2011-2016 Honda CR-Z | Used vehicle spotlight

The Honda CRX from the 80s and early 90s was undeniably rad. It was a sporty little compact, two-seat hatchback that deservedly earned a cult following amongst fans drawn to its cute seems and perky disposition. Nostalgia for the CRX (which additionally glided by CR-X) remained excessive as examples in good condition had been nonetheless accessible within the late aughts, simply when individuals had been fearing that automobiles just like the Toyota Prius had been going to suck the enjoyable out of driving for good . Then Honda reached again into its historical past and pulled out its design notes from the CRX, threw in its learnings from the first-generation Perception, and stirred them collectively to get the 2011 Honda CR-Z — a two-seat hybrid hatchback that was provided with a guide transmission.

Why the CR-Z?

It is environment friendly(-ish), bizarre and, most of all, enjoyable to drive. We have already highlighted that it got here with an accessible guide transmission, however we’ve not stated simply how good that stick is to make use of. The CR-Z launched within the period when Honda (and, by extension, Acura) had completely nailed that a part of the driving expertise. The stick itself feels fantastic because it strikes from one place to the following with a brief, gentle however tactile toss. Mixed with a easy, easy-to-operate clutch, this setup is extremely partaking, encouraging you to overlook about gas financial system (31 metropolis / 37 freeway for the MT) and take advantage of out of the CR-Z’s 122-130 horsepower and 127-140 pound-feet of torque (relying on mannequin 12 months and transmission).

If these output figures look laughably small, don’t be concerned an excessive amount of about it. No, it is not a very fast automobile, doing 0-60 someplace between 8 and 9 seconds, relying on who’s doing the testing. Nevertheless it does not need to be quick to be enjoyable, and what it lacks in accelerative potential it makes up for with glorious dealing with. This little hybrid was nice to toss by corners, however had a little bit extra suspension compliance on tough roads than its modern Mini Cooper counterpart.

It’s also a automobile that lends itself to customization, whether or not that is one thing like Recaro seats, aftermarket wheels or suspension, or perhaps a supercharger from the Honda Efficiency Improvement catalog. Sure, the manual-equipped hybrid may (and nonetheless can) be supercharged, giving it a complete of 197 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque in the event you go the Honda-sourced route.

Lastly, we just like the CR-Z as a result of it is bizarre and comparatively scarce. It got here alongside at a time when two-seaters and three-door hatchbacks had been declining in recognition, they usually’ve solely continued to take action. Honda solely bought about 35,000 models over the course of the mannequin’s manufacturing run. We extremely doubt its nostalgic furor will ever attain the standing of the CRX, however it’ll at all times definitely elicit a smile and fond recollections on the uncommon events we spot one within the wild.

Which CR-Z to decide on?

Clearly, get one with a guide transmission. That is one in all this automobile’s greatest attracts. The stick shift is simply that good, and 122 hp appears like simply that or worse if you’re caught with a repeatedly variable transmission. In the event you’re involved about energy, get a 2013 mannequin or later, as that is when the manual-equipped CR-Z’s output jumped from 122 hp/128 lb-ft as much as 130 hp/140 lb-ft due to an up to date hybrid system , full with a brand new lithium-ion battery. 2013 additionally noticed the addition of Bluetooth, backup digital camera, an S+ push-to-pass button and a few exterior design tweaks.

That is actually the one selection (apart from shade and mileage) to make, because it got here in two trims: EX or EX w/Navi, with the 2016 mannequin being the exception. The final 12 months of the CR-Z noticed a fair rarer EX-L trim (which added heated leather-based seating) in addition to a stripped-down LX trim.

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What else to think about?

The Honda CR-Z got here alongside in an fascinating time within the automotive business. Tiny hatchbacks and wagons had been nonetheless a factor — declining in recognition as crossover mania took maintain, however nonetheless arguably viable. Hybrids had been beginning to make some headway, due to automobiles just like the Toyota Prius and Honda’s personal Perception. As such, the Lexus CT 200h looks as if a tremendous contender to the CR-Z. It does not have that very same nostalgic attraction because the CRX-infused Honda, but it surely was charismatic, and remains to be a deal with to see when noticed within the wild. It bought concurrently with the CR-Z right here in the USA, however appealed extra to luxurious patrons who could not abide the dullness of the Prius than it did to fans on the lookout for low cost thrills. Lexus bought significantly extra CTs right here than Honda did CR-Zs, however, so far as pricing displays, its luxurious positioning greater than cancels out the truth that it is much less uncommon than the Honda. Additionally, with the Lexus, you are caught with a CVT it doesn’t matter what, however you get a greater mpg ranking (43 metropolis / 40 freeway) in addition to a second row of seating and two extra doorways.

In the event you like a plucky little hatchback that performs nicely on the autocross course, you can additionally take into account the Mini Cooper. Used Mini costs are akin to the CR-Z, and guide transmissions are considerable. It isn’t as uncommon, however a Cooper nonetheless feels novel each time you get in a single. You do not even lose a lot in the best way of gas financial system in comparison with the CR-Z — only a couple metropolis mpg, actually.

Lastly, there’s the first-generation Hyundai Veloster. It isn’t a hybrid, however, just like the Mini, is nearly as environment friendly on paper (although the Honda was usually in a position to beat its EPA scores in real-world driving). Whereas the CR-Z has the higher guide transmission, the Veloster’s longer wheelbase makes it a greater companion when you get off the floor streets and onto the freeway. It has a second row, and an additional half-door on the passenger aspect to assist entry it with out making a driver or entrance passenger get out. On the time, the Veloster appeared like an virtually equally odd duck in comparison with the Honda, but it surely grew to become rather more profitable, making it really feel nearer to mainstream by the point manufacturing ended. And, fortunately, Hyundai noticed sufficient recognition to revive the nameplate for 2020.

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