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2011 Honda CR-Z

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2011 Honda CR-Z Review

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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 New for 2011

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
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 81 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.6/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

2013 CR-Z EX CVT

By on Monday, April 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "unique hybrid with idle stop, good mpg, fun"

Cons: "awkward acceleration, bumpy ride"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"This car isn't for everyone, but it's pretty good for me. The car is fun to drive yet economic. I can squeal my wheels from a stop light, yet average 41 mpg. Other than that, it's hard to classify because the CR-Z is in a class of its own. I like that it isn't a civic or prius. It's small, not as sporty as it looks. It has no real power. The car struggles to launch. Once the torque kicks in, it'll move, but the engine seems angry and overworked. The electric assist is fun and maybe turbo-esque. Yesterday I did drag race a Mercedes and it of course won, but I was only inches behind, and it was fun to think my economy car was racing a car costing $10,000s more. I do enjoy the three drive mode, Econ/Norm/Sport. In Econ the car floats like a golf cart and makes driving leisurely. Normal is kind of boring... and Sport will keep the tachometer revving high, but mostly once it gets going. I enjoy the idle stop (my friends ask, did your car just die? Yes - to save gas). No matter which drive mode you're in, there can be an awkward acceleration lag as the electric engine assists. I don't enjoy that. If the weather is anything outside of 50-80 degrees, the car is not as great. Snow makes this car useless. Using the HVAC drags on the performance. And, the car is always bumpy and bouncy. You experience every abnormality in the road. That may be one of the CR-Zs true sporty aspects. I average 41 mpg every fill up, that's city/hwy combined (I drive both on my commute). For now, that makes me enjoy the CR-Z. Combine that with it's uniqueness, and it works for me."

Great for me, decent value

By on Thursday, January 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, great interior"

Cons: "Two seater only, not updated with latest technolog"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Looking for a car, I specifically wanted a manual transmission. I've always been a Honda fan so when I saw this on the lot I thought I'd try it out. Most reviews say this fails at being sporty or economical. They're right. What they don't get right is that the car is fun to drive. The interior looks like a video game, the exterior looks like a toy car. I smile whenever I look at the car from behind. In normal mode, the car drives like an economy car. However, the s+ button, gives the car a pseudo turbo boost. Lots of power and low end torque. In sport mode, the car drives closer to a sports car. I don't think I'd want to drive it consistently in this mode. So, this car may not be for everyone but it works for me."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Honda definitely delivered an awesome car

By on Sunday, November 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "MPG, Sporty feel when driving, Honda quality"

Cons: "Blind Spot, uncomfy seats"

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

"I purchased my CR-Z in 2011. I have loved it since; even considered going with a newer model when the time comes. It is a rare car to be seen on the road which makes it an even cooler car to drive. Lots of compliments and definitely turns heads. The gas milage is above all my favorite part. I commute 52 miles one way 5-6 days per week. My average mpg is 45. Only costs me about $22.00 or less to fill up and delivers about 400-500 miles to the tank depending on how I drive it and how many mornings I'm running late and have to throw it in sport mode for that extra push. I love that the engine shuts off when stopped however it can become bothersome in extreme heat or cold and the heat and a/c also shuts off but nothing I can't live with considering I'm only at a red light for a minute and it improves mpg drastically. Despite what critics say, it is a very sporty and fun car to drive. Granted, it is no Porsche and certainly not a muscle car, but still makes for a sporty, fun driving experience. TONS AND TONS of room considering it is a two seater. You wouldn't believe how much I have packed my car full before. The divider separating the front seats and the trunk easily folds down. To be honest, I have actually fit my 6'2 friend in the back of this car which you wouldn't guess just by looking from the outside. My only real complaints are it does tend to be a very uncomfortable ride for long trips as the seats are not comfy what-so-ever. The passenger side is more noticeable than the driver. However, when the seats are laid back, you have plenty of room to stretch out. The dashboard controls are very easy to use while driving unlike many new cars which I find to be very complicated while driving and searching hard for a particular button or temp control. Road noise is at a minimum but you are able to hear the engine quite loudly. This is my second Honda and like my first, I am right under 100k miles and never have I once had to have it in the shop for anything more than an oil change. Only other complaint and this goes for most Honda cars: Honda used cheap quality top coat on the paint job which can sometimes lead to spots that can not be removed from the paint. Particularly on the hood and top of vehicle. My red Accord was very noticeable however my charcoal CR-Z not so much and certainly not to the degree of my Accord. Very safe vehicle as well. I was struck hard on the driver side by a semi-truck and walked away without a scratch granted it was no life threatening accident but a considerable amount of damage was caused. Driving in Econ mode feels a little sluggish when needing to accelerate quickly, though that is to be expected but on the bright side, switching between modes in very simple with the touch of a button on the left hand side of the steering column and using the different modes, you will certainly tell a difference. Sport mode does tend to burn way more fuel than Normal or Econ but its fun to throw it in to sport occasionally and use the paddle shifters. Overall, I would give this vehicle a 10 simply based on the famous Honda quality and reliability as well as design and mpg. Mpg really does depend on your driving, even for a hybrid. As I stated before, I receive 45-50 mpg on most days. Biggest flaw to this car would be the blind spots and seeing through the read windshield. I found this to be difficult at first and nearly had several collisions however it wasn't long until I became use to it and figured out my methods for working around the blind spot. Overall, I give this a 10 and would recommend to anyone! It is listed as a sports car with most insurance companies so that can sometimes affect your premiums but nothing too bad. When I say sporty, again it is no Porsche but if you are looking for a hybrid but want something a little less stereotypical hipster such as the family ride Prius, then this may be the car for you! And in response to the one bad review on this site stating the car kept shutting off during her test drive which "made it the worst car she's ever driven", it is designed to do that...all I could do was laugh."

7 people out of 15 found this review helpful

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."

18 people out of 35 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."

14 people out of 25 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."

29 people out of 40 found this review helpful

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