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CR-Z fail or ftw?
time evening Posted: Sep 20, 2010 8:13:01 PM

time evening Posted: Sep 20, 2010 8:13:01 PM

CR-Z fail or ftw?

Honda has built a sport compact on the heritage of its cult classic, the CRX, but for the 21st century. The CR-Z tries to embody everything the first gen Insight and CRX was meant to be. Except for a few things. There are many places the CR-Z exceeds and parts that it does, well, just "ok."

The CR-Z is compact and nimble, four wheel disc brakes, relatively light weight and a two seater makes it a very fun sport compact. The hybrid technology allows for impressive city driving mpg of 35 MPG according to the EPA, however the freeway figures are much lower than expected and only 5mpg more than a Honda Civic. Its price may seem a little steep, but this little two seater will be a limited production vehicle with Honda only having a project 100K units worldwide over its lifetime and resale value will be very strong being the first sport oriented hybrid vehicle from Honda.

But this is far from a perfect execution of Honda's mission. For one, it's not the fastest sport compact in it's price range, its mpg is not much better than the civic cousin, there is very very little space in the rear for much (probably due to the batteries). But what probably pains many people is that the CR-Z isn't much of a performer compared to it's 26 year old cousin. The 1985 CRX Si could do 0-60 in around mid 8 seconds about a full second quicker than the CR-Z, with only 90ish hp/tq mind you, which is quite a bit less than the CR-Z's 114hp. You think, "wait? it has more HP and isn't much bigger than the CRX, what gives?" And that's the misconception, the CR-Z weighs just about the same amount as a base model Civic Sedan, around 2600lbs. It really seems like if they could fit an R18 in there it would be a better performing, more thrills, and still have around the same mpg figures.

But I'm a car nut who like sport cars, I'm not a bean counter and for that it falls grossly short. It was meant to be the spiritual successor to the CRX and the Insight, but it does both poorly It's slower than the CRX and doesn't get MPG anywhere near what the Insight can do. The CRX was very light and felt like a go kart and sipped gas, there was even a diesel model that supposedly could get 50mpg. What in the world? It's been 26 years and they couldn't get it to go faster with getting great MPG for being a tiny two seater? But wait, the Insight weighed about the same as the CRX and was built in the 2000's and was a hybrid and got great MPG, what gives? What happened Honda?

In the end though Honda wins. They will sell all the units they predict at the price they want while stimulating interest in the brand. How? Techno hype, Honda fans, semi exclusive and it does look fun. Bravo Honda, you have succeeded in becoming that much closer to being Toyota.