Sunday, May 15, 2011

First Impression: Honda CR-Z

From 1983 to 1991, Honda made the CR-X, a sports compact.  It came in HF, DX, and Si trims. The DX trim was the standard version, with a 1.5L I-4 engine that produced 92 hp.  The HF trim was the fuel economy version, with a 1.5L I-4 engine that produced 72 hp.  The HF trim got over 40 mpg.  The Si trim was the sport version, with a 1.6l I-4 engine that produced 108 hp.  The CR-X was light-weight and did not require a powerful engine to go fast.  The CR-X went from 0-60 mph in under 9 seconds, which is an adequate 0-60 acceleration time. In August 2010, Honda released the CR-Z in America.  The CR-Z would combine all three aspects of the CR-X, the fuel economy of the HF, the normality of the DX, and the sportiness of the Si, in one car.  The CR-Z would also be powered by a hybrid powertrain.  Honda marketed the CR-Z as a sports hybrid.  However, the CR-Z failed to get the fuel economy of the CR-X HF.  The CR-Z got 35 city mpg and 39 highway mpg.  It was not as sporty as the CR-X Si.  This car FAILS at combining the best aspects of the CR-X.
I first saw the CR-Z parked near a bank.  It was shown off at the 2011 Houston Auto Show.  My initial thought was it is a sports hybrid that is not sporty and a hatchback that is not "hot".  It would never be the car that the CR-X was.
The CR-Z is powered by a 1.5L I-4 and a DC brushless motor that combined produces 122 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque when using a CVT automatic transmission and 128 lb-ft of torque when using a 6-speed manual transmission.  It has more horsepower than the CR-X Si, but it weighs between 2600 and 2700 lbs.  It takes the CR-Z 9.3 seconds to go from 0-60 mph, which is slow, and reaches a top speed of 121 mph.  It has better acceleration than the Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius, and the Lexus CT 200h.The CR-Z prices start at $19,345.  It is much cheaper than the Prius, Volt, and CT 200h.
Top Gear USA did a segment on the CR-Z.  Adam Ferrara and Rutledge Wood raced the CR-Z against two bikers in San Fransisco.  The CR-Z lost.  Motorweek has also reviewed the CR-Z and can be seen online ( 
Final Thoughts:  This car is the best performing hybrid-only powertrain vehicles available in the US market.  It is quicker and faster than the Volt, CT 200h, and Prius, and cheaper than all those cars.  That is sad because the CR-Z is not quick.  You would have to stomp on the acceleration pedal in order to pass other cars on the highway.  It gets low gas mileage when compared to other hybrids.  It has only two seats so it is useless as a family car.  It is slower than the CR-X Si and more gas thirsty than the CR-X HF.  It is not the sports hybrid that Honda claims it to be.  I would not recommend this car.  If you are looking for performance and good gas mileage, go with the VW Golf TDI.  The Honda CR-Z is useless.
Photo taken from a camera phone

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