• Jan 19, 2010
Click above to view the video after the jump

Take a look at the specs and it's easy to dismiss the 2011 Honda CR-Z out of hand. Despite its hybrid drivetrain, the 1.5-liter four coupled with its electric motor churns out a lackluster 122 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque and only nets a combined 37 mpg. That's far from enough to set enthusiasts hearts aflutter or goad hypermilers out of their Prius and into what's essentially Insight 2.0 (ignoring Honda's four-door Toyota-fighter for the moment).

The only (cold) consolation for enthusiasts desperate for a CRX redux is a six-speed manual taking the place of the optional CVT. And we've yet to get an official curb weight for the NA-spec model. So...

What was Honda's mindset when it created the CR-Z? If you can believe the marketing frippery in the video after the jump, it's all about "fun-to-drive." According to Terukazu Torikai, the chief engineer for chassis dynamics on the CR-Z, Honda benchmarked several vehicles during the development of its new hatch, and not only was Mini mentioned a few times, Honda drove everything from the Volkswagen Scirocco to the Lotus Elise. Torikai goes on to say that "the performance of the Elise kept on inspiring us throughout the whole development process." That bodes well from both a handling and steering perspective, but we remain lukewarm on the prospects until we finally get a stint behind the wheel.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Fellas, c'mon now.
      They meant to say Lotus generation ELAN, not Elise.
      Remember that fwd gem?
      • 4 Years Ago
      One thing the clueless CRZ supporters (we have a couple) seem to miss when they claim performance is similar to the original CRX , is that was more than TWENTY years ago. Yet the CRX SI (the one people loved) beats the new CR-Z despite being from more than 2 decades in the past. Are supporters going to compare it to a Model T next? Even so, the original CRX was faster.

      Power to weight vs the original CRX-SI

      CR-Z 2670lbs/122HP = 21.9 lbs/hp
      CRX 1985lbs/108HP = 18.4 lbs/hp (significantly better).

      The CR-Z is far behind it's two decade old ancestor while the rest of the world moved on.

      So consider the performance against the benchmark of its time. The new CRZ has become slower than it's ancestor, yet exists in a time when everything else is much faster. The CRX was faster than much of the cars sold in it's day. The CRZ appears to be slower than everything sold now.

      In the CRX's day 8.5 Seconds to 60 was FAST!. SUVs were taking 15 seconds to get there. Today 8.5 seconds is average for an SUV to hit 60.

      The power to weight of the CR-Z is far behind just about everything else on the market, SUVs, econoboxes. There probably isn't much else slower on the road except for the Smart Fortwo.

      This is not a spiritual successor to the CRX which was very quick in it's day, it is just too damn slow to be in that category.

      Times have changed, the original CRX was actually among the quicker cars on the road, the new CRZ is among the slowest. Cars don't have to get to 60 in under 5 seconds to be sporty, but the shouldn't be slower than minivans/suvs/econoboxes, in short slower than everything. That is just hopeless.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not sure why some people are trying so hard to convince others that this is not a good car. Thanks for looking out for us, though.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm still trying to figure out why the MPG's are so horrible on a car that's lighter than a Prius and has less hp. Maybe Honda's IMA system sucks?

      How could a project manager sign off on a hybrid project of a two door hybrid that gets almost the same gas mileage as the company's 4 door 4 cylinder Fit? What's the whole point of this car?

        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, the system is an absolute joke.
        It's more of a joke in the CR-Z because the motor is downsized significantly from the Insight's.

        In fact, they have actually called it a 'mild hybrid' more than once, yet they market it like it's the greenest thing on the planet.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is going to be an Epic Fail in all proportions and no matter how much BS Honda wants to tell people that it was inspired by Lotus...Im pretty sure when the reviews and comparisons start coming out there is one question that's going to be asked the most..What was Honda smoking?

      This car won't be sporty it's "FWD Hybrid", won't be efficient, it's a poser caring the CR-Z moniker, expensive and last but not least impractical at the only available seating for 2...

      • 4 Years Ago
      Anyone consider they are not releasing the fast one yet because they want to get attn for the hybrid first? If they put a Civic Si engine in this it will be a quick fun little car. The interior is fantastic and with the right size wheels and color it is an attractive car.
      I will certainly go drive one when it comes out and will hope for an Si.
        • 4 Years Ago

        drop the 200hp civic engine in it and theres your fun to drive car!

        I'm still reserving my opinion untill I drive this car...or atleast untill some reviews come out. I heard its 2700 lbs? and still havent heard a price? The old CRX's were fun to drive and they only had 60-108hp at a little under 2000 lbs. ...we will see
      • 4 Years Ago

      Well, given that the Fit Sport is surprisingly fun to drive, and that I don't mean a blast to launch from a dead stop... With the manual, it might be fun to drive if the dynamics are right, and if you keep it revving in the right power band... Who knows. I'll be holding my breath slightly, until the first drive reports start coming in... :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Still has a Torsion beam rear suspension.

        I will most likely be putting my money on a new Ford Focus. 150 HP Direct Injection engine, Independent Rear Suspension, rear seats, more room, more performance, and NO boat anchor hybrid system.
        • 4 Years Ago
        neptronix, how many times can you post your opinion under one headline of a car you dislike? At least get your facts right.

        A) The CR-Z's real-world 0-60 time is not known.
        B) The MT car is 180lbs more than the lightest Fit MT and the AT car is 150lbs more than the lightest Fit AT. Compared to a Fit Sport, it's 150lbs and 120lbs respectively. The latter is a 4-6% increase in weight - (while gaining a 21% increase in torque).
        C) The motor is not "significantly downsized" from the Insight - it is the exact same IMA. Nor has Honda ever called it a "mild hybrid."
        • 4 Years Ago
        Bite your tongue. The Dreamcast edition of Soul Calibur set the standard for years to come.

        This Honda will have none of that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's a second slower than the fit from 0-60, so i don't know how it could be a better drive.
        It's also 200-300lb heavier. I don't care how good the dynamics are, if it's difficult to keep up with traffic or drive up hills with 2 people, i say the car is crap..

        The CR-Z is kind of like the dreamcast. It was exciting for a short period of time because it was a glimpse of the future. Then the playstation 2 came out next year and people forgot about it. That's what the CR-Z is; a very half-baked econo-sport car, lacking modern technology that's on the horizon, but slightly better than what's out there now. The uninformed will buy it, then facepalm themselves next year if they see what's coming out..

        I too am excited to see what the new Ford Focus will be like, and the next-gen MINI cars with start/stop. The turbo 1.4 Cruze is curious too. I've rooted for the Japanese auto makers for a long time, but the tides are turning.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe they should change the "Z" to a "Y"?

      Get it?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Or maybe CR-ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.......
      • 4 Years Ago
      If you want to sell these:
      - Drop the hybrid crap
      - Drop the weight
      - Drop the price
      - Put in a 6-speed K20
      - Profit

      Until then, I'll stick with my 1.8 DOHC VTEC 1990 CRX Si
      • 4 Years Ago
      I guess he spent so much time on the chassis he completely forgot about the power train. For some strange reason, he also failed to notice that the Lotus not only handles well but it is bit faster than 0-62 in 9.7 seconds. Maybe Honda should drop all references to Lotus as all it does is highlight the deficiencies in the CR-Z's performance (or lack thereof).

      As It appears Honda is stubbornly sticking to a hybrid CR-Z despite the fact that all it does is add dead weight with very little benefit--I guess the only hope for anyone expecting any performance at all from Honda will be to wait and see if they actually make meaninful improvements (much faster and lighter)to the next generation Civic Si

      Of course if the CR-Z is any indication of the direction Honda is moving in--the new Si will probaly be an overweight, slow, "green" car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      HONDA has officially said a big screw you to the enthusiast market with the new Hybrid Cr-Z. It just boils me that they can be so pig headed and ignore the people that helped make their company such a house hold name.

      I personally do not mind the look of the car, but come on 122 hp and 128 lb of torque?!? At a very minimum this car should be putting out atleast 150 hp and should still be pulling similar MPG. I am actually really saddened by this car, I had hoped that there would be a nice place next to the Long in the tooth current Gen Si and Honda would introduce something fresh and exciting, so far nothing.

      I get the impression that Honda was trying to relive its youth by taking the road less traveled and trying to gamble on the next trend. Kinda like someone trying to predict the next new trend in fashion or a dance craze and it just doesn't work out for them.

      In a little way my heart is broken buy the fact that Honda just doesn't care for the consumer as much as they once did, Truly sad.

      I will hold out for the new Ft-86. If Toyota keeps up the way I believe they are traveling I think we can expect a hit. I personally think at that point Honda Sales will have tumbled so much they will immediately make some changes.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If the IMA system really improves low end power of Honda engine, I don't care about the "low" MPG or even being the same as a non-hybrid.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh well, i bet honda's designers are similarly disappointed when looking at the productions version. After releasing the concept version, designer's job was actually done and engineers came in, Therefore the reason of the growth of cr-z's nose is propably an increase in crash safety to achieve 5 stars crash test rating. Like it or not, but for many buyers its more importan than aesthetics...
      And yeah, i'm disappointed, but i still think it can drive quite well...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ya, all the differences from design to implementation are unfortunate but entirely explainable. The nose came out for crash safety (both passenger and pedestrian), the tail squared off for more cargo space and the roof came up for more cabin room. It's just sad that they never thought of that the first time round. Getting all our hopes up like they did.
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