Honda CR-Z Hybrid Coupe Defies Its Critics

The most maligned hybrid on the market today is the Honda CR-Z. It comes down to false expectations. Take one look at the sporty design of the coupe, and you might expect it to be a rip-roaring fast automobile. The people who complain most about the CR-Z—as if it’s some kind of personal attack on their worldview—say the same old thing over and over again: “It’s nor fast enough, nor fuel efficient enough.”

But they’re looking at the wrong cues for an understanding of the car, and therefore miss the charms and benefits of the Honda CR-Z—which we rediscovered after another few days of driving the six-speed manual version last week. You need to look at the price tag, and at its three driving modes.

First, the price tag. The base MSRP is $19,345—by many standards an entry car for a young person wanting a mix of fun, technology and efficiency. Sure, you could buy more horsepower for the dollar. The CR-Z only serves up 122 ponies. But it’s the total package: its low-slung position, tight handling, sharp dashboard graphics, and hybrid system mated to a stick shift that makes it a kick to drive. That compelling set of features for an attractive price made the CR-Z the third most popular hybrid in America in April (behind the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight). The 5,000 people who bought CR-Zs aren’t crazy. They see value.

The CR-Z’s three modes of driving—Normal, Sport and Eco—are put to better use in this manual transmission hybrid, than in any other hybrid. (The CR-Z is the only hybrid offered with a manual.) If you’re just getting from place to place, thinking about things other than driving, leave it in Normal for steady easy shifting. Put it in Sport to toss the gears, and squeal around town with some zeal. Or push the Eco mode for a game of shifting at low RPMs to maximize fuel economy. Unlike hybrid automatics (especially those with CVTs), the driving experience radically changes with each change of mode—and thereby provides another reason to make the CR-Z an affordable fun little commuter car.

We used a combination of the three modes in about equal proportions—whatever met our fancy. (To be honest, we pushed the limits of Sport as much as possible.) At the end of a few days, our total fuel efficiency tally was 37.5 miles to the gallon. Impressive.

The CR-Z slamfest will not end anytime soon. But when we hear it, we know it’s coming from folks who fail to grasp the new redefined relationship between vehicle style, power, efficiency and cost in the age of hybrid and electric cars. If you’re in the market for a hybrid, and can live with a two-seater, the CR-Z is worth a test drive.

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  • Car Fan

    I can’t believe the CRZ is not as fast as a Porche! I can’t believe the CRZ doesn’t get over 50 MPG like the original Honda Insight! I can’t believe the CRZ costs almost 7 thousand dollars more than a Smart!

    Honda must be nuts to build this fun to drive, economical, and reasonably priced car.

    Oh and to make it look cool too.


  • Capt. Concernicus

    It’s definitely a different vehicle. I’d take a look at it if I were in the market for a hybrid, but I already own a Prius. Averaging 49.5 mpg. My last tank got 58.2 mpg. However, it’s not fast, but I’ve had fast cars in the past.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, it’s selling at about same pace as VW GTI despite all those naysayers.

  • pat

    I took a good look at it in the auto show. My comment is you have to sell it to the old CR-Z fan. Honda had a 2 seater hybrid before Prius and it discontinued because of poor sale, well is history repeating itself!?

  • wrightmercy

    well it’s a great car. nice design.

  • James Davis

    Are the people whose complaining about this vehicle really crazy or just the author of this article? Don’t you think it would be better if the GOP ran GM gave up pushing these worthless and overly expensive hybrid vehicle schemes so other auto manufacturers could start mass producing electric cars and get us away from “Drill Baby Drill” foreign fossil fuels? If a hybrid can’t get you over 100 MPG then the amount of money and repairs you have to put into it makes it not worth the time, money and energy.

  • WatchingTheCircus

    There is nothing that is as much fun as a sporty car with enough power to be fun to drive but not enough to make every acceleration a 100mph experience. Remember the joy of driving not just the joy of going too fast.

  • Ed Mandler

    I purchased my CRZ last October. I really love it. It is so much fun. I didn’t buy it for speed. I bought it for fun. I have achieved as high as 44 mpg on the highway. Just awesome. Thank you Honda.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    Where is their Plug-in hybrid or EV? The original CRX HF rocked!!!

  • Anonymous

    First glance at the Monroney Sticker surprised me. I expected considerably better mileage from the CR-Z. After driving it for a while, I was happy to end my test drive. Besides the unfortunate lack of power, I found the seating to be uncomfortable, and the rear mirror view to be more limited than the Prius. I was a big fan of the CRX, but I feel that Honda made the CR-Z Hybrid just to sell the “Hybrid” name without any of the benefits that a hybrid brings.

  • Nelson Lu

    People can buy whatever they want to buy. If someone wants to buy a car with inferior technology and has almost no useful capacity, let him/her. Just don’t make it sound like a rational purchase.

  • gmtx2652

    The CR-Z is like the Pontiac Fiero and Solstace to me. While normal, sport and eco modes help, it’s still like Honda couldn’t decide to go for high mpg or sports car and settled for the middle. I can milk my 03 HCHI to over 50 mpg, so it would be a downgrade in efficiency to buy a CR-Z. Volt is my preferred option for efficiency upgrade (when feasible), and I’ve got a 90 IROC-Z for when I feel the need for sport. Give credit to the Prius owners, Tesla and a few others for clueing the auto industry in on the need for efficient vehicles.

  • indigo

    I think most two-seat vehicles are irrational purchases. That said, the CR-Z is pretty, agile, and not particularly expensive.

  • Ur2funnie

    It’s not a Prius to be sure. The technology is hardly inferior, its just not as complex as toyotas. And they managed to not make it as ugly as a prius. It’s fun to drive, and makes a great commuter. Can’t see how a two seat car is irrational, when you have other vehicles available.
    And the guy who thinks hybrids must get 100 mpg to offset costs of repairs is simply uninformed. One more thing, regarding the comment about the Volt, it costs twice what the CRZ costs, and the cost of plug in operation may be much higher that you think. Plus it’s a new technology from GM.

  • Sue Paulden

    You too? I can’t believe that Honda had to ruin a perfectly great car – the original Insights got over 60 MPG; had tremendous acceleration power; easily hit speeds over 100MPH (with a drop down to 58MPG). So they didn’t provide a heavy paylode for our obese society; but if you had an average BMH, it hauled 2 tall adults with a surprising hauling capacity. Wouldn’t have given it up if it had a bit more clearance for primitive road travel.

    Honda – you have joined the other car dealers that are giving into petroleum company’s pressure; how disappointing!!!

  • Anonymous

    It is both comical and sad when so many posters forget the ‘progress’ in the last decade:

    – what was the safety standard prevailing ten years ago?
    – the original Insight comes with dual airbags, the CR-Z is equipped with six airbags, like most new vehicles on the road today; active head restraints for front seats; electronic front rear brake distribution; ‘Brake Assist’; stability assist with traction control; tire-pressure monitoring system;
    – the original Insight was running on 165/14″ tires, CR-Z: 16″ tires;
    – CR-Z is much cleaner – the original Insight was rated ULEV only;
    – the electric motor in CR-Z has more than 50% more torque than that in the original Insight;
    – since it was introduced in late August, it has sold 227% of the sales in the best selling year of the original Insight.

  • Nelson Lu

    I agree with Indigo: most two-seaters are irrational purchases, including this particular one. Whether hybrid or not, these vehicles have so little utility and are virtually useless beyond being city commute cars — and for city commuters, there are better options. The CR-Z makes more sense than the Smart fortwo, but not much more.

    UR2funnie writes: “Can’t see how a two seat car is irrational, when you have other vehicles available.” That necessarily assumes that *when you have other vehicles available*. This means that you have to buy at least one other vehicle, which means that you have other members in your household. If you do, with the CR-Z being such a limited vehicles, your other vehicle(s) will necessarily have to be larger than they otherwise have to be to handle all of the other potential uses that the CR-Z can’t come close to handling, which means that you are wasting more gas.

  • Nelson Lu

    Anonymous, no one is disputing that the CR-Z is selling well. That doesn’t make it a rational car, any more than the fact that Ford F-150 is the best-selling vehicle of the land right now should be taken to mean that it is rational for most of those purchasers to buy F-150s. Indeed, there are some people who need to buy F-150s. There really isn’t anyone who needs to buy a CR-Z who really can’t be better served by another vehicle.

  • Nelson Lu

    Indeed, people often think of subcompacts — say, like the Ford Fiesta — as very, very, very limiting vehicles. The CR-Z is far more limiting than the Fiesta (only two seats, 17 cubic feet less of passenger volume, and two cubic feet less of cargo space), costs more when equivalently equipped, and saves less than $200 in fuel costs than the Fiesta per year. I can’t think of a less useful vehicle than the CR-Z except the Smart.

  • Nelson Lu

    And really, the matter isn’t just that the CR-Z was outclassed in one area and compensated in another area that would still make it a rational purchase. This is a sub-subcompact (in effect) that gets worse mileage than midsize hybrids. The inferiority is to such a degree that it is comparable to, say, if the Prius gets worse mileage than the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid. (The usable room ratio is roughly the same.) There is no good excuse for the CR-Z’s mileage to be (comparatively) that terrible other than for Honda to admit that its technology is inferior.

  • simon@syd

    The only rational car to buy is the one that costs the least, but does what you need. Doesn’t sound like much fun does it?

  • DownUnder

    Nelson said:
    “. . .
    Indeed, there are some people who need to buy F-150s. There really isn’t anyone who needs to buy a CR-Z who really can’t be better served by another vehicle.”
    The Ford saleman has spoken again.

  • Charles

    If I was in the market for a car like the CR-Z, I would wait until the 2012 Fiesta with 6 speed manual comes out. Should have almost the same MPGs and speed as the CR-Z, but with better handling and more comfort for less money.

    The current 5 speed Fiesta comes within 2 MPG EPA, 3 CR and 1 owner reporting at EPA. The quarter mile is 17.9 vs 17.2 for the current versions (via CR). CR has the routine handling of the Fiesta as better than the CR-Z, and the emergency handling as a whole lot better.

    I have owned fast cars (V8 Mustangs) and good handling cars (924 and RX7). I prefer good handling. Much more fun. So my preference for these slow cars would be to get the best handling.

  • Nelson Lu

    sean t writes: “The Ford saleman has spoken again.”

    Ha. My profession and employment are a matter of public record. You can find it anytime you want. It has absolutely nothing to do with Ford (or with car sales).

    The CR-Z is simply an inferior vehicle no matter how you cut it. It doesn’t get good mileage (for its size). It has no power. It has virtually no practical usefulness. Of course, its defenders will try to accuse people who point those things out by making irrelevant accusations. That defense doesn’t change the facts.

  • NotaFordguy

    I won’t hold my breath for a 2012 non-ST Fiesta with a six speed manual. Whether Ford is willing to bring out the Euro turbo charged ST version, when and at what price is anybody’s guess.

    Didn’t you just conveniently gloss over the fact that, at 10.7 sec, Ford Fiesta with manual transmission is 1.4 sec slower than the CR-Z in CR’s 0-60 mph acc. test? Furthermore, it takes the Fiesta 7.9 sec to accelerate from 45 to 65 mph, 1.6 sec. longer than the CR-Z. (Oops, didn’t one poster call CR-Z has ‘no power’? I wonder how about the Fiesta?)

    Quarter mile acc. number is useful if you drive mainly on the track or you’re an armchair performance car critic. To me, 0-60 mph and passing acceleration time may be more closely reflect the needs in my daily driving.

    The current Fiesta has mediocre rear seats rooms (despite the rear seats still can’t fold flat), and the hatchback has significantly less luggage carrying capacity comparing with CR-Z (criticized by one poster as impractical, no utility. LOL), according to CR.

    Have you driven one yourself?

    In a recent C&D comparison test with Mazda2 and Honda Fit, the Ford Fiesta is criticized for:
    – numb steering (although, it has good grip, at least on paper);
    – the shifter is ‘bereft of feel’ and saps the joy of shifting;
    – the car felt weak and its 0-60 time is the slowest in the group, (even with the best power-to-weight ratio on paper) [beaten by the Mazda2 with 100hp? Incredible.];
    – and, is the least fuel efficient in the group. Ouch.

    I guess you are blinded by your profession. The CR-Z, at 25 cu. ft. cargo volume, has about the same capacity as the Fiesta with rear seats folded, and larger than that of Ford Fusion sedan.

    “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

  • John K.

    The CR-Z sounds like a great little fun car — kind of like a Miata, and those have been *best sellers* for DECADES.

    Only an irrational person does understand a human’s emotional need for beauty, pleasure, and fun.

    “Nelson Lu, your Trabant is ready to be picked up.” LOL!

  • Nelson Lu

    NotaFordguy writes:

    “I guess you are blinded by your profession. The CR-Z, at 25 cu. ft. cargo volume, has about the same capacity as the Fiesta with rear seats folded, and larger than that of Ford Fusion sedan.”

    I don’t know what you are referring to with the CR-Z having 25 cubic feet of cargo volume; the EPA lists it at 10. ( Unless you know something the EPA doesn’t know about opening secret compartments…

    And, the backseat and floorboards of the Fusion don’t count as storage volume, if you really are talking about transporting just two people? (And the Fusion would still have more usable space for cargo even if it were transporting *three* people; the front seat is foldable, and if someone is sitting in the front seat, one of the rear seats and floorboard are usable.) And, in any case, it’s irrelevant to talk about folding seats when you have no seats to fold. The Fiesta has the option of transporting four people in it; the CR-Z doesn’t.

  • Nelson Lu

    John K writes: “The CR-Z sounds like a great little fun car — kind of like a Miata, and those have been *best sellers* for DECADES.”

    But the Miata does not masquerade itself as a green car, like Honda does with the CR-Z. If Honda wants to come out and admit that this car makes no sense except for people who prefer form over substance, I wouldn’t have any more quibbles with them. It’s the fact that they pretend that this car to be a sensible car and pretend that their technology is not inferior that is infuriating.

  • NotaFordguy

    No need to look for any ‘secret compartments’. Haha. There’s no ‘under-table’ dealings here. I look at the cargo volume of CR-Z and Fiesta from their respective manufacturers’ site – unless you have an inherent distrust against automakers.

  • NotaFordguy

    The EPA hwy/overall rating:
    ’11 Fiesta M5 37 MPG
    ’11 CR-Z M6 37 MPG

    In CR test, hwy fuel mileage:
    ’11 Fiesta M5 42 MPG
    ’11 CR-Z M6 45 MPG

    Is the EPA rating overstating the highway mileage of Fiesta, or understating that of CR-Z?

  • NotaFordguy

    Edit: “The EPA hwy/overall rating:” should be “The EPA hwy rating:”

  • Charles

    Who knows NotaFordguy. The EPA has its methods, CR has its own. For another data point, the EPA individual estimates has the Fiesta at 37.4 and the CR-Z at 37.8 overall.

    For the fun of it I looked up my EPA highway MPGs for my last three cars (2004 Focus, 1999 Passat and 1995 Legacy). No matter how hard I tried I could not get 30 MPG out of the Legacy, but the 29 I did get easily beats the EPA’s 26. The Passat consistently got 32-33 MPG, and is rated at only 29. The Focus started at 36 but has dropped to 33-34 as the speed limits have gone up, still not bad considering the EPA rating of only 30 MPG. If I drive my SO’s gen II Prius I get 49-50 MPG, not the rated 45. My highway driving is between Chapel Hill, NC and Lexington, KY via Charleston WV.

    So looking at the data I would say the new EPA figures underestimate highway MPGs for both the Fiesta and the CR-Z. I would also say the CR figures are much closer to my own for the highway, but when I have looked at CR’s city MPGs, I always beat them by a lot. One thing funny about the CR values, the 150 mile loop for the Fusion hybrid has 41 MPG, but the city/highway values are only 25/40. Not sure how that works.

  • DownUnder

    Nelson, this is from your mouth: “People can buy whatever they want to buy.”
    Stop treating Honda car buyers as having no brains. You remind me of Bryce on this site some years ago, a GM die hard. S/he disappeared the same time as Bob Lutz lost his job. LOL.

  • Nelson Lu

    CR-Z purchasers (not all Honda purchasers; some other Honda vehicles make sense for those who need them) can buy CR-Zs; it’s a free country. It doesn’t mean that I have to credit them with having brains.

  • Nelson Lu

    (In addition, it also doesn’t mean that, even assuming that I am somehow required to credit CR-Z buyers with brains, that I can’t bash Honda for, effectively, false advertising.)

  • David Miller

    Well, for all the people that like to poo-poo the CR-Z, I guess it would be better to praise all those “soccer-moms” driving around town going no where in particular in there oh so fuel efficient Suburbans, usually by themselves too.

    Sure, the CR-Z isn’t the technological holy grail of of fuel efficiency or performance. But consider, next time you are about to board that jet airliner, the technology exists to “pedal” your way in an aircraft. Some guy crossed the English channel by pedaling. What’s that? Not reasonable you say? Tell me again about the faults of the CR-Z.

    And again, we could all ride horses! Now there is a fuel efficient idea. No foreign oil involved there. What? You mean it doesn’t go fast enough, or far enough to get you there on time.

    Bashing’s easy, I’d be willing to bet half the people bashing the CR-Z drive a vehicle that gets less milage per gallon; in fact I’ll bet 25% of them got their wife a Suburban to get the kids “safely” to soccer practice.

  • Charles

    Driving a CR-Z would save me about 80 gallons of fuel a year if I could drive it for all of the time I drive my Focus wagon. Thinking about it, it would save me more, because when traveling with my SO, we would take her car more. We drive the Focus when we have too much stuff for her Prius. I guess we would rent a car or load the bikes on a rack.

    Nelson and I obviously do not think the CR-Z is much of a car. The MPG, performance, cost and practicality compromise is just impossible for me to understand. CR’s score of only 57 confirms that Nelson and I are not the only ones who do not “get” the CR-Z.

    Just so you do not think I am love bashing Honda, when a friend asked me WWCB, I told him the Honda Fit Sport and that he should also look at the Fiesta.

    So no Suburbans in my family. Also no voting for crazy congressmen who drive such and then complain about the pump cutting off at $100. My car does get a few less MPGs than the CR-Z but makes up for it in practicality. Driving a Prius would save me 170 gallons of fuel a year over the CR-Z.

    By the way how does poo-pooing a CR-Z in anyway cause you to think I would praise a Suburban owner?

  • Bob Lord

    Rational decision: My wife liked the CR-Z so we bought it with the manual option. She gets MPG in the high 30s going to work and back and enjoys the car. We get over 40 on the highway. What more can one ask.

    I still prefer my 2004 Honda Civic hybrid (the other manual hybrid) which regularly gets over 50 MPG on the highway, and about 47 overall. Both are great cars. No trouble with either of them.

  • Shines

    Irrational purchase!?! Of course it’s irrational!! It is a beautiful little two seater that gets over 35 mpg! Sure an F150 is needed by some people – it’s a truck. What else is an irrational vehicle purchase? – all red cars, all luxury cars, most SUVs, any car with more than a 4 cyl engine, as JamesDavis would like us to believe any vehicle that is not electric, any brand new car (the depreciation is horrible), any leased vehicle, any car without AC in Texas, any car without heat in Alaska, any convertible, any Hummer… I could go on, but I don’t want to appear irrational ;-b

  • NotaFordguy

    “The EPA has its methods, CR has its own. For another data point, the EPA individual estimates has the Fiesta at 37.4 and the CR-Z at 37.8 overall.”

    If your emphasis is fuel mileage, then you should also look into the CR-Z with auto transmission:
    EPA rating:

    Honda CR-Z 35/39/37
    Ford Fiesta 29/38/33

    “For the fun of it I looked up my EPA highway MPGs for my last three cars (2004 Focus, 1999 Passat and 1995 Legacy). No matter how hard I tried I could not get 30 MPG out of the Legacy, but the 29 I did get easily beats the EPA’s 26. The Passat consistently got 32-33 MPG, and is rated at only 29. The Focus started at 36 but has dropped to 33-34 as the speed limits have gone up, still not bad considering the EPA rating of only 30 MPG.”

    I guess, what is important, should be the life time overall fuel mileage.

    “One thing funny about the CR values, the 150 mile loop for the Fusion hybrid has 41 MPG, but the city/highway values are only 25/40. Not sure how that works.”

    I am actually surprised by your comment. According to CR, they “run three separate circuits… The third is a 150-mile “one-day trip” using several drivers taking turns around a 30-mile loop of public roads that include a highway section, secondary roads, and rural byways. ” Hybrids help to save fuel only when it can recharge the battery during braking/cruising AND use the energy saved, say, when you re-accelerate. During steady-speed highway cruising on a flat road, you are no better than hauling around several hundred pounds of extra weight in batteries and electric motor(s).

    “Driving a CR-Z would save me about 80 gallons of fuel a year if I could drive it for all of the time I drive my Focus wagon.”

    Care to elaborate a bit further?
    According to CR, a Focus wagon similar to yours would take 620 gal. a year for 15,000 miles.
    A CR-Z would need 420 gal. only.
    What is your life time overall fuel mileage of your Focus?

  • Charles

    No problem. My life time overall fuel mileage for my Focus Wagon is a bit over 30 MPG. The worst was 24, the best on consecutive tanks was 38. I drive about 20,000 miles a year, with a 50/50 split between highway and city. That works out to 666.67 gallons for the Focus/year and 588.24 for the CR-Z (at 34 MPG average). This could be unfair to the CR-Z, because I am using real world MPGs for the Focus and EPA for the CR-Z. I do believe I am using the best data I have.

    As for using the automatic. Both the Fiesta and the CR-Z are slow cars. I do not want to do anything to slow them down even more. My Focus would blow the doors off of both of them (Car and Driver 0-60 in 7.8 seconds, I could not find CR times).

  • usbseawolf2000

    It gets the same MPG as the Volt yet costs half as much. It’s tailpipe emission is cleaner than the Volt and you don’t need to bother with plugging in to avoid using premium gas.

    If half of the Volt’s tax incentive is given to this car, America would reduce twice more oil consumption while using NO electricity (mostly generated from coal).

  • Nelson Lu

    usbseawolf2000 wrote: “[CR-Z] gets the same MPG as the Volt yet costs half as much.”

    I don’t know what your point is here. If you drive within the Volt’s EV-only range, the Volt will get nearly (because of the “gas churning” cycle) infinite MPG. If you drive the Volt out of its EV range all the time, of course they’ll get (nearly) the same mileage, but then that’s someone for whom the Volt is an irrational purchase. For most drivers, the Volt’s efficiency will be far greater than the CR-Z’s.

    “If half of the Volt’s tax incentive is given to this car, America would reduce twice more oil consumption while using NO electricity (mostly generated from coal).”

    Given that the CR-Z is nowhere close to being the most efficient hybrid — again, even the midsize Fusion (which I drive) beats it — why should it get *any* tax incentives? Honda was aided by the hybrid tax credit for years — 2006 to 2008, for a full three years, and it certainly helped Civic Hybrid’s sales. It rested on its relatively modest laurels and failed to improve its technology. Until it does so, it shouldn’t get any help there. (By comparison, for example, Hyundai’s first hybrid model out the gate, the Sonata, is much larger, is much more powerful, and gets the same mileage than the CR-Z. Honda has had years to try to catch up with Toyota in hybrid technology and failed to do so; now, Ford has overtaken it technology-wise, and soon Hyundai and Nissan will do so as well, even disregarding GM’s, Nissan’s, and Ford’s EV technology.)

  • ritika

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  • charly hybrid

    an inferior vehicle… well i’ll take it you are comparing it with a fiesta. let me just state some facts i own a honda cr-z with a six speed manual, and my girlfriend a fiesta with an automatic, while her car was cheaper than mine and does have 4 seats as a young couple we have no use for those two extra seats, in terms of raw cargo space the z’s foldable seats allow for the same or more cargo than my the fiesta, while being easier to put in such cargo, in terms of fuel efficiency its not even close i drive her fiesta and i get 33 mpg most of the time my cr-z gets 45 mpg highway in eco mode and about 42 combined, i don’t know how the epa rated the cr-z but they should give it another try, go to fuelly and you’ll see most cr-z are in the 40’s in term of fuel efficiency , and i dont even want to point out how the fiesta’s mpg suffers in city driving where I’ve seen it get to 26 or less , while the cr-z can shut off its engine and just cruse while using 0 gas. finally as of driving fun its just not close , the fiesta is energetic and i bet a manual trans would help, but hyundai accents, toyota yaris and other subcompacts also feel agile and energetic, the cr-z is not a “SPORTS” car but it can accelerate 0 to 60 in about 8 seconds in sports mode with a moderately full battery , the electric motor provides great jolts of energy when needed and you can find yourself going 75 easily if you are careless something that takes a concerned effort in the fiesta.

    i considered buying a fiesta and if i would have gone for raw value the fiesta would have saved me about 3 grand, but price and value are separate things those extra three K’s get me a esthetically beautiful car, about a 1000 dollars in gas savings over its life, and fulfills my moderate need for speed
    also modestly reducing my environmental impact . i don’t see anything inferior about that.

  • crxsquared

    As the owner of a total of 5 Honda CRX’s over 25+ years (still have a ’91 Si), I really couldn’t care less about the supposedly hi-tech hybrid features in the CR-Z. My 20-year-old Si still gets 38+ mpg on the highway and thanks to my upgrading the exhaust to 60mm piping, it will accelerate quite handily even in 5th gear. Of course, it weighs a good 500# less than the CR-Z, not having to be burdened with all the BS now mandatory for new US vehicles. I refuse to own a car with working airbags (as an engineer, I know how dangerous the POS actually are), and have no need for stability control and all the fancy electronic crapola, as the car is for DRIVING, not social-networking. I can get along quite well without a gee-whiz videogame display (instead of a proper set of mechanical gauges) or an electronic nanny second-guessing me as I drive.

    And don’t get me started on the CR-Z’s craptastic suspension. My CRX has a true 4-wheel independent suspension, not a gussied-up McPherson Strut front end, and as for the rear of the CR-Z, a U-shaped torsion bar? What a joke- that’s about what I’d expect in a Hyundai Accent! And what’s with the miserable visibility out the rear quarters? Some fool stylist thought racy looks counted as more important than actually being able to see out the aft corners.

    The only way that I’d even consider a CR-Z is if the hybrid system were replaced with a decent IC engine, perhaps the 2.0 liter, 200 hp K20A2. I’ll bet you could shave at least 150# off the car’s weight by trashing the battery pack. Honda no longer sells any true sports cars since the S2000 was canceled, and the 2012 Civic Si is now burdened with the uninspiring K24 out of the Acura TSX. Which is why my last purchase was a nice, low mileage ’97 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder (turbo convertible). And yes, I deactified and removed the airbags. No government ninny is going to force me to put up with an explosive device inches in front of my chest. My car, I dictate what is in it. The nanny state can go pound salt.

  • Anonymous

    Why is it that so many people think that if it doesn’t make sense for them, it can’t make sense for anyone. There are a lot of people in the world with lots of different requirements and tastes. If you don’t like it, don’t but it. Why is everyone so angry?

  • DownUnder

    crxsquared wrote:

    ” . . . I refuse to own a car with working airbags (as an engineer, I know how dangerous the POS actually are), . . .”

    Wow crxsquared! You are some engineer!
    There must be a conspiracy saying that air bags save lives!
    Maybe all other stuffs: ABS, seatbelts, stability controls, crumple zone, the list goes on. Thanks for your post!

  • Anonymous

    CRX^^2 wrote: ” I’ll bet you could shave at least 150# off the car’s weight by ….”

    How about follow GM Cruze Eco or Hyundai ELantra/Veloster’s route, ditch the space saving spare with an emergency kit???

    It’s a great idea in helping Elantra to achieve the targeted 40 MPG!

  • usbseawolf2000

    Nelson Lu wrote: “If you drive within the Volt’s EV-only range, the Volt will get nearly … infinite MPG.”

    What’s your point here? Using your logic, a cordless hybrid gets infinite miles per kWh too. MPG is a measure of fuel economy (always had been). It is NOT a measurement of gallons consumed for the miles driven by electricity.

    My point was the focus for the cost of EV miles with the Volt. It costs $20k (more than CR-Z) for the 35 miles EV range per charge. Once the battery runs out, Volt’s gas engine consumes premium gas and emission is no better than a non-hybrid. Leaf provides a better EV bang for the buck. Prius provides a better HV bang for the buck. The upcoming Prius PHV should provide the best combination of both EV/HV experience at an affordable price that can be a single midsize family car (with the safest rear mid seat for the baby).

    Nelson Lu wrote: “Given that the CR-Z is nowhere close to being the most efficient hybrid….why should it get *any* tax incentives?”

    First, I am not a fan of Honda IMA. You can search many of my posts criticizing about it. I am not defending CR-Z but simply stating my opinion of the current incentive.

    Isn’t it the goal to reduce oil consumption and lower the tailpipe emission? CR-Z does both and it should get the tax credit incentive it deserves. Volt gets the same 37 MPG and emission higher than some non-hybrids so why does it get $7,500?

    Sure, $7,500 may be for the 35 miles EV range. Why doesn’t Leaf with 73 miles EV range get $15,600? That’s right, the tax incentive was not based on the EV range. The incentives were designed for electric cars and Volt is a hybrid (plugin type to be specific). It favored the size of the battery pack that has the burden of carrying the weight of the gas engine and related components.

    It appears you believe the current incentive is fair. When Ford comes out with Focus EV and C-Max Energi (plugin hybrid), they won’t get their fair share of the tax payer incentive dollars. That’s my opinion.

  • Nelson Lu

    The day that the CR-Z can at least somewhat uncomfortably carry four passengers (I know, the Japanese domestic model does that, but apparently that is *very* uncomfortably so) is the day that it can belong in a discussion with the Volt. Right now, the argument that the CR-Z is more economically efficient than the Volt — which I disagree with, but I think is beside the point — is misguided because they are not equivalent cars in their capacity. It would be like comparing the Escape with the Tahoe.

  • usbseawolf2000

    Ok, so you are saying tax credit should account for the number of seats?

    Volt (compact) has 4 but Leaf (midsize) has 5 seats. How come Volt qualifies for the same amount as the Leaf, even though it has less than half the EV range?

    Prius (midsize) with 5 seats get $0 tax credit. Why?

  • Lancewex

    The CR-Z hate is so weird. I am happy about this blog post, knowing that someone gets it. I really love my CR-Z. The MINI Cooper gets rave reviews, but its reliability is seriously lacking. And hardly anyone ever talks about it. And sure, it has back seats. But no adult would ever want to sit there. It’s just too small and uncomfortable (no, I am not obese). I had one for 3 years, and though it has much to like, I much prefer my CR-Z. It gets better real-world mileage, is more comfortable to drive, and as a Honda will be much more reliable. But again, raves all around for the MINI in the press. Also, everyone compares the new car gas mileage figures, but rarely talks about emissions (in the US anyway). But a hybrid that gets 37mpg has much better emissions than a gas-only car with 37mpg. So for people who actually care about the environment–and not just gas money–a hybrid wins. Also, the EPA testing does not take into account the start-stop features of hybrids, so MPGs are always wrong for hybrids. And as for telling me what is a rational car choice–get off your high horse. I live in a city, and there simply was no better choice for me. I very rarely have more than one other person in my car. And though I don’t want a sports car I do want a car that doesn’t handle like a boat. The CR-Z is perfect. The only other serious consideration I had was for a diesel Golf, but Honda reliability was the deciding factor.

  • AP

    The guys at American Top Gear were “loving the CRZ”, “the perfect car for SF”, “a hybrid with attitude”. They raced a bunch of bicyclists in downtown SF–the mecca for bicycle freaks. They lost, but they explained that SF should be renamed “the city of stop signs”. Despite all the stopping and starting and putting pedal to metal, they still got MPG’s in the 30s.
    People are trashing Honda these days anyway, so it’s not about the CRZ. They say Honda’s lost its edge, but what about offering the ONLY hydrogen-powered vehicle for consumers, the Clarity. What about offering the ONLY natural gas vehicle for consumers for barely 25K? What about being just being named Union of Concerned Scientists’ Greenest Automaker for 2011, for the 5th year in a row? Or having the greenest car for 2011, the civic NGV, awarded by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy?
    People hate the idea of Green company that also produces cool vehicles–too much to handle for ’em. So they automatically trash the CRZ–and pretty much all the eco-friendly stuff that Honda has been putting out long before green or eco was cool.

  • Woolco

    Thanks, Hybridcars, for setting the record straight. Don’t know why critics absolutely HATE the CRZ. Just like they hate the Prius–like they need to criticize a car that gets trashed in every other movie anyway. Hey, the Prius is the reason we’re talking about other eco-friendly cars these days, because Prius made a market for them–kudos to Toyota for losing dough on every Prius, sorta the sacrificial lamb for the eco movement.

    Now, the CRZ does what the Prius couldn’t–actually look like a fun car to ride–which the guys at Top Gear proved. But they still put it down. Critics are dumb, consumers are cool!

  • PG

    It’s a great little fun car to drive for a great price… I drove all the mid-sized cars (Accord, Altima, Sonata, etc.) but none had the sports car feel I was looking for to replace my 2003 BMW 325… then I drove the CRZ and in Sport mode it’s a blast to drive. Well worth the money… and the MPG averaging around 38 is a nice perk.