Summer Sizzler #5
2011 Honda CR-Z
Resurrecting the sporting character of Honda's original CRX in modern hybrid form, the two-seat CR-Z is based on a slightly revamped Insight platform but nets suspension upgrades and 16-inch alloy wheels to better complement its more rakish bodywork. Both the base CR-Z and upline EX share a 1.5-liter i-VTEC four fortified with Honda's Integrated Motor Assist IMA setup. The 122 total horsepower this gas/electric combo creates can be fed to the front wheel through a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission or optional paddle-shifted CVT that offers seven virtual cogs. However, even with its slick three-mode (Normal/Sport/Economy) drive system and Honda's EcoAssist, no version of this enthusiast-oriented hatch cracks the 40-mpg EPA benchmark in either city or highway modes.