’s still cheaper than the $20+k currently. It’ll never be a volume seller, but at least then it might be able to build something of a following among Miata people, CRX junkies, and 17 year old girls who think its cute instead of just languishing as an overweight also-ran hybrid.

  • avatar
    Rday

    Hmmm is this what happens on a weekend or slow news day?

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Synchronicity!

    Just now back from a swell breakfast at the Perkins across from our Honda dealer. Moseyed over after eating to look at the new Fits they FINALLY received.

    Lo and behold one of these roaches was sitting on the grass in front of the main entrance. I have never, ever seen/noticed one at that dealership before. Unprompted, my wife began joking about the low roofline and farce of a rear seat (“You could maybe fit one cat. Sideways.”).

    Never even looked at the sticker, was too concerned with trying to keep my omelet down.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      They they won’t even make a good second/third-hand commuter because: mediocre MPG, no backseat, and questionable longevity of hybrid tech.

      Honda’s gonna Honda. Sometimes they knock it out of the park going against the grain, other times they really just CR-Z it into the weeds.

  • avatar
    tedward

    It’s failure is really simple, the car has one of the worst modern pairings of transmission to engine with the automatic gearbox. As far as the manual goes, it is neither powerful, especially characterful or particularly fuel efficient. I see them around occasionally lowered and upgraded, and it does look good so equipped, but every one of those owners walked right by better performing cars to buy one.

    I would love to know the manual take rate on this car (the only hybrid manual available.) It really is so much better than the auto, which shakes the car violently on stop/start, that I think it would reveal something about how they are being sold and to who.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “I see them around occasionally lowered and upgraded”

      Lowered?

      I just walked around one today at my dealer’s lot after breakfast across the street. First one I’ve ever seen/noticed there. I could easily urinate over the top of it with nary a drop striking.

      Lowered?

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Haha yeah lowered. Just sport springs or coils, so maybe an inch or so. The thing is this is an interesting looking car from a brand with a strong rep for performance compacts, and it doesn’t handle poorly. Everyone else’s game has moved on considerably in the engine department though, and the crz doesn’t handle differently or much better than the 2nd gen fit it is based off of.

        I owned a fit when I curiosity test drove this thing. The fit was a 6mt swap away from being a better car in every respect, the hybrid system added no positive value to the crz.

      • 0 avatar
        bosozoku

        That’s a great image. Now I’m the one having trouble keeping my breakfast down.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    To echo what’s been said: This only needed a little more power. 50 HP and comparable torque would have made this a really sweet little car.

  • avatar
    dwford

    An ugly car that does nothing well. Makes the Hyundai Veloster look like a smart buy.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “There’s no need for Honda to give up.”

    The market for two-seaters is just about dead. And whatever market remains demands more performance than this.

    This is an homage to a car that was a hit during its time but that nobody would buy today. Giving up on this would be a wise move.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      It failed pretty miserably as an homage to the CRX. It’s slower and less fun to drive as a Civic. It’s fuel economy isn’t what you would expect either. It might have had a shot if it was a modern CRX instead of this.

      • 0 avatar
        bosozoku

        The CR-Z makes the Del Sol seems like a purist’s successor to the original CRXs by comparison.

        And yet Honda were on the right path to making this a really great little car.

  • avatar

    For a manufacturer that was indeed first to the US market with a mass-produced hybrid, Honda sure has NO idea how to market the damn thing in any application at all.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      So many have bemoaned other manufacturers giving bean counters primacy over engineers, but maybe Honda goes the other way to their detriment.

      According to Wiki, chief engineer “Norio Tomobe believes the hybrid element will make it a sports car without guilt.”

      Huh? Guilt in the boy racer class? Ludicrous to us but anyone who has read the obligatory green-happy boilerplate at the beginning of most every Japanese engineering publication has to suspect that just maybe Tomobe-san said that in all sincerity.

      So Honda lets a green-washed engineer run with a silly misinterpretation of American buying segments and this is the result?

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I think this is the biggest problem Honda has right now. It’s their big green push against everything else.

      • 0 avatar

        I rememeber all the jazz about the CRZ being the best of both worlds and being a technologically-advanced CRX successor when Honda forgot what the CRX was about in the first place – a car so honest and basic that it created its own merits of thrift, efficiency, and spiritedness and sold itself based on said merits.

        Its so painfully simple to take the CRZ’s admittedly attractive outer shell, equip it with a good infotainment system, power package, cruise control, and a 6-speed gearbox with automatic option and give it the Fit’s motor with an Si version fitted with a factory turbo. That. Car. Sells. Itself.

        Instead, let’s cram it full of our bespoke hybrid garbage that is at heart truly garbage and add it to the list of cars that are Too Sophisticated For You Plebes to Understand. And the fact that Honda continues to integrate their hybrid drive system like its even worth the trouble is like playing Russian Roulette, taking a bullet in the face, and then continuing to play.

        There must be a wing in Honda’s museum called You Just Don’t Know What You’re Missing with the CR-Z, Accord Hybrid, Civic Hybrid, and 2nd-gen Insight on display…with mark-down pricetags.

      • 0 avatar
        bosozoku

        >a sports car without guilt

        Instead they made it a a sports car without balls.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Last year a local dealer in my area had a demo or pre-owned with a manual and only a few thousand miles for around $14k. Quite a deal if you need a econo car don’t want a penalty box Versa, Accent etc. and can do without the rear seat.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      That is a nice deal for a commuter car.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        “don’t want a penalty box”

        I just snooped all around one this morning. If there’s a better definition of penalty box I hope to never see it. That thing would cramp Verne Troyer.

        Can you guys seriously see yourselves folding your bodies into one of these and hammering your spines on every pothole and expansion joint for your daily commute? Plus, out there be monsters! You wouldn’t need privacy glass because you’d always be in shadow.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          I once sat in a CR-Z and found it to be fairly comfortable for my 6’2 200 lb self. Granted the D-Pillar and backlight takes some getting used to. As a comparison I had a fair of trouble fitting into a Lotus Elise or the Tesla version because of the high sill and narrow opening. Back in the 80’s I once drove a friends CRX and it fit me well.

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            I have a rescue kitty who was found stuck in a drain pipe at about 4 weeks of age. He now has permanent claustrophobia to the point where the vet has to come to the house for his shots because he can’t be gotten into a carrier without using rhino tranks on him.

            I’m like that with cars so I recuse myself from further discussion here.

            You normal folks go ahead and enjoy.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Really? 14K for only 2 seats when you don’t want a vehicle that has 4 usable seats and an actual trunk space? If you’re in the market for an economy car you would be better served buying a used Civic, Corolla, xB, Accent, or Focus. The problem is the price tag is too high to attract people who can only afford 15-25K and too underpowered to attract people who could use it as a weekend/commuter car for work.

      Basically it works out to this, if you can only afford in that price range you’re better off buying a Corolla, if you can use a second car you’re going to buy a Miata or Boxster. It just doesn’t have a good reason to exist without much more power.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Extremely low mile’d hybrid car for 14K makes a great commuter in my book. Does power matter if your commute is 45 min over six miles? Yes I would miss the trunk space, but I wouldn’t miss rear seats because so many C and B segment cars don’t have usable room in the first place. I think if you’re working in an urban setting and commuting from the suburbs chances are you have a real salary and can afford a 15Kish purchase. $14K over 60 months at @ 2.9 is $250.94, which is nothing. I say buy the limited use semi-roadster car and use it as a straight commuter and pick up the used transportation of you choice for weekend use/fun. Here’s another reason, reasonable depreciation. The first model year is 2011, the two highest mile’d examples did 96 and 72 with 52K and 58K miles respectively. So you buy the CR-Z, get 50K miles out of it, and still get probably 7s after five model years with 40+ mpg. Corolla costs more, does not get 40+ city mpg, and does about the same with higher miles in the same period.

        MY11 Honda CR-Z base

        10/10/14 PA Lease $9,200 18,278 Avg BLUE 4H P Yes
        10/09/14 SO CAL Lease $10,500 22,567 Above BLACK 4H 6 Yes
        10/20/14 NJ Factory $9,800 23,371 Avg RED 4G A Yes
        10/06/14 PA Lease $9,200 23,878 Avg WHITE 4H A Yes
        10/10/14 PA Lease $10,100 29,248 Above RED 4H A Yes
        10/21/14 PORTLAND Regular $11,700 30,312 Above GRAY 4H A No
        10/16/14 ATLANTA Regular $8,100 52,267 Avg BLUE 4H 6 Yes
        10/22/14 SAN ANTO Lease $9,600 52,827 Avg BLUE 4H A Yes
        10/02/14 DETROIT Regular $7,200 58,632 Below SILVER 4H M Yes

        MY11 Toyota Corolla L

        09/30/14 ORLANDO Lease $11,500 22,961 Above SILVER 4G A Yes
        10/07/14 ORLANDO Lease $10,100 25,293 Avg SILVER 4G 5 Yes
        10/09/14 ATLANTA Lease $10,400 26,915 Avg GOLD 4G A Yes
        10/10/14 PA Lease $8,500 29,290 Avg GREEN 4G A Yes
        09/30/14 ORLANDO Lease $10,200 30,931 Avg BLACK 4G A Yes
        10/14/14 ORLANDO Lease $9,300 32,985 Avg WHITE 4G A Yes
        10/21/14 ORLANDO Lease $10,100 36,315 Avg RED 4G A Yes
        10/15/14 CEN FLA Lease $6,800 66,060 Below RED 4G A Yes
        10/13/14 NASHVILL Lease $8,000 70,522 Avg GREY 4G A Yes

        • 0 avatar

          Thanks for reminding me that trying to buy a Corolla for retail to try and make money as a smaller independent is pissing in the wind.

          I was at Ocoee last week bidding on a ’13 Corolla S w/25k that for some reason had caught my eye. I went up to $12,5 until I woke up from the ether, realized I’d have to advertise this thing for like $14,995 after all the fees, transport, etc. and would still be competing with new Toyota stores giving away new bodystyles for $99/mo on a lease, then walked away to find something I could actually make money on…like an Aztek. Or just about anything else.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          Lets be fair then, if you’re traveling 6 miles in 45 minutes you need to use mass transit. That’s about the speed of travel in a mega-city like NY or LA. A medium city would be about 20 minutes or less for 6 miles. Presumably a 45 minute commute one way would be closer to 15 miles at low speed or 20 miles if you included some highway (averaging 20/26 MPH). I know you’re based out of Pittsburgh so I totally know that 6 miles in 45 is possible but you would need to be limited to city streets or major choke points, Pittsburgh is a really bad example in these cases but you could reasonably travel from Mt. Lebanon on Rt. 19 to downtown Pittsburgh in 30 minutes and that’s closer to 11 or 12 miles.

          So a car that averages 38 MPG is a nice improvement but a modest hybrid like that actually would suffer greater loss due to the constant idle that a regular ICE wouldn’t. It is one of the genuine drawbacks to a heavy-idle commute. But that being said your argument doesn’t hold water with me except to question why would I want TWO vehicles I need to drive and haul groceries in? I understand the principle concept you’re saying because you’ll lose less with the CR-Z over the Corolla but the practical benefits (not to mention insurance) seem to counter the resale benefits. If I lost real-world 2-2.5K after 3 years and about $1500 in real world gas savings it still only amounts to a benefit of $3500-4000 operating benefit which isn’t negligible but introducing a second vehicle to ferry for friends or groceries or a ‘fun car’ eats up the benefit.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Xeranar

            I briefly commuted from the South Hills to Southside via Banksville Rd in 2011. The trip in the morning took 40-45 minutes on average with most of the time being spent on Banksville, waiting to merge on to 376, and then sitting in line waiting to get onto the Grant Street exit to hit Second Avenue and Hot Metal Bridge (which had little traffic coming out of town and was quick). I misspoke on the distance as I checked Mapquest the trip I describe is 9 miles, not 6.

            “But that being said your argument doesn’t hold water with me except to question why would I want TWO vehicles I need to drive and haul groceries in?”

            I think this is where we differ, I personally don’t view one car as a catch all as each has a purpose. If we’re talking one new expensive car then I see your point of view much more, but in this case it was a cheap used commuter. If I did not already have my stable of vehicles and had to do the commute I described again, I see the sub 10K otc CR-Z @ $14k or less as a real option for a commuter. In my case for another option I would already have a second one (I’ve had two or more cars since 2005). Now to your argument as someone buying this CR-Z new or even used as an only car, I agree it is much more limited. Does a Prius or even Corolla make more sense for the average person? Yes I believe it would both new or used, but the CR-Z in this case is selling on price. The other thing we assume here is this car is being sold to an individual only. What if the buyer were part of a couple and had access to another ride? The same logic would apply. Everyone’s needs are different, but in the couple situation the need to have two cargo or passenger carrying vehicles could be somewhat redundant.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Xeranar – fyi it ate my comment, maybe it will show up one day. Essentially I agree with you in the “this is my only car” sense that CR-Z is very limited in use and appeal. But I view it as a car with a specific purpose sold at the right price point, and I would always have at least one other car to fall back on because I’ve had two or more for nearly a decade. I think it depends on the economics as you point out, if one is not saving enough in gas it becomes a losing proposition given the limitations and need for another vehicle. The other thing I think we both glossed over is access to another vehicle via a spouse/partner etc. If I live with someone and they have a conventional vehicle we/they pay for as a sunk cost, the used CR-Z then becomes somewhat more viable based on its price point (depending on the economics as you point out).

        • 0 avatar
          bosozoku

          “10/16/14 ATLANTA Regular $8,100 52,267 Avg BLUE 4H 6 Yes”

          Wait a minute! This is a 2011 CRZ with 52k and 6-speed for $8,100?

          How would one go about tracking this car down? It would make a great replacement for my current commuter.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            This is just auction data, based on the data available to me there is no way for to tell you how to track it down (if the VIN was attached to the MMR data you could). My thought to you is search the interwebz armed with the knowledge nobody wants these and dealer’s cant sell them. Use the valuations in any negotiation, Black Book is really the gold standard but Manheim data is close.

            I also like how you agree with me this would make a nice commuter.

          • 0 avatar
            Marko

            Hmmm…I’d never buy one new, but I’d actually consider one at that price. It shouldn’t be too long when we start seeing 2013s (first year to accept the supercharger kit) there.

  • avatar
    carnick

    It’s all been said so well by so many others, there’s no need to repeat it – too slow to be fun, not economical enough to be thrifty. It’s such a shame, it could have had it all. The CRZ could have been the rebirth of the CRX line, with economy, middle-of-the-road, and sporty versions (just imagine how amazing it would have been with the AP2 F22C1 engine from the S2000!).

    Honda truly has lost its way ever since Soichiro Honda passed away (it’s funny how the passion and vision of the founder of a company makes all the difference). I think Honda is now a company being suffocated by lawyers. I’ve owned 11 Hondas over the past 40 years (including currently a S2000 and an Accord, and two CRX’s in the past) and have been a long-time fan. I wrote a letter to Honda, making some humble personal suggestions about putting a decent engine in the CRZ (along the lines of what everyone here is talking about). I never expected a reply, I just felt compelled to put in my 2 cents.

    You can’t imagine my shock and surprise when I got a letter back from the company’s general counsel! Not someone in marketing, product planning, or even customer relations, but the head lawyer! You can imagine what it said, a full page of CYA bureaucrat-speak. Unbelievable! I would rather have had no response instead of a lawyer rambling about how my letter doesn’t give me any intellectual property or ownership in any design changes they may make. All I wanted to do was express my views as a long-time Honda buyer about what I would like to see in one of their products.

    Combine that with Honda asking its customers to sign a waiver acknowledging the Takata airbag issue in used cars, and I think you have clear signs of a company that’s been taken over by lawyers. As Peter DeLorenzo on autoextremist.com would say, it’s a big, heaping, steaming bowl of not good.

    Let’s all bow our heads in a moment of silence, in memory and tribute to a once great company, and hope that someday, when all the lawyers are gone, it might be back.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Great post. Based on what you’ve said and what we’ve seen, look for Honda to slip into a malaise. GM has a completely different history, but once the lawyers and beancounters got control it was all downhill from there.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      This merely sounds like Honda is proactively trying to ward off nuisance lawsuits for prior art by armchair engineers out in the diaspora. Does any other global manufacturer behave differently?

      Unrequited purists should start their own companies.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I’m beating the dead horse here, as it’s been said half a dozen times already. They flubbed the release completely with that engine. Call it a Civic hatchback, offer the 2.0, 2.4, and hybrid as powertrains, and watch it fly off the lot.

    Call it a CR-z just to invoke nostalgia, cripple it with an engine nobody wanted (prior to production I remember so many people BEGGING for a K24 under the hood), and scratch your head wondering what went wrong.

    This car cannot be saved. I predict that there will be no gen-2.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      If there’s a 2nd-gen CRZ I’ll literally eat my hat.

      Still… I’m a Honda guy, and part of my secretly hopes that they build a new one that address the current model’s problems. But I know that a sequel would probably only get larger, heavier, and even more milquetoast in reality.

    • 0 avatar
      C. Alan

      The car made no sense in the Honda lineup. Is it a economy car? Nope. Is it fun to drive? Nope. It was just an attempt to take advantage of the CRX legacy, and it failed miserably.

  • avatar
    carnick

    It would be so easy to save this car, and turn it around from the embarrassing failure that it is into a stellar success.

    I think the demand is definitely there, as both an economy and a sports car. Just look at what the original first generation Insights are selling for. Cars on eBay with well over 100,000 miles are going for more than they cost new, because economy minded buyers want hyper-mileage cars, 2 seats notwithstanding.

    As a sports car, look at how prices of S2000’s have been creeping up, and the sales of Miatas. I think there would be plenty of demand for an even more practical, FWD hatchback (sign me up for two).

    To add to the frustration and lunacy of the situation, Honda already has the motors that would slip right in to the CRZ, to make both sports and economy models. 1.5, 2.0, 2.4, or how about the legendary F22C1?

    But, you’re right. It’s not to be. Honda is slipping inexorably into what will likely be a multi-decade malaise, if even ever it will turn around. Because Matsui Yamada, the President of Honda North America, thinks that when a long time customer and enthusiast writes to him expressing passion and suggestions for his product, the best response for him is to turn it over to the lawyers for a CYA blah blah response. How sad, and how disgracefully pathetic.

    I never met Matsuda-san, and (of course) never had the privilege of meeting Soichiro Honda. But, after relishing cars like my S2000, and a couple of CRX’s that were imbued with his soul, I feel like in some way, I might have fleetingly felt Soichiro Honda’s passion. In a very tiny, small way, I know a very little bit of him that way. No disrespect is intended, but Matsuda-san, you’re no Soichiro Honda.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      Soichiro was to Honda what Steve Jobs was a to Apple (in purely product and direction terms, not management style or personality). Soichiro went and the products following kept up with his demands and desires for a bit, but eventually drifted into easy outs and cheap substitutes. It’s going to be the same for Apple. They’re already starting to lose their mojo regarding new product and advertising, and it’s only a matter or time before the hype and momentum falls away and people start looking elsewhere.

      I’ve always liked Apples and Hondas, but my new phone is an Android and my next car probably won’t have a square H on the front.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I’m amazed that people still buy these things. In EX manual trim this thing costs more than the Veloster Turbo, Fiesta ST, Sonic Turbo, and a few other much better cars.

    What’s the point of a coupe that doesn’t capitalize on its body shape? This thing should have been the second coming of the CR-X, debuting Honda’s new turbo 2.0 and maybe even an AWD system too. Would have been a giant slayer.

  • avatar
    TW5

    CR-Z is one of the vehicles that best exemplifies Honda’s corporate philosophy for the US market: Create vehicles that answer questions no one is asking. Will Americans pay a premium for an underpowered manual hybrid coupe? Will Americans pay $5,000 less than Prius for an inferior Honda clone called Insight? Will the Civic SI be as cool if we kill the K20Z3?

    Honda has lost most of its self-respect.

    The Insight should exist in an evolution of its previous form, rather than ceding the segment to VW (who punted it away with the XL1). CR-Z should be an affordable Gen Y car, since they are the people most willing to accept two-door, two-seat, non-sportscars. The luggage shelf in the back might even be interpreted as “practical”.

  • avatar
    Pecci

    Honda just recently started offering a bolt-on supercharger for 13-14 model years. It ups pony count to 197. It also adds some … well just read the link below.

    http://automobiles.honda.com/cr-z/hpd.aspx

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      That webpage is Honda accidentally admitting that they have no idea what they’re doing with this car, or who they’re marketing it to in the first place. It reminds of seeing Scion sponsoring heavy metal concerts while selling mostly bland, built-to-price JDM breadboxes that nobody really wants or needs.

  • avatar
    daver277

    I own an aging Insight1 that can get 80 MPG when I work at it. When I heard rumours of the CRZ, figured it would be the perfect replacement.
    I was heartbroken. It’s way too big and half a ton too heavy.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Do any of you even remember the first CRX? There were no back seats, it had the base Civic engine, there was no turbo and certainly no AWD. Why in the world would anyone think this car needs a turbo and AWD?!? Even when the Si came, do you remember what the difference was between it and the regular CRX? Fuel injection, hence the “i” in Si, and a sunroof. It didn’t even have power windows. It was basically a more stylish 2 seat Civic hatchback, not a flagship performance powerhouse. It wasn’t practical, Honda had other cars to fill that role.

    The CRZ outperforms the CRX and the Si in essentially all categories. It is even priced about the same when factored for inflation. It has grown 3-4 inches in all directions and gained about 400 lbs, and that is compared to the original car that was essentially a tin can. It has nearly the exact same power to weight ratio of the CRX Si. And it has a level of equipment the CRX never even offered. You can buy a supercharger kit for all years for around $4k if you need more power, there are aftermarket and dealer optional suspension improvements if you need better handling, you can even get back seats if you order them from Europe.

    Even if Honda made a CRZ Si, all of you would still just complain that it wasn’t RWD or AWD, didn’t get 50mpg, have 200hp and weigh 2000 lbs, didn’t have a back seat, was ugly, etc. Not like anything that is even remotely feasible makes the B&B happy. Oh and for the record, do some research, other Honda motors do not just “drop right in”, people have done K20 swaps and they are a lot of work.

    • 0 avatar
      Scott_314

      +1, see my reply below.

    • 0 avatar
      mcarr

      The market has already spoken, and no one agrees with your argument. It’s already been said, drop the non-performing hybrid drivetrain and associated weight. Hopefully end up 200-300 lbs lighter using the Civic drivetrain, which is in keeping of the spirit of the CRX. (and would be 350-500 lbs lighter than the Civic. Drop the starting price $3k to $17k and I predict much better sales. Plus, the media wouldn’t hate it (probably) and thus would write glowing tributes to it.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Its not an argument by any means, the car is a legitimate sales failure, I get that. But most of the complaints here are not valid, like complaining that a Prius isn’t fast or a Mustang doesn’t work well for baby seats.

        Honda doesn’t have to change the engine or lower the weight to sell more of them, if they dropped the price to $17k you would see more sales. Drop it to $16k or $15k and they would sell even more of them. That isn’t rocket science, its just common sense. But no other manufacturer sells a car like this at the weight, HP, and price range the internet know-it-alls say this car needs to be. What makes you think Honda can sell a Civic Si engine in a Fit chassis with a bespoke 2-seat sports car body weighing 2200 lbs for $17k??

        The fact is 2-seat sporty coupes just don’t sell like they used to back in 1990. Back then everyone I knew wanted a coupe, now everyone I know only likes sedans. Add to that the lease deals on the Civic coupes mean you can get two Civics for the payment of one CRZ and this car doesn’t have a chance. But you see in the comments how much more interesting the car is to people when they see you can get a used one for $13k or less. If the car is so bad then why would they want one at any price??

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    Guess I’m one of the very few to like this car.

    I for one think that the only true mistake Honda made was not including the useless back seat. People like me with small kids could have lived with it, but now we can’t.

    Other than that, enthusiasts and the media just ganged up on it and the buying public (which usually ignores the media and enthusiasts) couldn’t overcome that tsunami.

    Just think, if sales were even somewhat respectable (say Fiat 500 level), we would now have that 197hp version available from the factory.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    I drove one of these a few times when I had it in my used lot. It’s one of the weirdest vehicles I’ve ever driven. Some notes:

    – It was a manual hybrid.
    – In sixth gear with eco mode on cruise control could not keep the car going at 100kph.
    – In Sport mode it was actually kind of fun to drive.
    – The rear seats haven’t been completely removed, leaving these weird semi-seat bins that aren’t particularly useful.

    Considering it had a very similar MSRP to a Beetle TDI I’d definitely opt for the TDI first. I ended up taking a hit to get this thing off the lot after four months.

  • avatar
    Pecci

    I agree Scott. The media in many cases can make or break. It appears that they expected the CRZ to be another S2000. I for one can appreciate the low-end torque that other Honda cars are absent of.

  • avatar
    ghillie

    I really like it too. A CRZ will probably be our next car purchase.

    I don’t understand the need for more power unless you’re tracking it. I’ve driven more than one CRZ and even the cvt has enough power (I’ve only driven the 2013 upgrade) to make it an enjoyable drive at a pace that is safe when driving on public roads that you have to share with others. The handling is very good (even “go-cart” like). “Sport” mode sharpens up all the responses very nicely. I found “Econ” mode to be just right for pootling along in inner city traffic.

    I very much agree with Pecci’s comment about low end torque. I drove a cvt CRZ back-to-back with a 2010 Civic type R and found the CRZ’s performance much more accessible. I felt that the type R had to be driven significantly above the speed limit to get the sense of spirited driving. I didn’t have to go that fast in the CRZ to get the same result. I had a similar experience to the type R in my bil’s Maserati (Gran Sport I think). You sure can blast off in that, but it’s no fun to not do it – I give it about 6 months before his licence is gone (again).

    It’s often said that its more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow (or something like that). I agree.

    Complaints were made in comments above about the ride and cvt engagement from auto stop. I didn’t experience either problem.

    I like its looks. (Always very subjective – I think DS Citroens are plain ugly, so there you go.) It seems very well put together and well finished. A thoroughly well-engineered car.

    It is supplied in this market (Australia) with back seats. They are quite okay for transporting adults around the city on an “as needed” basis. But you wouldn’t want to go on a long trip in the back or use it as a family car. It’s very similar in that regard (though slightly better) than Porsches I’ve had in the past (911 and 924). As a “traditional” 2+2 with good storage in the back (a lot like the 924) it suits my wife and I perfectly.

    Notwithstanding my opinion of the car, Mnm4ever is obviously right – it is a sales failure. Perhaps it might in the future be seen as ahead of its time. The first generation Honda Insight was roundly criticized for years but now has a loyal following – and even recevied some positive comments above.

    However, I don’t agree that this means Honda has lost its way. Its mainstream models remain generally very successful (Accord, Civic, CRV – maybe even the Fit). As a manufacturer I believe it punches above its weight in that regard. Success with its “niche” models has been much more patchy – poor with some models in some markets. Which is a shame, because Honda continues to try interesting innovations on several fronts (packaging, performance, ecomony, price). I don’t think the lack of success is due to management or engineering arrogance – if that was the case their mainstream models would not be successful.

    On problem may be that when it comes to new products they have to do a lot with comparatively little. Honda won’t have the R&D budget of, say, Toyota and this may have affected its hybrid sales success in particular. In cars of comparable size and weight IMA does not seem to be able to deliver the same fuel economy gains as HSD but – as I understand it – IMA was much cheaper to bring to production. Maybe Honda can leverage a higher level of hybrid sales success with the new system in the Accord.

    I doubt that Honda will stop trying to be innovative and develop new models for an evolving market – as long as they continue to be able to fund it. I think most of the comments in this thread that are highly critical of Honda are a product of ignorance rather than wisdom. For example, the corporate counsel’s letter is likely to be due to a claim or claims made against the company by Honda fans supported by unscrupulous lawyers who allege that their ideas have been stolen by Honda. The response is not good PR I agree, but with millions of dollars of product investment at risk of legally engineered delays, somewhat understandable.

    Anyway – bring on the hate. The less popular CRZs are, the cheaper will be the one I buy. I will get to have fun driving and keep my licence. Win-win really.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      I definitely noticed full body shudder during stop start, and it was a showroom car so I doubt this was a matter of a blown engine mount. Either way I think the CRZ is a good car in some ways (responsive, cute, etc…), but the Fit is good in exactly the same ways with a billion times the storage space.

      What Honda failed to do was add sporting value to a Fit chassis car when turning it into a coupe. The IMA system adds nothing at all to the experience, while any of their other drivetrains (some of which are already being used in that same chassis overseas) would have added some positive reason to buy the car.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I didn’t even know Honda still made these. I see more Rolls Royces than I do this waste of metal. How sad for Honda, took some great lineage and screwed this car up. Honda just needs to scrap the whole thing and start over. The thing is, this was a couple engineering choices from being a great car.

  • avatar
    Pecci

    FYI on the 2015 Honda Fit. Off to an awful start. This is what screwing up a car is all about. They released it late due to problems, then they released it … with problems.

    honda-recalls-2015-fit-because-failing-crash-tests-isnt-exactly-a-selling-point

    http://www.carcomplaints.com/Honda/Fit/2015/

    http://www.techtimes.com/articles/13706/20140821/honda-recalling-fit-bump-up-safety.htm

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