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2011 Honda CR-Z

Overview
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2011 Honda CR-Z Review

By

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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's Significant About This Car?

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 the CR-Z

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.

Sporty Aesthetics
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.

2011 Honda CR-Z Details
2011 Honda CR-Z photo Interior

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
2011 Honda CR-Z photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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).

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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)

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2011 Honda CR-Z Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 77 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.7/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

Small, fun, and economical

By on Sunday, June 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun, economical, and pracitical for 2 people"

Cons: "The door panel arm rests are rough on long trips"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My Crz has seen many non-stop long mile trips (including going through the desert and horrible snow storms) and has never let me down. Throughout these trips I have always averaged 42 MPG (the manufacture seriously under-rated the highway MPG). In the snow I had snow tires installed turned off the traction control and have never gotten stuck even when "plowing" through 8-14 inches of snow. The cargo space in this vehicle is actually quite high. I am able to pack mine and my wifes luggage for a trip and still have plenty of room to pack more. The Crz is a very fun hybrid but no where near being a quick vehicle. The only complaint I have ever had with this car is that the elbow rest on the door panels are very rough and hard for long mileage trips. Overall I feel as if the car is just big enough to get the job done for 2 people while being very economical and fun while getting to your destination."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

FUN! and Economical

By on Saturday, May 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun, Fun, Fun"

Cons: "no arm rest"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"With 6 speed manual and three driving modes; sport, regular, and Economy, this car transitions from granny car to hot rod with the push of a button. I prefer regular mode, getting up to 40mpg, and kicking into sport mode when passing. Economy mode will bog down a bit on big hills, but is great on flat terrain, or in town. This car has been very reliable. After 4 years, I had to replace the starter battery, but that would be expected on any car."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Like it better than my BMW Z3 or Nissan 350Z

By on Thursday, April 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 121,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great mileage, curb appeal, trunk space, unique"

Cons: "Seat fabric shows wear"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I've had a CR-Z Ex since Sept. 2010 and have logged over 120,000 mostly freeway miles in it. I love this car. It's been out almost five years and people still look at it and ask me about it. I routinely get 40-43 mpg since I'm most on the freeway at speed. I use the Sport button to confound the road bullys who think this car can't move. I can leave all but the muscle cars with this assist. I've had almost no issues with the car, exceptions being a weird intermittent powert window seal, fog lights that broke from temp extremes and the lumbar support in the seat has fabric that is wearing poorly, which I've never seen before. But all things considered, I would buy one again. In fact, I am. I have an order in for a Deep Violet Pearl CR-Z EX with every option I could cram into it. THIS CAR IS ME. Honda hit a home run right out of the park with the CR-Z."

17 people out of 25 found this review helpful

The Coolest Hybrid on the Market

By on Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sporty look, excellent handling, fuel efficient"

Cons: "Just a two-seater"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I fell in love with this car the moment I saw it online- it combines a classic 80's sporty body (based on the old CR-X) with a futuristic interior. And to top it off, it gets awesome gas mileage (I'm getting over 37 mpg). For some reason this car gets so-so reviews by the "official" press but they don't seem to understand the car. This a car for people who want a fuel efficient car but don't want to drive a mom car to do it, and there just aren't any other hybrids out on there that are this fun to drive and look this cool doing it. The two major complaints- engine performance and rear visibility- simply don't hold up once you actually drive the car. In sport and normal mode the engine is responsive. Yes, acceleration is dampened in Eco mode, but that's how the car maximizes fuel efficiency. For an extra boost, you can use the Sport+ feature, which revs up the electric motor and acts like a booster pack. As far as rear visibility is concerned, you easily get used to that once you drive it. Also, the car comes with a backup camera standard. The interior of the car is exceptional with a sleek dashboard and controls. Everything feels modern and nothing feels cheap. I ended up getting the EX trim line for the additional leather accents and lighting in the car. I especially love the Eco monitor which helps you drive more efficiently with braking and acceleration. All in all, this car is going to be one I have fun driving for years to come."

14 people out of 19 found this review helpful

not for everyone, but perfect for me

By on Friday, March 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

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."

10 people out of 22 found this review helpful

Fun commuter car!

By on Friday, March 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,960

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

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."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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