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2012 Honda CR-Z

Overview
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2012 Honda CR-Z Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

The 2012 Honda CR-Z hybrid is a rather special car. In the great tradition of small Honda 2-seaters, the CR-Z hybrid offers a fun, fuel- efficient way to get around. The 2012 Honda CR-Z bristles with flashes of the legendary CRX, with a cozy cabin built for two and big hatchback that opens to a roomy cargo hold. But, unlike the gasoline-only CRX, the 2012 Honda CR-Z hybrid relies on a hybrid gas/electric setup to achieve its miserly fuel consumption figures. As a commuter car, the CRX was very affordable, and its lightweight body and sporty suspension made it a blast to drive. The CR-Z hybrid isn't as lightweight as its predecessor, but it is fun to drive and is filled with a host of safety and electronic goodies the CRX never had. Also, the CR-Z is the only hybrid we know of that has a manual transmission. There are more efficient hybrids out there, and there are even some non-hybrid cars that can match the CR-Z's fuel consumption (think Hyundai Elantra and VW Golf TDI diesel), but if you're looking for that classic Honda styling and bulletproof reputation, or if you were once a CRX owner and just want a little taste of the past in a more modern form, the 2012 Honda CR-Z is a car worth getting to know.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're seeking a hybrid car that is fun to drive, doesn't look like a hybrid car and is filled with cool features, the 2012 Honda CR-Z is really the only game in town.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you just want a fun-to-drive second car, the MINI Cooper or Mazda Miata MX-5 is a much better choice. If you sometimes need to carry more than one passenger, the CR-Z can't accommodate, and if you're solely in the hybrid market for the fuel economy, both the Insight and the Prius are more fuel efficient than the 2012 Honda CR-Z hybrid.

What's New for 2012

The only significant change for the 2012 Honda CR-Z hybrid is the addition of available black cloth seats on cars wearing Crystal Black Peal paint.

Driving the CR-Z

Driving Impressions If you owned a CRX and are expecting the same nimble, athletic performance in the CR-Z, you'll be sadly disappointed. However, The CR-Z is still a great car for long...

drives as well as quick inner-city commutes. Acceleration is fairly strong, thanks in part to the electric motor's assist, which comes in the form of pure torque, and the CR-Z's handling and braking are light-years beyond any hybrid we've driven. With Honda's 3-mode system, the car can be set to an efficiency-friendly Econ mode, a balanced Normal mode or a responsive Sport mode allowing 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" drive.

Sporty Aesthetics
The 2012 Honda CR-Z hybrid'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.

6-speed Manual Transmission
Although it comes with a fuel mileage penalty, we liked the crisp shifts and close ratios of the standard 6-speed transmission.

2012 Honda CR-Z Details
Interior

Where all hybrid cars have additional gauges and playful readouts that make them a bit more futuristic, the 2012 Honda CR-Z hybrid's cockpit looks like something from a 3-D sci-fi movie. No need to worry, though, because in typical Honda style all of the CR-Z's controls are logically placed and easy to understand and operate. We particularly like the placement of the climate and Sport/Normal/Econ controls so close to the steering wheel. The radio is a bit of a reach; however, if you go with the available voice-activated navigation, you can just speak commands or activate the iPod integration controls from the steering wheel. Straight ahead are the glowing instruments that include an analog tachometer wrapped around a digital speedometer that changes its background color depending on the mode (Sport/Normal/Econ) selected. There is also a gauge to let you monitor the hybrid powertrain's activity and tell you how efficiently you are driving. As for comfort, the 2012 Honda CR-Z hybrid's sport seats are nicely bolstered and very comfortable, but the shiny silver fabric covering them may not be to everyone's liking. Unfortunately, Honda does not offer a leather seat option, and only cars painted black can be outfitted with black cloth seats.

Exterior

Some may see the 2012 Honda CR-Z as a coupe version of the Insight or the rebirth of the CRX, but however you look at it, the CR-Z is like nothing Honda has ever built before. Designed using a "one motion wedge" concept, the CR-Z is very un-hybrid looking, and actually appears a bit sinister. From its trapezoidal wide-mouth grille to its half-glass rear hatch, the CR-Z's exterior seems to flow in one, continuous line as though carved from a single steel billet.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Honda CR-Z hybrid has a standard 122-horsepower, 1.5-liter gasoline/electric hybrid powertrain and a 6-speed manual transmission. As for interior amenities, the base CR-Z is pleasantly well equipped with convenient features, including a 160-watt, 6-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 2012 Honda CR-Z hybrid also offers a higher EX trim level that adds an upgraded 360-watt sound system with seven speakers, foglights, 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 optional.

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 @ 6,000 rpm
128 lb-ft of torque @ 1,000-1,750 rpm (manual); 123 lb-ft of torque @ 1,000-2,000 rpm (CVT)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 31/37 (manual), 35/39 (CVT)

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2012 Honda CR-Z Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 74 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.8/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

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."

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."

2 people out of 3 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."

6 people out of 17 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."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Roomy 2 door

By on Sunday, March 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Excellent Sporty Hybrid

By on Sunday, January 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

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: "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

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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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