CARS.COM — Honda has pulled the plug on its sporty, two-seat CR-Z hybrid. Few are likely to notice — sales of the 2016 CR-Z this year were a mere 1,205 through June, according to Autodata Corp., hardly a rounding error for Honda’s Civic sales. And that total was down 6.7 percent from last year.
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But unlike other hybrids, whose sales are down about 20% so far this year, the CR-Z’s decline can’t really be blamed on lower gas prices or the market shift away from small cars. Its problems were of its own making. It was introduced at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit with much buzz over its wedge look and starting price of about $20,000. It helped that it bore a loose family resemblance to the fondly remembered, tuner-favorite Honda CR-X two-seater from the 1980s. The CR-Z was going to show consumers that hybrids could be fun.
But while it could be fun to drive, particularly the stick model in Sport mode, its powertrain’s meager performance, with 130 horsepower in combined output, did not live up to the sporty look and heritage. Meanwhile, its fuel economy wasn’t hybrid-impressive. Even at its intro, it lagged the Prius and that margin has only widened as the Prius improved. Now it lags a lot of non-hybrids, even in the Honda showroom. The stick CR-Z has an EPA rating of 31/38/34 mpg city/highway/combined; the CR-Z with a CVT gets 36/39/37. The more practical and still sporty 2016 Honda Civic coupe is rated 31/41/35.
In its place, Honda plans to make more hybrids of mainstream models. In announcing the changes, it said in a statement: “As Honda aligns its product portfolio to best take advantage of growth opportunities in the marketplace, it will add a new Accord Hybrid, and discontinue CR-Z this year. Honda plans to significantly expand its sales of electrified vehicles with the addition of new volume models.”