Open the door on a base model Honda CR-Z and you'll notice something interesting in the footwell: three pedals. The CR-Z is the only hybrid car sold with an available manual transmission. Hybrids are generally not revered for their handling prowess or sporting pretensions, but Honda set out to make the CR-Z a car that has those attributes. The CR-Z is not particularly powerful, with a combined 135 horses produced by the hybrid powertrain, but it handles well and it's actually fun to wring out on back roads. The CR-Z also delivers good fuel economy: a combined 37 mpg with the optional continuously variable transmission. The CR-Z comes with three selectable drive modes to tune the car for performance, economy, or a happy middle ground. The CR-Z is somewhat compromised by its two-seat packaging and poor rearward visibility, but it is still one of the most-fuel-efficient cars on the market. New competitors such as the funky Hyundai Veloster offer many of the same attributes as the CR-Z, including similar two-person seating, coupelike styling, and very good fuel economy, but the CR-Z should appeal to drivers who are looking for good, clean fun at a reasonable price.
Trim Levels: CR-Z, EX
Body style: Coupe, 2-passenger
Engine: 1.5L I-4/electric hybrid, 122 hp, 123/128 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, continuously variable
Passenger volume: 49.1 cu ft
Cargo Space: N/A
The CR-Z carries everything over from last year but adds black seat fabric as an option for owners who order crystal black pearl exterior paint.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are antilock brakes, stability and traction control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
EPA Fuel Economy
All: 31-35 mpg city/37-39 mpg highway
- Fun to drive
Only manual-transmission hybrid
Good fuel economy
You Won't Like
- Not a true CRX successor
Poor rearward visibility
Who says hybrids can't be fun?
If You Like This Vehicle
- Hyundai Veloster