The Honda CR-Z has been in production since 2011, but unlike every other Honda/Acura vehicle we’ve reviewed, I rarely see this car… maybe because it’s a two-seater and a hybrid? Nevertheless, if you own one, you’re most likely the only one on your block with this car and it actually will turn heads too.
The CR-Z is the spiritual successor to the much-loved Honda CRX, and it does look like what a CRX would look like as a modern 21st century car. But of course, the diehard fans of the CRX will bite your head off if you repeated the above sentence.
I’ve personally never driven a CRX, so I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Maybe the diehard fans don’t like the fact the CR-Z is a hybrid? And I’ve seen a lot of car reviewers hating on the CR-Z as well, which I personally don’t understand, more on that later.
In Canada, the 2016 Honda CR-Z has a starting price of $26,290 for the 6-speed manual transmission equipped cars and $27,590 for the CVT equipped cars. The CR-Z comes in only one trim, called Premium Package. Our review car came with the 6-speed manual transmission, it is the only hybrid offered with a manual transmission, at least in North America and maybe even the entire world.
The CR-Z is powered by a 1.5 liter iVTEC 4-cylinder engine with Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) technology. Producing 130 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 140 pound-feet of torque between 1,000 – 2,000 rpm on the manual transmission equipped cars. On the CVT equipped cars, torque is 127 pound-feet between 1,000 – 3,000 rpm. The IMA system makes the CR-Z a light hybrid, with the engine shutting off at stops and also as you come to a stop, it seemed to shut off below 30 km/h with a foot on the brake, decelerating to a stop. The battery pack also gives a power boost, when the “S+” button on the steering wheel is pushed, giving extra power for up to 5 seconds, as long as the battery has 50% or higher charge.
The CR-Z comes with three driving modes; Eco, Normal, and Sport. In the Eco mode, as one would expect, the car is the most efficient with the least amount of power, and is pretty slow. It drives like a real no-fun hybrid. But the other modes are more fun and I drove the car mostly in the Sport mode.
In the Sport mode the CR-Z becomes quite lively, and I actually enjoyed it a lot. I don’t know why other reviewers don’t like this car, I thought it was very peppy and it felt like a nice little sports car. It’s not going to break any speed records, but it felt lively and there was enough power to have fun, it kind of reminded me of the Ford Fiesta ST. In Sport mode, you can also some nice sounds coming from the exhaust system, which I’m pretty sure is a synthetic sound pumped through the speakers. It sounds good enough and makes you feel like you’re going a lot faster than you are and makes the whole experience sporty.
Although the CR-Z is a hybrid, it’s not as efficient as one would think, it’s still pretty efficient as a car, but not efficient enough for a hybrid. According to Honda, the 6-speed manual equipped CR-Z should consume 7.9/6.5/7.3 Liters/100 km. We managed around 8.5 L/100 km in mixed city/highway driving, with mostly the Sport mode used.
The interior on the CR-Z is pretty clean looking and driver oriented, with most of the buttons placed very close to the steering wheel. I especially liked the buttons and knob placement for the climate control system. This layout is put in a very compact package and is easy to use and understand, and it takes up very little room.
The seats are sporty and provide lots of support. There’s plenty of room for the front two occupants; the rear seats are deleted in North America, giving the front passengers plenty of room. The deletion of the rear seats is a good thing in my opinion, rear seats in small cars like this are pretty useless and take up space and add weight. Instead of the rear seats, there are plastic tray types of things for storage. The trunk is fairly small, but there is enough room for groceries or a weekend getaway.
The exterior on the 2016 Honda CR-Z hasn’t changed much since introduction, Honda has freshened it up a bit with the introduction of a gloss black bar running horizontally across the front and rear bumpers.
I personally like the Honda CR-Z and don’t really understand why it’s not well received. I’m thinking it’s most likely because it’s a hybrid and hybrids automatically mean fuel efficient slow cars. The CR-Z is not a race car, but neither was the CRX and everyone seemed to love it. For more information visit honda.ca.