By David Colman
Pros: Nimble, Cheap, Fun
Cons: Poor rear vision, Under-tired, Stainable seat material
The automotive world changes so fast that most products lose their identity over an extended period of time. For example, the Honda Civic has morphed from a sub-compact to a compact, while the Honda Accord has transitioned from a compact to a mid-size sedan. But many Honda enthusiasts still long for the days when they could buy the sub-compact 2 seat hatchback called the CRX, a cult ride of the 80s that was a favorite tool for autocrossing.
Although the CR-Z lacks the undiluted performance focus of the long gone CRX, it still channels enough of that car’s perky personality to warrant a close look from today’s bargain hunting performance drivers. In keeping with the times, the CR-Z, introduced in 2010, is a hybrid that combines a 1.5 liter, 4 cylinder gas engine with an electric motor. In unison, the two sources of energy provide 122hp. When you harness that output through a 6 speed manual transmission, you’ve got a lively package that closely mimics the acceleration of the old CRX. The shift mechanism is delightfully weighted and rewarding to use. Although a constantly variable transmission is also available for the CR-Z, the belted gearbox kills any vestige of fun thanks to negligible acceleration.