The 2016 Honda CR-Z units out to do what only some autos in historical past have executed: mix excessive effectivity with a high-style, hot-hatchback profile.
Just like the BMW i8—solely not so extravagantly engineered—the CR-Z mashes up its fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain with the profile sporty two-seater. It finally ends up not terribly convincing in both side. It is not all that entertaining to drive, and its fuel mileage is handily outpaced by larger, extra accommodating hybrids.
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Its sporty credentials lie nearly solely on this factoid: It stays the only real hybrid supplied with a handbook gearbox.
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The unique design purpose was so as to add a contemporary hybrid system into a contemporary model of the sporty, nippy, fuel-sipping CRX two-seater of twenty years in the past, a lot beloved even as we speak. However the necessities of recent security, plus the hybrid powertrain, added a variety of weight—it is about 700 kilos heavier than the outdated CRX. The sensation that resulted simply could not examine to the light-weight coupe from one other period fully.
The lengthy hood and lengthy doorways of the CR-Z result in a narrowing tail with a vertical second rear window within the hatch, borrowed from the now-defunct Perception hybrid. It is a handsome automotive from most angles, however the sporty seems aren’t adequately supported by its precise driving character. It is now the one surviving Honda with a two-tier instrument panel, which makes use of brilliant colours to convey car working data in addition to the standard velocity and engine revs. The seats are effectively bolstered, though their restricted vary of adjustment gave a number of reviewers again aches. And baggage area is restricted to a few small, comfortable baggage—overlook about carrying any rectangular cardboard packing containers.
The CR-Z is powered by 1.5-liter inline-4 and 15-kw (20-horsepower) electrical motor sandwiched between engine and transmission. Output is 130 hp, and the 6-speed handbook model has a rated torque of 140 pound-feet. In Sport mode, a lift operate referred to as the “Plus Sport System” lets the driving force press a steering-wheel button marked “S+” that delivers an additional jolt of electrical torque for as much as 5 seconds if the battery’s cost is ample. The small lithium-ion battery pack is positioned underneath the cargo-bay flooring, one of many causes baggage area is so minimal.
The a lot heavier construction lets the CR-Z adjust to fashionable security assessments the CRX’s designers by no means even dreamed of, although its scores are solely so-so. It has a full complement of airbags, and a rear-vision digicam is commonplace. For 2016, Honda has added its intelligent LaneWatch system, which exhibits a picture of the lane to the correct of the automotive on the central sprint show when the driving force indicators a right-hand flip. It has a full complement of airbags for 2 folks; the CRX had none in any respect.
In a automotive market that more and more opts for utility autos over passenger automobiles, the CR-Z’s small measurement and two seats current a serious downside for a lot of—and its very restricted cargo capability undermines its suggestion of hatchback practicality. There are each sportier automobiles and extra fuel-efficient fashions on the market. The CR-Z has suffered from this betwixt-and-between identification since its launch, and gross sales have been correspondingly low. Many four- and five-seat small automobiles at the moment are nearly pretty much as good on fuel mileage, together with the Honda Match subcompact—a perennial favourite for its intelligent Magic Seat and massive inside flexibility—that’s rated at 37 mpg and sits subsequent to the CR-Z on showroom flooring.
Gas effectivity is best with the repeatedly variable transmission (CVT), at a mixed 36 mpg metropolis, 39 freeway, 37 mixed. The CR-Z can be out there with a 6-speed handbook gearbox—making it the only real hybrid with a stick—which provides a sportier driving character, however cuts mileage to 31/38/34 mpg. For context, three fashions of the Toyota Prius—bigger, extra comfy, and providing 4 or 5 seats-get 50 mpg mixed.