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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.
Favorite Features

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 56 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 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

Best Value for a hybrd

By on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great price for a single girl on a low budget."

Cons: "only fits 2 people. Not for a family.."

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

This vehicle is fully loaded. Has everything. Navagation, phone, cruise control and back up camera

"I bought it cus I have a CRV and drive 30 miles on the highway to work and was spending a bunch of money in gas a week. Well now I spend half the money and use the money I was spending on gas for a car payment. Think smart people. I still have my 2003 CRV cus I love it and have never had any issues with it. The CR-Z rides nice and I zip to work and home. Best value for a Hybrid. I love the look and feel of the car. Cant go wrong with a Honda.."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

This vehicle is fully loaded. Has everything. Navagation, phone, cruise control and back up camera

I love this car

By on Friday, February 21, 2014

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Lots of power. Fun to drive."

Cons: "Hard to see out the back!"

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

"I average 40 mpg. Can be noisy with the wrong tires. It is a blast to drive. lots of storage in the back. Use caution backing up and changing lanes."

Fun to Drive and Easy on the Gas

By on Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,700

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "see above"

Cons: "It only holds two people."

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

"This is a one owner car. I"m the proverbial "little old lady from Pasadena". Has been well taken care with all of it's maintenance kept up. Gets 35 - 38 mpg in town and over 45 on the open road or freeway. Color is a beautiful Northstar Blue. New battery. Original upholstery has had seat covers over it from purchase date, so is in good condition. Loads of storage space. Easy and fun to drive."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

wish never bought it. only good thing sometimes

By on Monday, October 07, 2013

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

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "ok gas mileage"

Cons: "two many for space allowed"

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

"the motor will stop at a light.poor rear vision.manual rear view mirror.very stiff ride. buy a seat cushion"

2 people out of 19 found this review helpful

I love my CRZ!

By on Monday, September 30, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great fuel economy; fun to drive"

Cons: "placement of heating/cooling vents"

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

"I had no problems driving my CRZ in the snow last winter. I also get over 40 mpg in the city w/ summer gas. It looks good and has a smooth drive. Even my 6 ft. husband enjoys driving my car (and fits in it as well). The only complaint I have about my car is the placement of the vents for the driver for heating and cooling."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Best Commuter Vehicle For the Money!!

By on Tuesday, September 03, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Great MPG, Fun Handling, Good Looks, Fairly Priced"

Cons: "Sluggish Acceleration, Little Storage"

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

"I bought this car with the sole purpose of using it to drive back and forth to work. Since purchasing, I have found to enjoy this little car so much that I drive it more often than any of my vehicles. I drive 85 miles (170 miles round trip) each day to work and average about 4,900 miles/month. I have tracked all of my fuel and overall associated costs for this car to see how I am doing. Since I bought this car, I have averaged 42mpg with the best tank being 46.7mpg and the worst tank being 32.6mpg. In the spreadsheet that I created to track all of my costs, I have determined that this car literally pays for itself when compared to the cost of driving my Toyota Tacoma over the same amount of mileage (to date, I have saved over $9k in fuel costs alone). This car is extremely economical, but still a fun little car that can handle some winding roads with ease. I would recommend this car to anyone looking for a cheap & fun little car, but not for anyone with intentions of using it as a family car."

22 people out of 22 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

Buying this car?