2011 Honda CR-Z Priced from $19,200

That’s usually the usual car manufacturer trickery – it’s before the destination charge. Including this non-negotiable fee, the 2011 CR-Z will actually start at $19,950. That’s still under the $20k target – though just barely.

On the entry level (No trim name, which is odd for Honda) equipped with the 6 speed manual, the CR-Z manages 31 MPG city / 37 MPG highway for a combined 34 MPG. Very good, to be sure, but not exactly setting the world on fire.

If you pony up the extra bucks for a CVT instead of the manual, your fuel economy will increase to 35 MPG city / 39 MPG highway / 37 MPG combined.

By now you’re all familiar with the CR-Z specs – or at least you should be. Just in case you’re not, there’s a 122 HP 1.5 liter four banger under the hood, which makes a max 128 lb-ft of torque. Those power ratings do include the electric motor, of course.

Missing the Target, Again
I look at the CR-Z, and i can’t help but think of the Insight. That’s somewhat obvious, since they share quite a few design cues. It goes deeper than that, though. With the Insight, Honda had a chance to one-up Toyota. The Insight is smaller and lighter than the Prius, and Honda could have made sure it was more efficient. Instead, it doesn’t even measure up to it’s big brother, the Civic Hybrid. Couple that with a barely-less-than-Prius MSRP, and there aren’t a whole lot of buyers.

Looking at the 2011 CR-Z, it’s deja-vu. Starting price is ever so slightly lower than Honda’s own Insight – not enough to overcome the CR-Z’s shortcomings. There’s the fuel economy issue – it’s good for a car, but not even remotely impressive for a compact, two seater hybrid. Oh yea, and it’s a two seater. As in there’s no back seat.

For many, lack of a back seat is an absolute deal breaker. For a few hundred extra bucks, you could step up to the four-door, 5 seat Insight. On top of the extra seats, the Insight is more efficient.

All I can say is this: The CR-Z had better be damned fun to drive. If not, what’s the point?

Published on June 24, 2010 in Honda

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