• Mar 8, 2010
2011 Honda CR-Z – Click above for high-res image gallery

Norio Tomobe, chief engineer of the Honda CR-Z, said "The CR-Z is supposed to be an intelligent sports car." We can spend a fair bit of time debating the 'intelligence' of a sports coupe that gets from 0-to-60 in 9.7 seconds and has just two seats but gets worse gas mileage than a Toyota Prius. However, we won't really be able to decide on the issue until we drive it, and that is apparently what it takes to feel the love for it.

According to Automotive News, back when the CR-Z was being designed to house a traditional gasoline-only drivetrain, Tomobe said he and his team dug deep to come up with a new idea for the car, which ended up being a hybrid drivetrain and a six-speed transmission. But that wasn't until after they had tried to kill the project. Twice. And that didn't stop the president of American Honda Motor from repeatedly telling Japan the U.S. didn't need or want a sporty hybrid, which he thought would confuse customers. Until he drove it, and then all was go.

The hybrid's compromises remain a subject on everyone's minds. Tomobe wants more horsepower, and rumors began a month ago about a Type-R iteration. Even though Tomobe claims "We are not pursuing absolute maximum speed," we can't help but wonder if this first version of Honda's 122-horsepower future satisfies his own aspiration that "What we aim for is a car that is exhilarating to drive."



Photos by Drew Phillips
/ Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req'd.]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 101 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Curse you lack of edit...
      Honda should have just brought that concept over from New Delhi...
      http://www.autoblog.com/2010/01/05/auto-expo-2010-honda-new-small-concept-unveiled-at-new-delhi-sh/
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am not going to defend the car, as it mostly comes down to personal taste. (I don't think it looks horrible.. but I also like the Juke and a few others that most on this site dislike.)

      However, the fit doesn't get the same fuel economy. I can't argue that the extra $7k is worth the increase in fuel mileage, but the Fit is rated 27/34 (something like that), this is rated 38/36. Another note mentioning is since the whole civic hybrid thing, i think honda is very reserved about the mpg claims. The Insight is rated at 40mpg combined, but on fueleconomy.gov, most people (claim) an average of 50mpg.

      If I had to choose between this and the fit... i'd choose the fit, since the cost is lower and it has a backseat (i don't mind 2 doors.. but only 2 seats.. that would really cause some issues). Not to mention it's a little quicker and apparently fun to drive. My only issue is that the Canadian fit is lacking a lot of the options available in the US (ESP, stability, Nav etc..) which kinda torques me, but ahwell.

      Shame though, guess i'll have to hope for a ecoboost Fiesta/Focus, or hope that Nissan actually brings over that little 1.6 turbo.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I just don't see this selling well, at all.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wife saw pictures of it and said 'I want one' I agree, good looking small car. If its fun to drive, economical and well priced I'd be all over buying one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ManCard revoked!
      • 4 Years Ago
      It would have to be the best drive of my life to make that thing look appealing. Hatefully ugly.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree. The rear reminds me too much of the Crosstour, but the worst view is in profile. The car has an almost comically long snout-- there's just way too much car ahead of the front wheels to make this thing even tolerable to look at. Honda is touting the CR-Z as a CR-X reborn for this decade, but that car was attractive and simple. This one is ugly and complex. I'd MUCH prefer a Honda Fit.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This car might have been okay in 1998.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pull the engine and drop in the S2000 engine. Slap on a Type-S. Or drop another couple hundred pounds in dead weight. Type-R! Instant winner winner chicken dinner! At least then it will be sporty (but still ugly, thus staying true to the original CRX)
        • 4 Years Ago
        why bother? why not just import the type r from europe?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Honda has chosen to go a direction that faithful owners aren't going to follow...at least this faithful owner isn't(!). I have a gen-5 Prelude that I love and nothing - NOTHING - Honda offers currently even interests me anymore. And if Honda thinks that we who drive tricked-out Preludes, S2000s, Civics, et al, are going to fall in love with the CR-Z, they are CR-a-Z-y(!)
      • 4 Years Ago
      More and more I see this - I'm loving my 09 Fit even moreso

      bet honda doesn't want 2 hear this.

      • 4 Years Ago
      please this is just bad

      used to be 10.1 for 0-60 now at 9.8? that's all they coudl do over 20 years of technology innovation adn improvements?

      and 31mpg with the stick? hell some midsize sedans are getting 27mpg in the city with the stick

      this is almost what I would ahve expected about 7 years ago, now it makes no sense to me at all.

      doesn't the Civic itself get somethign like 30+mpg adn is quicker and has two more dors adn is larger than that era's Accord?

      again this makes no sense and they should just have killed it
      • 4 Years Ago
      I owned a first gen Miata. Which is about as fast as this. But that car was a 1991 model !!

      This is almost twenty years later. Times have changed.

      Econoboxes are faster than this. Minivans are faster than this. Big SUVs are faster than this.

      In short slow POS cars twenty years ago that the original CRX would have dusted are now much faster, but this isn't.

      This car seems designed by "rip van winkle" who was looking at a target 20 years in the past.

      Maybe this will work in Europe where there are plenty of other slow cars, but in North America this will be one of the slowest cars on the road.

      A "sporty" car this slow today is a laughingstock.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "It seems every defense of the car is based on comparing to the performance of 20-30 year old cars.

        Yep that was well and good two or three decades ago. Times have changed.

        This car, at this time, on this continent, is a bag of fail."


        The age of the car is irrelevant. If you're familiar with the capabilities of a small car with a relatively low power output and 0-60 times of 10 seconds and higher, then you'll know that this Honda will have no problems in normal, everyday, motorway traffic. But Americans only think in terms of straight lines and engineer their cars as such - which is why you'd soon come to grief trying to throw a Mustang around a few tight country lanes. As for the 0-60 times - most daily American driving is slower than in Europe, on motorways and especially so in urban areas - so the points being made here attacking this Honda are at best, moot ones.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Snowdog - so you're off the whole "slow cars in Europe" rubbish now since you have no experience to back up what you were attempting to argue?

        I'm curious as to when people might start using their brains behind this one. It's an oddball, certainly, but no more so than the original Insight which is probably the car's true spiritual predecessor. As for the similar name, the US market didn't maintain the former CR-X name throughout its product lifespan, opting for the JDM-market "Del Sol" nomenclature for the third-generation model. So why people are getting their knickers in a twist comparing this to a twenty-year old model - to follow your logic - is baffling. As for its sporting pretentions, it won't light a drag strip but depending on how good the chassis is, it should be fun to chuck about on twisty back roads. If the car ultimately gets a wider variety of power units, its appeal will invariably grow.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I mean europe where they sell tons of cars with smaller engines we never see like 1.4L in econoboxes. And 4 cylinders in full size sedans. There will be many cars slower than a CRZ there.

        • 4 Years Ago
        It seems every defense of the car is based on comparing to the performance of 20-30 year old cars.

        Yep that was well and good two or three decades ago. Times have changed.

        This car, at this time, on this continent, is a bag of fail.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "I was simply going to point out this being one of the slowest cars on the road and a joke of a sports car. But that invariably brings in someone from Europe pointing out that they are a great many slower cars. I was trying to avoid that argument by noting it."


        In America, as long as a car accelerates quickly in a straight line, it's a sports car. Nobody really cares about advanced chassis dynamics or handling capabilities. The continued barn-door engineering of the Mustang are living proof of this philosophy.

        Elsewhere in the world though where drag strips are less common, handling is extremely important. If the CRZ handles well, it'll but a fun, economical little two-seater essentially in a niche of its own. However, it'll need a variety of powerplants - including more powerful options - to broaden its appeal.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I didn't say anywhere that it would have trouble keeping up with the normal flow of traffic. You are putting words in my mouth.

        I said:

        "A "sporty" car this slow today is a laughingstock."

        And it is. Today it is slower than econoboxes, slower than minivans and SUVs.

        It utterly and completely fails at it's sporty pretensions. It needs to be comparable to sporty cars of THIS decade, cars like the 2010 MX-5, 2010 VW GTI, 2010 Genesis coupe.

        All of these appear to be in the CRZ price range and are about 3 seconds faster to 60 which is a huge amount, they completely embarrass the CRZ performance wise.

        Complete bag of fail.

        • 4 Years Ago
        "Maybe this will work in Europe where there are plenty of other slow cars, but in North America this will be one of the slowest cars on the road."

        You mean in Europe which generally has far faster freeways than in the US?
        • 4 Years Ago
        "In America, as long as a car accelerates quickly in a straight line, it's a sports car. "

        You are confusing necessary with sufficient. SUVs and Minivans will blow the doors of a CRZ, that doesn't make them sports cars.

        But if something is going to pretend to be a sporty car it should at least keep up with the average minivan. This doesn't.

        If you go from dropping the kids of in your minivan to a ride in your "sporty" CRZ, the CRZ shouldn't be the one that accelerates like a slug in that comparison.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was simply going to point out this being one of the slowest cars on the road and a joke of a sports car. But that invariably brings in someone from Europe pointing out that they are a great many slower cars. I was trying to avoid that argument by noting it.

        My point has always been: For a car with sporty pretensions in 2010, in North America, this car is a laughable bag of fail. It is an utter slug compared to other sporty cars in it's price range (MX-5, VW GT, etc...).

        I am pretty sure this will lead to epic market fail as well.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "You are confusing necessary with sufficient. SUVs and Minivans will blow the doors of a CRZ, that doesn't make them sports cars."

        Incredible. Ah yes, that split second to 60mph will make all the difference ...and in America, most SUV and MPV drivers potter around at speeds which make walking feel like you're racing in comparison.

        You know, there's a reason why America is separated from virtually everywhere else on Earth. And we're thankful for it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "I mean europe where they sell tons of cars with smaller engines we never see like 1.4L in econoboxes. And 4 cylinders in full size sedans. There will be many cars slower than a CRZ there."

        Here's the real problem - too many Americans haven't a clue as to the capabilities of such cars. Back in my youth I recall my beloved old 1987 Fiat Uno. 1116cc and 62bhp on tap. But it was quick. It was light - less than 2,000 lb. I could easily merge onto a motorway without thrashing it. And it had no problem whatsoever comfortably cruising at 90mph in fifth with two people and the rest of the car filled to the brim with camping gear.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I applaud to to Honda for at least styling wise making something a bit more unique like they did with our European civic. Spec wise this car doesn't indeed look like a much, but it will be interesting to hear first reviews about this one and when it comes to looks i actually quite like it.

      That American president driving this and bla bla sounds a bit too much about Honda trying to create hype thought.
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