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Enter Honda’s two-seat 2012 CR-Z which carries over unchanged since being introduced last year.
And speaking of sporty, notice there’s the letter “y” after sport; we’re not talking sports car here.
If a car’s styling is part of the definition of sporty, then the CR-Z certainly gets high marks.
The CR-Z employs the sixth-generation parallel hybrid system that Honda calls Integrated Motor Assist (IMA). The primary power source is a 1.5-liter, four cylinder, 16-valve engine that features Honda’s i-VTEC, a computer controlled variable valve timing and lift system that improves fuel economy and reduces exhaust emissions. The 10-kilowatt electric motor adds a maximum peak output of 13 horsepower at 1,500 rpm and 58 pound-feet of torque at 1000 rpm. Two transmissions are available, a standard six-speed manual – the only hybrid with three pedals – and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Completing the IMA system is a 100.8-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack and all of the controls to operate the system. There are three driver-selected operation modes for the powertrain: Sport, Normal and Econ. The CR-Z’s styling blends design elements from the aforementioned 1984-1991 CR-X and the current Honda Insight with the 2009 CR-Z Concept. The distinctive wedge shape originates from a low-slung hood to form an aggressive forward stance.
All controls are easy-to-reach, and the switchgear feels substantial and operates with a smooth deliberateness.
Honda apparently feels new buyers place little value on the luxuries Boomers desire: the coupe is not available with leather seats, let alone, heated seats or even a sunroof. For safety, all CR-Z models are equipped with anti-lock disc brakes with brake-force distribution, electronic stability control and a full complement of airbags, including curtain-style bags. Editor’s Note: This road test of a 2012 CR-Z was previously a stand-alone review we’ve merged into the general review. No one has ever accused me of having a light foot on the go pedal, although I have changed my driving habits the past several years.
During my drives about town the colored ring around the speedometer was primarily green, but I didn’t need it as a reminder that mode selection was Econ. After five hours that covered 174 miles of driving primarily in Sport mode, the coupe registered 32.7 mpg. The CR-Z is built on the same platform as the Insight hybrid, but engineers didn’t just copy, cut and paste. Around town the CR-Z has a smooth, fairly well-damped ride and it’s easy-to-drive, easy-to-park and with wide doors, easy-to-get in and out of. Like all Honda four cylinder VTEC engines, this one brings on power in a linear, effortless manner. However, the CR-Z’s sporty personality isn’t derived from horsepower, it’s all about the handling.
Should you drive slightly over your capabilities, the stability control system and anti-lock brakes respond in quick fashion.
Hybrid puritans will scoff at the CR-Z’s fuel efficiency and driving enthusiasts will pooh-pooh its performance.
There are other choices for a sporty car that not only offer decent fuel economy, but also have room for two or three actual friends.
Prices are Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) at time of publication and do not include destination charges, taxes or licensing.
Of course the answer is going to be a combination of several factors, but I would love to understand them a bit more. Our office gets two car magazines, which sometimes have articles for those planning to buy fuel-efficient cars. July’s Automobile compared an old 1985 Honda CRX with the 2010 Insight, and observed the CRX was considerably more fun to drive and got even better mileage, but the CRX lacked a rear seat and weighed over 1000 pounds less (the CRX weighed about 60% as much as the Insight). I think that for that size of a car I would prefer a Mini Cooper, which costs $18,800 the base model with a manual, they get up to 37 MPG (according to, have a nice sporty look and they do not need and additional motor or bateries that in the long run will cost a lot to replace. I like the idea of a fun to drive hybrid .The looks of this sport hybrid are just terrific . Eventhough the window sticker for the Fit says 33 mpg hwy, thanks to the mpg computer in the car, I have customers that have reported 37-41 mpg hwy. Lets say the average person drives 15,000 miles per year, and the non-hybrid Fit gets 39 mpg hwy.
Now, if you just plug the mpg of the hybrid into this equation, 48 mpg hwy, you get $812 per year. If the CR-Z gets over 40 mpg hwy and has a price tag at $20k or less, offer both the manual and CVT, it would out sell EVERYTHING! BTW, after all of the test drives this 2010 had, the computer only showed 24.x MPG average. Oops, forgot to mention the configured price of the Honda Insight Hybrid (again, fairly high end model) was $27k+.
Why did they do the CR-Z instead of a Civic Coupe hybrid which they could have offered years ago (when gas prices were through the roof)? All I can say is that I hope Honda switches to Li ion batteries (smaller size & weight for the same power) ASAP. And please, offer a hybrid Civic Coupe before you remodel the Civic line again (and make the Coupe ugly again).
Also, a drivetrain that’s only putting out 120 HP and roughly the same torque and is being asked to cart around such a portly car cannot be seriously called anything remotely resembling sporty. Well I guess thats the reason that we are in the place we are now, With so much pollution in the air and the prices of gas are what they are is because of ol fashioned redneckish texan dudes like you. And for the record, you couldn’t pay me enough money to step foot in Texas, let alone live there. It looks great but I can still get a SMART car that has a 1-liter engine, can do 90 miles per hour and gets 41 miles to the gallon. So, this car has 122 HP while getting (slightly) worse fuel-efficiency than the 191-HP Ford Fusion Hybrid? I assume the CR-Z will use the same under powered 13 HP electric motor (IMA) sandwiched between the ICE and transmission. One great way to experience an EV is to show up at one of various test drive events held across the country. It is an undeniable fact that air pollution is largely caused by vehicle engine combustion. During the whole period the car is running, the electric engine is constantly functioning as well. Aside from Prius, the pride of Toyota is its hybrid minivan, the Sierra hybrid and Estima hybrid. If you are in the hunt for reasonably priced yet offers luxury, comfort and safety at the same time, Saturn hybrid cars are the perfect hybrids for you.

Today, big names in the car industry continues their research, studies, tests and creation of hybrid prototypes so as to perfect the hybrid technology that has been started already. When such a time arrives, hybrid cars, as exemplified by Toyota Prius, Honda Civic and the Saturn hybrid, will be the conventional mode of transport. And as for our dirty, smoke emitting cars, they will, in turn, form part of history. Browsing Different Car Classifieds Sites For Great Used Cars for Sale – The Easy Way! Photos of the Honda Vezel Hybrid, the production version of the Honda Urban Concept which has been revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show. Now Honda has released the first official photos of the entirely redesigned Fit for the Japanese market, though only so far in the form of the Fit Hybrid model not sold in the U.S. The images show a more angular but otherwise recognizably all-new Honda Fit (also known in some markets as the Jazz).
While Honda released few specific details, the latest Fit will likely retain its "Magic Seat" folding and removable rear seat--the feature that makes the current Fit the most flexible and capacious subcompact on the market. Equally important, though, Honda has released some details of its all-new Sport Hybrid i-DCD small hybrid system for subcompact and compact cars.
The new system replaces its Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) mild-hybrid system, first used on the original two-seat Honda Insight in 1999, and subsequently revised in several iterations over the years. The latest generation of the IMA system is still sold in today's 2013 Honda Insight, CR-Z, and Civic Hybrid models.
But as we detailed last November, Honda has been discussing its new small hybrid system for the past year or so. This is, we should note, a different system than the far more powerful two-motor hybrid system for larger vehicles--mid-size sedans and perhaps, one day, even minivans--now used in the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid. That system will roll out nationwide in the non-plug-in (and much higher volume) 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid when it goes into production at Honda's Marysville, Ohio, factory this fall. The new, smaller hybrid system Honda has described for the next Fit will likely be seen in the U.S. As detailed last fall, Honda's new hybrid system--to be known as Sport Hybrid Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive, or i-DCD--will feature a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, running on the ultra-efficient Atkinson Cycle.
A single electric motor, as before, will sit between the engine and transmission, with output of 20 kilowatts (27 hp) or more. But now the i-DCD hybrid system will use Honda's first-ever dual-clutch automatic transmission, with seven speeds.That replaces the continuously variable transmission (CVT) previously used with the IMA hybrid system. Honda says the new Fit Hybrid will be 35 percent more efficient on the Japanese test cycle than the previous Fit Hybrid model was. The new i-DCD system permits both electric-only acceleration from a stop and more efficient electric-only coasting.
Unlike the IMA system, it can decouple the engine and gearbox while using power from the electric motor, or regenerating it when coasting or braking.
On initial takeoff, low- or medium-speed cruising, and deceleration, the system operates with only the electric motor, decoupling the gasoline engine from the gearbox via a clutch. During hard acceleration and high-speed cruising, the electric motor system adds torque to that of the engine, letting the engine run at higher and more efficient speeds. The answer: It depends on what your expectations are when it comes to hybrid fuel efficiency, and how you define sporty as applied to cars.
Styled with cues including those of Honda’s sporting CR-X of the ‘80s and ‘90s, the CR-Z strives to be both sporty and a hybrid.
If fast is included in the equation, then a 0 to 60 mph time of 8.5 seconds falls a little short. The four has a peak output of 113 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 107 pounds-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm.
Combined output of the gas engine and electric motor is 122 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. Drivers who want a manual experience with the CVT can have it, courtesy of shift paddles on the steering wheel. Located beneath the cargo area, the battery pack stores electricity generated during regenerative braking and sends power to the electric motor when it assists the engine. When you look at the CR-Z, you have a strong inkling that the designers had a clear vision of what they wanted out of the starting gate: a help-save-the-planet sporty coupe that has no equals in appearance. An aerodynamic, raked roofline and sharply abrupt rear are reminiscent of the CR-X, but brought up-to-date with modern flowing lines. There’s adequate leg and headroom, even for taller occupants, and the driver and passenger are seated in firm, comfortable cloth sports seats.
The gauge cluster has a three-dimensional, electroluminescent central analog tachometer with a digital speed display in the center. Interior fit and finish is quite good, while the quality of the materials is not too cheap looking, they are not luxurious either. Unlike other automakers, Honda doesn’t offer a long list of options; each model in the lineup has a set suite of features. The $22,905 EX with Navigation adds Honda’s navigation system with voice recognition and illuminated steering wheel-mounted navigation controls.
Buyers can, however, order a 17-inch tire and alloy wheel package in place of the standard 16-inch set up. The drive consisted of a broad sampling of road conditions: highways, town streets, and sweeping country roads.
The word sluggish best defines the forward motion of the CR-Z in this setting, and following the shift-up and shift-down indicator arrows was foreign even to my changed driving habits.
The Econ mode seemed to be the logical choice during the seemingly endless stop, go, stop commuter traffic movement. That’s a number even a Prius would be envious of with the tachometer close to red line for many of those miles. The structure is more rigid, the wheelbase is clipped 4.5 inches, overall length is shortened by some 8 inches and the car is considerably wider and lower.
Its response to throttle input is prompt, almost brisk, except in the Econ mode, and if it lacks urgency it makes up for it in pluck and willingness.
Under brisk cornering there is an expected amount of understeer and a moderate dose of body roll. The manual transmission offers relatively short throws with clean gates and a comfortable, easily engaged clutch action.
Ford’s nifty Fiesta SE hatchback with manual transmission and optional SYNC and Sound package lists for $16,265 and serves up 29 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.
Lexus began selling its CT 200h last year that has a combined city-highway fuel mileage of 42 mpg. Is the discrepancy mostly due to better estimation of actual fuel consumption (and if so is there a way to figure out what they old numbers should have been)? As a young buyer it appeals to me and it isn’t all about the gas mileage its about how it is greener for the earth. I have a Pontiac Vibe and it gets 33 MPG on the highway with more space and is taller than the CR-Z so buy a new car just to get an additional 6 miles per gallon does not sound like a good deal. I just hope it comes with a twin clutch auto option, SoCal traffic and a manual trannys just don’t do it for me anymore.

They are going from store to store getting feedback from the salesforce to help them understand why the 2010 Insight isn’t selling as well as they planned. The MSRP for a Fit Sport with automatic transmission and a navigation system (this is the top Fit model) is $19k.
However one site claims that from dust to dust the Jetta is cleaner due to emmissions from production and disposal of the Prius battery. Quick, agile, fun to drive, and it averaged about 34 MPG around town even when it was driven, er, aggressively.
But as for the gas motor, an option to leave it on or off is dependent on the necessities of the hybrid car. Its Prius is the top performing and touted as the best hybrid car in the US market, not the mention has the most reasonable price. These minivans are the most sought after hybrid models since they are spacious and runs with a 4WD. We can therefore expect in the future a vehicle that will be totally independent from fossil fuel. Perhaps handling is a more important ingredient for a sporty car than speed, and this is where the CR-Z becomes entertaining and the fun factor of driving is evident. In certain instances, the CR-Z engine does cut off fuel and the car operates briefly on electric power only, but the engine’s parts still move. And no, the combined horsepower rating of 122 and combined torque number of 128 are not typos. There are seven fixed speed ratios that mimic a manual shifter, and up or down shifts are executed quite quickly.
It limits the engine’s power and torque while relying more on battery power, and tones down air conditioning effort resulting in laggard forward progress.
There’s 25.1 cubic feet of space behind the seats – more than twice the volume of an everyday compact car’s trunk, and more than a Lincoln Town Car. As with other hatchback hybrid vehicles – Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt and Honda Insight – rear-ward view is compromised by large support pillars and the horizontal bar that separates the glass in the rear hatch. When the driving modes are selected, the ring around the digital speedometer changes color: green for Econ, blue for Normal and red for Sport. At the end of the run the coupe tallied 35.3 miles per gallon – three tenths more mpg than the EPA city rating of 35 mpg in the city, and nearly 4 mpg shy of the 39 highway rating.
Unlike the CVT-equipped Zs that automatically shut the engine off when the car is stopped, manual shifters require the transmission be in neutral. Add the suspension from the Insight – McPherson struts and a rear torsion-beam setup – and you have Honda’s formula for a sporty coupe. The coupe’s precise and nicely weighted electric rack-and-pinion steering tracks true with good feedback, making abrupt lane changes and sudden, tight curves a delight. Gear ratios are well selected to give the car a suitable launch, first through third gears.
The Detroit News’s reviewer put it this way: “There will be some people who just fall in love with the CR-Z. For $24,235, Volkswagen’s Golf TDI offers German engineered handling while the torquey diesel engine delivers 30 mpg in town and 42 on the highway. The first comments below are from original publication prior to the vehicle’s release. Fill out some basic details and we.ll have a dealer in your area send you a price quote to get the ball rolling.
That’s Prius territory, not to mention the Prius gets better gas milage, more room, and more power and storage. I would say the added weight of all the stuff required now along with the weight af expected accessories.
With that said, why would any customer pay an extra $5000 for a hybrid anything that gets a whopping 40 mpg hwy!!! This is the reason why we have to get all this oil from the chinesse and afghanis because of people like you. Thus, allowing hybrid drivers to save more on fuel consumption.  The 2008 Escape and Mercury hybrids can instantly changeover between complete electric power, complete gas, or even mixed power-driven to take full advantage of performance and fuel-efficiency. Like other hybrid vehicles, the CR-Z shuts off the engine when the car comes to a stop, and then fires up again when it’s time to go. Honda states that peak output for the CR-Z’s gas engine and electric motor occur at significantly different rpm ranges. Of note, like a manual transmission, the CVT will stay in the selected gear, a nice sporty touch. Selecting the Sport system quickens throttle input response, adds more electric power and tightens up steering effort.
Small bins behind the seats can hide items like a cell phone, and a cargo cover keeps larger objects out of sight. For fuel-economy minded drivers, a display rewards good behavior with a growing number of green leaves. The conclusion: maybe a little too raucous during in-town driving, but overall what most drivers will experience. The Z’s starting price of $19,345 makes it an every-man’s green car, and for now it’s the only sporty game in town.
Since it’ll be getting 10mpg less than a Prius, that might be the case, sacrifice range for a more zippy drive. Also don’t forget that the car also comes with the Eco Assist and Eco Score, allowing you to increase MPG even more. Cars have been with us for more than a century and up until recently, fossil fuels were the only known way to supply power to a car since Karl Benz’s first engine propelled a vehicle. What makes the parallel different from the series is the utilization of the electric engine to amplify the parallel hybrid when there is a need to boost the speed of the car.  If series hybrids are for city traffic, parallel hybrids are better fitted for open highways. This is the reason why a large percentage of young professionals are considering Honda Civic hybrids among others. While those numbers are good enough to place the CR-Z seventh on the EPA’s 2012 Hybrid Fuel Economy list, they are a long way from the Toyota Prius’s leading numbers of 51 city and 48 highway. Therefore, combined power ratings represent peak power delivery in real-world operating conditions and take into account the unique rpm when each peak occurs. They will be those willing to admit they don’t need everything in a single vehicle and use the CR-Z as a tool for getting around in style.
I wish that Honda would have provided with the estimated MPG of all 3 modes as it would help a lot. But again, the system works, and with maybe 50 miles out of the 132 total in the Normal mode, the little hatch scored 39.2 mpg. If a fully loaded CRZ is priced in the mid-20’s, I will purchase one and retire the ever-faithful minivan to weekend shopping trips and family vacations.

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