By Cars.com EditorsSeptember 22, 2010
About the video
Cars.com's Joe Wiesenfelder takes a look at the 2011 Honda CR-Z.
<v Announcer>Cars.com auto reviews. Hi, I'm Joe Wiesenfelder with cars.com. This is a 2011 Honda CRZ. It's a new, small two seater. It's sporty looking. It's affordable, kind of, and technically it's a hybrid. Let's take a look inside.
This is the EX trim level. It's the higher trim level. I have to say, I really like the interior quality, especially for a relatively affordable car. Honda's had an issue recently with having too many different textures and inconsistency in the quality. Here, it's nice and consistent, really brilliant, bright gauges, which show you what driving mode you're in and such, really nice. And some of the materials are also pretty cool. You've got a really reflective silver stuff here and on the door handles. Instead of some of that cheap looking plastic. I also really liked the seat fabric here. It's kind of a mesh. Fabric has come a long way in cars. One thing I'm not so wild about is it's also on the armrest on the door armrest. It's a little bit rough for that location. Now people tend to think two seaters have to be cramped, actually not true because there are only two seats, they give you plenty of room. I'm six feet tall. I'm pretty comfortable. The seats themselves also quite comfortable, an appropriate amount of side bolstering. I find one big shortcoming, no center armrest, unacceptable in any car. Now the CRZ is the first hybrid in about five, six years, to have a manual transmission, which is good, if you want the sporty driving experience. Let's take a look at the cargo situation. Now there's some cargo area here behind the seats. Couple bins, good at containing groceries and the like. Now what I consider one of the biggest liabilities of the CRZ involves the design back here. Now it looks familiar, maybe like the Insight or the Toyota Prius, where there are two windows kind of bisected here in the middle. It's not just about the look, you might like that, it's about visibility. Now, one upside here is that this cross member is a little bit higher and it didn't block my vision as much as it has in some other cars. But unfortunately this over here, obviously a big problem. I was able to adjust to it for normal driving, but for parking spaces like backing out, forget about it. The cargo area is quite usable. This one has the shade covering it. Now you can flip this partition forward. It gives you more room. The cargo volume is about 25 cubic feet, which is about twice what you'll get in the average compact sedan. So the car costs only slightly less than the Insight, which has five seats. This has two and with a CVT transmission, it costs a little bit more than the Insight. So costing roughly the same as the more efficient, larger vehicle. You're kind of givin' some stuff up. If you're doing that in exchange for great performance, that's one thing, but it's really not that quick. As far as being a hybrid, it's less efficient than the Insight. I just kind of think that doesn't live up to hybrid buyer expectations. They might've been better off just marketing it as a small, relatively efficient, fun car without that badge on it. <v Announcer>For more car related news, go to cars.com or our blog KickingTires.net.