The CR-Z, which debuted as a 2011 model, is intended to be a sporty hybrid — both in appearance and driving experience. Powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that teams with an electric motor, the CR-Z is rated as high as 36/39 mpg city/highway by the EPA. Despite being a small two-seater, the CR-Z's fuel economy estimates don't measure up to those of Honda's Insight and Civic Hybrid. It competes with small, efficient cars like the Mini Cooper.
New for 2013
The 2013 CR-Z features new styling, including a new front end as well as a rear diffuser. The hybrid system now has a lithium-ion battery pack that provides greater voltage, which increases overall horsepower and torque. CR-Zs with the manual transmission get a larger clutch and lower final-drive ratio. There's also a new Plus Sport system, which is activated by a S+ button on the steering wheel. The system provides electric assist for up to five seconds when the battery's charge state is above 50 percent.
New standard features include Bluetooth phone connectivity and streaming audio and a backup camera. New optional features include Pandora and text messaging integration, two-tone seats and LED daytime running lights.
ExteriorThe CR-Z has a broad stance and wedgelike profile. Inspired by the CRX two-seater sold in 1990 and '91, the CR-Z shares that model's split liftgate window, an element that remains controversial in terms of style and driver visibility in the automaker's Insight and the Toyota Prius.
At 160.5 inches long, the CR-Z is a few inches longer than a Mazda MX-5 Miata and the extended version of the Mini Cooper, the Clubman. Exterior features include:
- Standard 16-inch alloy wheels; 17-inch alloys available
- Standard LED taillights; LED daytime running lights available
- Standard rear-window wiper
- Available high-intensity-discharge headlamps
- Available fog lights
- Available heated side mirrors
InteriorThe interior has a busy but effective design similar to that of the Insight, with cockpit-style driver-oriented controls and displays. Even the ventilation controls are on a pod near the driver; there's no conventional center control panel, and the optional navigation system is slightly on the passenger side of the dashboard.
Storage bins behind the seats are separated from the cargo area by a bulkhead that can be folded forward to extend the cargo hatch's floor — similar to a folding seat's backrest. A retractable cargo cover is standard. Interior features include:
- Power windows, locks and mirrors
- Manual-adjustable bucket seats; black and red two-tone seats available
- Tilt/telescoping steering wheel
- CD stereo with USB port, MP3 jack and Bluetooth connectivity with streaming audio
- Available premium stereo with subwoofer
- Available leather-wrapped steering wheel
Under the HoodLike other Honda hybrids, the CR-Z uses a relatively simple system that puts an electric motor in tandem with a gas engine, in this case a 1.5-liter four-cylinder. Though the engine shuts off when the car is stopped, it's always turning over when the car is in motion.
To suit the driver's needs, the CR-Z has Normal, Sport and Econ modes. Econ maximizes fuel economy, while Sport makes the acceleration more responsive and decreases the power-steering assist for a sportier feel. Mechanical features include:
- Gas engine and motor combine to produce 130 hp
- Standard six-speed manual transmission
- Optional continuously variable automatic transmission
SafetyStandard safety features include:
- Side-impact airbags
- Side curtain airbags
- Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes
- Electronic stability system with traction control
- Backup camera
- Active head restraints
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