Feature

New cars: 2011 Honda CR-Z

What the critics say about the $19,950 Honda CR-Z

MotorWeek
Most gas-electric hybrids are “as fun to drive as an ox cart.” Fortunately, “Honda is out to change that with their new CR-Z.” Compact and lightweight, with a 13-hp electric motor that’s used mainly to assist the 113-hp gas engine, it delivers zippy performance and a frugal 39 mpg on the highway. Stability and traction control are standard features, and “it all comes together with precision.”

Automobile
The CR-Z is an amalgam of sorts, sharing the 1.5-liter engine from the Fit and the hybrid drivetrain from the Insight, while borrowing design cues from Honda’s earlier CRX sportster. Inside, headroom is generous, but the interior can best be described as “futuristic busy.” Though the combined gas-electric power output is only 122 hp, “the CR-Z is lively—and especially so with the manual transmission.”

Car and Driver
This two-seater is “good, but not great.” True, with the six-speed manual, “the CR-Z delivers perhaps the most transparent hybrid experience available today.” But choosing the automatic CVT transmission means forfeiting “any sense of joy.” Because the electric motor runs on its own only when the car is accelerating from a full stop, the fuel economy, too, “isn’t as stellar as you’d expect.” With sportier subcompacts available, “we admit to wondering who’s going to buy this car.”

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