2013 Honda CR-Z: More Power, Increased Efficiency

The CR-Z is Honda's attempt at blending sportiness and efficiency, but it does neither very well and sales of the hybrid are tanking. A 2013 update, however, adds more power, increased fuel efficiency and additional features; is it enough to hook buyers? 

The CR-Z's 1.5-liter four-cylinder returns for 2013 with assist from a new higher-voltage lithium-ion battery pack. Horsepower jumps to 130. Fuel economy is up, too. The 2013 CR-Z is EPA rated at 36/39/37 mpg (CVT) and 31/38/34 (six-speed manual); an increase of 1 mpg over last year's figures.

Base and EX trim levels return for 2013, and both get additional features. Newly standard across the lineup are a backup camera, Bluetooth hands-free audio and a Plus Sport system; the latter gives drivers an on-demand electric power boost via a steering-wheel-mounted "S+" button. Optional on uplevel EX versions is a Honda's satellite-linked navigation system, which includes real-time traffic, voice recognition, Pandora internet radio interface and SMS text messaging functionality.  

Two new exterior colors—Passion Berry Pearl and Polished Metal Metallic—along with some new interior trims and minor exterior styling tweaks round out the hybrid's updates.

The 2013 version starts at 20,765, including a $790 destination charge; $280 more than the 2012 model. Sales of the 2012 model are on a steep slide. So far this year, Honda has sold just 3,705 CR-Zs, down from 10,461 units sold during the first 10 months of 2011.

The updated CR-Z goes on sale Wednesday.

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