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2014 Honda CR-Z Review

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2014 Honda CR-Z Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.6

If you think small, inexpensive hybrids are long on economy and short on fun, slip your skeptical self behind the wheel of a Honda CR-Z. While it's no Subaru BRZ, the 2014 CR-Z is a fun, sporty and efficient commuter car, forged in the tradition of the classic Honda CRX of the 1980s and `90s. The front-drive CR-Z is a 2-door hatchback with room for just two people but with a pretty big cargo hold. Unlike the compact and lightweight CRX, the CR-Z employs a more substantial platform to accommodate both the hybrid drivetrain and the additional safety features required of today's cars. While there are more efficient hybrid cars, not many of them are as stylish or fun to drive, and you certainly won't find them with a manual transmission.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking to satisfy your green side, but you can't abide driving a generic hybrid like the Prius or Insight, the 2014 Honda CR-Z deserves a long look.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you have room for only one car, the CR-Z's lack of a back seat might make it a tough car to live with. There are more fuel-efficient hybrids out there and more powerful high-mileage cars, such as the diesel-powered VW Golf TDI.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 7.6
  • 7.6
  • 6.4
  • 8.6
  • 6.6
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#2

out of 7

Fuel Economy

#7

out of 7

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

9.1 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2014 Honda CR-Z Low/wide front photo What's New for 2014

After a major upgrade last year, Honda lets the CR-Z sail into 2014 unchanged.

Driving the CR-Z
2014 Honda CR-Z Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions If you're hoping to experience the same agile performance attributed to the old CRX in its heyday, you're going to be somewhat disappointed. That's not to say the CR-Z hybrid...

... for 2014 isn't fun to drive, it's just a heavier car that leans more toward comfort and economy than all-out performance. The CR-Z's electric motor adds a big dose of "go" in pure torque, which helps with acceleration from a stop or when passing. The CR-Z's handling and braking qualities are vastly superior to most hybrids and should go a long way to satisfy those who know the difference between driving a car and steering one. With Honda's 3-mode drive system, drivers can select between an efficiency-friendly Econ mode, a balanced Normal mode or a responsive Sport mode. Accelerator-pedal response is damped and the steering feel is lighter in Econ mode, while Sport mode increases steering effort and throttle response for a very un-hybrid-like driving experience.

PLUS SPORT SYSTEM
Similar to automotive video games of yore, the Sport Plus button found in the 2014 CR-Z primes the powertrain for a quick burst of power to assist with passing or merging moves.

6-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION
Although it comes with a slight penalty in fuel economy, we liked the crisp shifts and close gear ratios of the standard 6-speed transmission.

2014 Honda CR-Z Details
2014 Honda CR-Z Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Where all hybrid cars have additional gauges and playful readouts to make them appear more futuristic, the 2014 Honda CR-Z hybrid's cockpit looks like something from a pseudo-sci-fi film. Worry not, though, for in typical Honda style all of the CR-Z's controls are logically placed and easy to operate. We particularly like the placement of the climate controls, which reside just to the right of the steering wheel. The sport seats are nicely bolstered and very comfortable, but Honda does not offer a leather seat option, and black is the only interior color scheme available on most models.

Exterior
2014 Honda CR-Z photo

Some may see the 2014 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 built before. Designed using a "one motion wedge" concept, the CR-Z projects an unconventional image, 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

Unlike many of its compact-car rivals, the 2014 Honda CR-Z offers most of today's must-have features as standard issue. Those include such niceties as a rearview camera with guidelines, Bluetooth connectivity, aluminum-alloy wheels, automatic climate control and a multi-information display. Notable audio hardware consists of six speakers, a USB port for portable music players and a 160-watt receiver. All CR-Z hybrids protect occupants with six airbags, the usual helping of electronic stability controls, and active head restraints that help reduce the severity of whiplash-related injuries.

Optional Equipment

As is the case with all Honda vehicles, most optional features available on the 2014 CR-Z can be acquired by stepping up to a higher trim level. Trading up from the base model to the EX trim lands you xenon headlights, which are up to three times brighter than traditional halogen systems, LED daytime running lights and a 7-speaker premium audio system with a subwoofer. While its capabilities are comparatively outdated, a touch-screen navigation system with a basic text messaging function is available on EX models.

Under the Hood
2014 Honda CR-Z Engine photo

The gasoline/electric powertrain comprises a 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine mated to a 15-kilowatt motor, combining to deliver 130 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 130 horsepower might not sound like much, the broad torque curve makes freeway passing and darting through intersections a breeze. 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 and often causes the vehicle to judder upon restarting. If you find a row-it-yourself gearbox unappealing, every CR-Z model can be fitted with a gearless continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

1.5-liter gasoline engine + Integrated Motor Assist (hybrid)
130 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
140 lb-ft of torque @ 1,000-2,000 rpm (manual); 127 lb-ft of torque @ 1,000-3,000 rpm (CVT automatic)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 31/38 mpg (manual), 36/39 mpg (CVT automatic)

The 2014 Honda CR-Z has a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $21,000. A fully loaded CR-Z EX with navigation and CVT sells for just under $25,000. The majority of 5-door compact cars begin in the $17,000 range, while a comparably equipped Mini Cooper shares a similar starting price with the CR-Z. To see what others in your area are paying for the 2014 Honda CR-Z, take a peek at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price located at the bottom of this page. Down the road, we expect the resale value for the 2014 CR-Z to hold its own against competitors like the Hyundai Veloster, Mini Cooper and Toyota Prius C.

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2014 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."

9 people out of 13 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."

5 people out of 9 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."

9 people out of 21 found this review helpful

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