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CAR OF THE MONTH JANUARY 2011

2011 Honda CR-Z Review

 

Cool Hybrid Coupe

A three-quarter rear view of a red 2011 Honda CR-Z

In short: A sporty and affordable hybrid coupe.

As the first automaker to release a hybrid vehicle in North America in the waning days of the 20th century, and a current leader in the clean car movement, Honda has some experience with electric-drive technology to say the least; however, with the all-new CR-Z, the eco-friendly Japanese badge once again finds itself charting unknown territory. Touted by Honda as providing "Green Performance for a New Generation," the sporty two-seater coupe is one of few truly driver-focused hybrids on the market, and the first to offer manual transmission for more complete drivetrain control.

The interior of the 2011 Honda CR-Z

The 1.5-liter hybrid inline 4-cylinder engine of the 2011 Honda CR-Z

Inspired by Honda's iconic CRX coupe and borrowing heavily from the latest iteration of the Insight hybrid, the CR-Z occupies a middle ground between performance-oriented fun and eco-friendly frugality — and holds its trajectory steadily with its low-slung body and aggressively wide stance. Powered by a peppy 1.5-liter inline-4 along with Honda's Integrated Motor Assist electric unit for a combined output of 122 horsepower, the CR-Z provides ample acceleration while still achieving an estimated aggregate fuel economy of 34 mpg. Buyers who opt for the available CVT will get an additional boost of 3 mpg. Driving dynamics and fuel efficiency can be further manipulated through Honda's 3-mode hybrid drive system that allows drivers to choose between three distinct powertrain settings — Sport, Normal and Econ. While Econ mode minimizes fuel consumption by tuning the engine for decreased energy usage, Sport mode, which enhances multiple vehicle systems for optimal performance, is perfect for throwing caution (and fuel savings) to the wind during late-night joyrides.

Inside the cabin, the CR-Z's emphasis on enhanced operational control is continued with a tricked-out cockpit that allows the driver to monitor performance and efficiency. Intuitive tools such as Eco Assist and Eco Scoring provide information on fuel consumption and even offer suggestions on how to improve economy, resulting in a ride that is tailor fit to the driver's demands and eco-outlook. Stepping up to the EV edition brings additional driver- and passenger-friendly features such as a 360-watt high-powered audio system, Bluetooth hands-free communication and an available satellite-linked navigation system for a high-tech experience at a still-low price. While the two-passenger seating arrangement and limited space of the Honda CR-Z won't work for everyone's lifestyle, this cool hybrid coupe is sure to find plenty of fans among tree-hugging twenty-somethings and budget-minded motor enthusiasts.

A three-quarter rear view of red 2011 Honda CR-Z

Warranty/Service: 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty; 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty; 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranty; 3-year/36,000-mile accessory warranty


QUICK SHEET
Base Price: $19,200

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, front-wheel drive, 4-passenger, 2-door hybrid coupe

Engine:
1.5-liter hybrid inline 4-cylinder engine
Horsepower: 122 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 122 lb-ft @ 1,000-1,750 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual transmission

Curb weight:
2,637 lbs
Wheelbase: 95.9 in
Length/Width/Height: 160.6/68.5/54.9 in
Turning circle: 35.4 ft

Brakes:
ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist

Suspension: MacPherson strut front; torsion beam rear; stabilizer bars
Traction:
vehicle stability assist with traction control

EPA City:
31 mpg
EPA Highway: 37 mpg

Safety:
dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; front side airbags with passenger-side occupant detection system; side curtain airbags

 

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Photography: Honda

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