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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2016 Honda CR-Z
  • 3/4 Rear Glamour  2016 Honda CR-Z
  • Rear Profile  2016 Honda CR-Z
  • 90 Degree Profile 2016 Honda CR-Z
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Expert's Rating

3.75Good | Details

MPG

31 City / 38 Highway
Contributing Editor -

Since its 2011 debut, the Honda CR-Z has occupied an intriguing niche in the automotive marketplace. Despite a small, sporty hatchback body, it’s an authentic hybrid -- but one that attracts buyers because of its fun-loving nature more than its fuel-efficiency. With its comfortably radical design and complementary agility, the Honda CR-Z set out to prove that a small hybrid doesn’t have to please buyers on mileage alone. Sales have been sluggish lately, however, prompting some changes inside and out.

What's New for 2016

The CR-Z sees several updates for 2016, meant to give it a more assertive demeanor. Externally, the fascia has been reworked, with a big front diffuser installed and a more chiseled-looking appearance. Inside are a revised console and new seven-inch touchscreen. A new top trim level has been added: the EX-L, featuring heated leather-trimmed seats and a standard navigation system.

Honda CR-Z

Choosing Your Honda CR-Z

Powering Honda’s hatchback two-seater is 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine coupled with an electric motor, which together produce 130 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission with hill-start assist is standard, making the CR-Z the only hybrid on today’s market that you can shift yourself. The optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) comes with paddle shifters and boosts gas mileage to an estimated 37 mpg combined (versus 34 mpg with the manual). Specifically, the CVT version is rated at 36 mpg in city driving and 39 mpg on the highway, versus 31/38 mpg with manual shift.

All models offer three driving modes: Normal, Econ and Sport. A Sport Plus button can deliver a 5-second burst of additional power, in any mode.

You won’t find a backseat in the two-passenger CR-Z, but you do get a handy parcel shelf with individual bins. Folding down the various dividers provides 25 cubic feet of flat load space. That might not sound like a lot of space for a hatchback, but its practically cavernous for a two-passenger car.

You can have your CR-Z in a choice of three trim levels: Base, EX, and new EX-L:

Base

Comes abundantly equipped for its $21,130 price (including destination charge), starting with a rearview camera, automatic climate control, cruise control, seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth phone and audio, and a six-speaker sound system. Black seat fabric, steering wheel-mounted controls, remote keyless entry, pushbutton start, and a cargo cover also are standard. Substituting a CVT for the standard manual gearbox adds $650 to the total cost.

EX

What is now the midlevel model provides greater style and convenience, starting with new black/orange seat fabric. Standard features include automatic high-intensity-discharge headlights, LED running lights, foglamps, aluminum pedals, ambient console lighting, heated mirrors, lighted vanity mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an upgraded 360-watt sound system. Honda LaneWatch, also standard, sends an image of the blind spot to the right-hand mirror when you signal for a right turn or lane-change.

EX-L w/Navigation

Priced at $25,275, the new top trim level comes with heated leather-trimmed seat upholstery, HD radio, and a navigation system with voice recognition and digital traffic information.

CarsDirect Tip

If you’re yearning for a manual transmission along with fuel-efficient hybrid power, the CR-Z is simply the only car to be considered. With so many new hybrids popping up lately, of course, it’s possible one or two of them might adopt manual shift. For the rest of us, in any case, the more efficient CVT is clearly the logical choice. With its enhanced interior trim and additional features, the EX model makes the most of the CR-Z's sporty character, without spoiling its friendly price. Even the new EX-L isn’t so much higher in price.

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Honda CR-Z

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