Honda substantially refreshed the CR-Z for 2013, so there are minimal changes for the 2014 Honda CR-Z models...more
Unique is an overused word to describe automobiles, but it applies to the Honda CR-Z, a two-seat hybrid with a standard manual transmission. While the CR-Z has been called a successor to the 1980s two-seat CRX, it's really not. Truly, the CR-Z fills a niche that is occupied by no other car on the market.
The 2014 Honda CR-Z is engaging to drive. It's tossable, tight, and agile. The hybrid powertrain produces 130 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque from a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. The six-speed manual is the basic transmission and the likely choice for enthusiasts, who can use it to wring maximum enjoyment out of this diminutive car. A CVT is also available (output drops to 127-lb-ft with it). The electric motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, which replaced the old nickel-metal hydride unit for the 2013 model year. The electric motor helps performance by increasing acceleration, and it works as a generator during coasting and braking to capture kinetic energy, which improves fuel economy.
The 2014 Honda CR-Z can be driven in three modes: Sport, Normal, and Eco. Sport produces the most noticeable changes, including quickening the throttle response. Honda added a cool feature for 2013 -- the last significant refresh of the CR-Z -- called Plus Sport, with which the driver gets a five-second boost from the electric motor during acceleration by pushing a button on the steering wheel. A light flashes on the dashboard when the feature is available, and the battery must be more than 50-percent charged with the car traveling at least 19 mph. It's like a poor man's push to pass. It's available in any of the normal driving modes, although it has the most impact in Sport mode.
Even before its mid-cycle 2013 refresh, we liked the CR-Z's dynamics, saying that "The short-throw shifter is typically Honda in its delightful weight and precision, and the clutch pedal's takeup is smooth and linear. In fact, once you're driving the CR-Z, you could easily forget it's a hybrid."
Although you may forget it's a hybrid, the 2014 Honda CR-Z has significant hybrid capabilities, getting 36 mpg in city driving and 39 mpg on the highway with the CVT. Models with the manual transmission earn 31/38 mpg city/highway ratings.
Last year the front fascia was revised and the CR-Z got new sixteen-inch alloy wheels, updated interior trim, a new rear diffuser, and available LED running lights. The car also received more standard equipment, including Bluetooth and a rearview camera. The new hybrid batteries and Plus Sport system enhance the driving experience, and the 2013 update resulted in more power and better fuel-economy ratings.
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