By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
Remember the Honda CRX? It was a nifty little two-seater compact sports car that handled better than it accelerated and, although it wouldn't be considered fast by today's standards, it was definitely fun to drive – and it delivered good fuel economy. Honda stopped making the CRX in 1991, but the car maintains a cult following to this day. Enter the all-new 2011 Honda CR-Z. It's what the CRX might have evolved into had Honda kept it around all these years. Like its predecessor, it's not fast but it is fun to drive and, with a hybrid heart and sport-compact footwork, this new entry brings something different to the table.
Although space is limited to two people and it's not as powerful as other competitors, the CR-Z's main draw is its ability to achieve hybrid-car fuel efficiency while delivering sporty driving dynamics.
If you want something that can offer a more thrilling ride for spirited weekend drives, then a Mazda MX-5 or Mini Cooper might be a better fit. Also, there are bigger, more practical hybrids that deliver better fuel economy than the CR-Z.
The 2011 Honda CR-Z is the only two-seat hybrid in the market today and the only hybrid available with a six-speed manual transmission. And while there isn't a specific class for sporty hybrids, the CR-Z loosely competes with a diverse group of cars that ranges from the sporty Mini Cooper to the mileage-maxing Toyota Prius.
Driving Impressions While it might not exude sports car like prowess in the acceleration or top speed departments, the Honda CR-Z does feel spritely for the daily drive and...can get to highway speeds without any hesitation. Those willing to forgive the tame performance will appreciate the car's exceptional handling and responsive brakes, characteristics not perhaps expected in a hybrid vehicle. Three different driving modes – efficiency-friendly Econ mode, balanced Normal mode and responsive Sport mode – allow for a custom driving experience. Accelerator-pedal response is dampened and the steering feel is lighter in Econ mode, while Sport mode makes the steering feel tighter and acceleration quicker for a "sportier" experience.
The CR-Z's design is futuristic and aggressive and we can only hope that it's a glimpse into what Honda has in store for products to come.
Six-speed Manual Transmission
Although it comes with a fuel mileage penalty, we liked the crisp shifts and close ratios of the standard six-speed transmission.
At first glance, the Honda CR-Z's interior looks like the control center for a spaceship. Upon closer inspection, the buttons and gauges are very intuitive and driver-friendly. The climate controls are easy to read and within close reach, and the gauges on the instrument panel are laid out in a futuristic manner, with a tachometer/speedometer unit with a three-dimensional effect. Soft-touch plastics are found throughout and seating is in mesh form only; there's no option for leather. Also, the interior is available only in a two-toned black and gray configuration.Exterior
Call it a "two-door Insight" or a "next-gen CRX," but, whatever crafty name anyone might come up with for the CR-Z, it's safe to say that it's definitely different. The CR-Z was designed with a "one-motion wedge" concept in mind, which means that the aerodynamic flow of the body lines extends seamlessly from the front of the car to the back, bookended by a trapezoidal grille up front and half-glass hatch in the rear.
The 2011 Honda CR-Z has a standard 122-horsepower, 1.5-liter gasoline/electric hybrid powertrain and a six-speed manual transmission. As for interior amenities, the base CR-Z is pleasantly well equipped with convenient features, including a 160-watt, six-speaker audio system with auxiliary and USB inputs, steering wheel-mounted controls, automatic climate control, automatic headlights and remote keyless entry. Safety features include six airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA).
In addition to an available Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with paddle shifters, the Honda CR-Z also offers a higher EX trim level which adds an upgraded 360-watt sound system with seven speakers, fog lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Bluetooth, HID headlights, foot-well lights, alloy pedals, heated power mirrors and illuminated vanity mirrors. A navigation system is optionally available.
The gasoline/electric powertrain comprises a 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine mated to a 10-kilowatt motor, combining to deliver 122 horsepower. This combination is the sixth iteration of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) technology since its debut in the original Honda Insight for the 2000 model year. While 122 horsepower might not sound like much, the broad torque band makes freeway passing and darting through intersections easy. One feature we did not care for was the auto-stop feature, which is a fuel saving measure that turns off the engine at a complete stop, but also causes a slightly annoying hesitation upon restarting.
1.5-liter gasoline engine with Integrated Motor Assist
122 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
123 (CVT), 128 (manual) lb.-ft. of torque @ 1000-2000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 31/37 (manual), 35/39 (CVT)
By IMA-GO on Friday, March 13, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "nimble handling, sporty looking, good mileage"
Cons: "rear visibility only saved by its backup camera"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"The CR-Z falls between standard categories, so it doesn't rate high in most comparisons. It does fall into my category -- it rates really high with me. It looks good, with its low-drag Kamm-back design, and it's heaps of fun to drive."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By Mish on Friday, March 13, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,960overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, great on gas. good trunk space"
Cons: "no center console, bad rear vision"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I got this car for commuting purposes. I walked away from a Mazda RX8 to this. I love that it's still quick and fun when I want it to be but also gets me 35 mpgs. It looks very stylish (except for the wheels. Don't know what Honda was thinking about)and I got a lot of compliments. Now for the not so great... Since the engine stops when you're at a red light, so does your AC. Additionally, there's not center console so that's something you'll have to invest it. The blue-tooth only does phone calls and not music (you'll have to get an adapter for that). Besides a few annoyances, this car is awesome. The back folds down to give you a great cargo area so it's great for long trips and it has the power when you need it."
By Kathi on Sunday, March 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Love the look, lots of storage, fun to drive"
Cons: "Too low to the ground"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"They are no longer making this car and that is a shame because it's has so much style, room and very economical"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Sammy on Sunday, January 11, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun drive, good value for the money. Typical Honda"
Cons: "No moonroof. Rear window pilar"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"a fun car to drive, a lot of pep. Very stylish body, good aerodynamics. Comfortable seats and good driving position. Instrument display,functions and location are excellent. Many extras as standard equipment. CVT is quiet and smooth."
19 people out of 40 found this review helpful
By tome on Friday, December 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, road handling and feel, design, personality, efficiency,"
Cons: "Deteriorating interior chrom trim. Cloth seats."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I'm the original owner and have owned this CRZ since Jan 2011. It is a 6 speed EX with premium sound. I have installed a slightly lowered sport suspension and premium wheels. The car rides very nice and tight (sporty). Although it rides a little closer to the ground, there are no problems, except with very steep road transitions. I'm very pleased with this little eco commuter. Returns decent (not great) gas milage in a sporty package. It is like no other car on the market IMO. It is a second car and work commuter for me, so space is a non issue. I agree rear view is a little limited, but acceptable. The interior EX chrome trim is not holding up very well. Other than that I have no other complaints to report."
15 people out of 26 found this review helpful
By Aja on Thursday, December 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, and great price."
Cons: "2-seater only, and low to the ground."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I purchased this car as a second vehicle. It seats 2, but has a very large hatch back storage area. It's has 3 driving functions that are easy to change: Normal, Economy and Sport. The ride is firm, the stance is low and the turnaround is very tight and small. Overall this car has been excellent for commuting and offered enough utility and fun in a nice, sporty package. The seats are comfortable and firmly supportive. The Dash is easy to read and the controls are easily understood, too. The return value however is a bit lower than expected, so I will be likely trading it in."
16 people out of 26 found this review helpful