Even as Honda has retired the Insight and put other hybrids on temporary hiatus, the CR-Z continues in the Japanese manufacturer's 2016 lineup. The CR-Z is a rarity in its class—seating just two people and offering a standard six-speed manual transmission.

Pricing and Equipment

Starting at $20,295 (plus an $835 destination charge) for the standard LX edition with a six-speed manual transmission. Add $700 to obtain a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Honda CR-Z is also available in EX ($22,140) and EX-L Navi ($24,440) editions, the latter adding fog lights, aluminum pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, ambient console lighting, and heated leather-trimmed front seats.

Standard equipment for the model tested included:

  • 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Sixteen-inch alloy wheels
  • Keyless entry with push button start
  • Three-mode driving
  • Tilt and telescopic steering column
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Bluetooth connectivity with streaming audio

Performance Pros

Honda CR-Z
  • The Honda CR-Z offers two unusual features for a hybrid model: a “boost” mode and a six-speed manual transmission. Neither has tremendous bearing on performance, but are desirable features for some.
  • Choosing sport mode delivers all the performance this model has to offer. We found that the sport mode maps throttle response, transmission shift points and ratings, as well as other settings, making the engine more responsive.

Performance Cons

  • The Honda CR-Z is thrifty, delivering a combined 37 mpg, but it's easily beaten out by the Toyota Prius. Even the much larger Honda Accord Hybrid delivers a combined 47 mpg.
  • We found the transition from electric assist to regenerative braking doesn’t happen silently in the background. Our testers noted these changes as they drove and said it was also at times apparent when switching from regenerative to friction braking.

Interior Pros

Our testers found the seats were supportive, well-bolstered and able to accommodate larger drivers. On the other hand, seat adjustment is limited by the rear bulkhead and backaches were reported by two test drivers after just 90 minutes of driving.

The Honda CR-Z is suprisingly well equipped. We found that the hybrid matches other Honda models in standard and available equipment and comes with automatic climate control, a rarity among small cars.

Interior Cons

Only two passengers and a small amount of soft luggage can fit in this car. A battery pack is located beneath the rear storage floor, effectively limiting storage capability.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Hybrids typically carry a price premium or enough of an extra cost to dissuade some buyers from considering one. This model’s base price is competitive and with low fuel prices currently holding sway, buyers may have a negotiation advantage to claim.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Lower fuel prices are taking a toll on the hybrid market. Those models still selling well, such as the Toyota Prius, have so much more to offer, including better room, improved fuel economy, and superior overall value. Running the numbers on this model may mean you’ll have a hard time justifying your purchase decision.

The Bottom Line

Honda CR-Z

You have to be an ardent green devotee to consider the Honda CR-Z, especially given that there are more fuel efficient models in this segment, including from Honda itself. Indeed, the Fit five-door costs at least $4,000 less, has a roomier interior and superior storage, and nearly matches the CR-Z in overall fuel economy. You might be better off choosing the Fit and pocketing your savings.