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CR-Z Review: From Fox News

On paper, the 2011 Honda CR-Z doesn’t make the best case for itself. The specifications sheet for the ostensibly sporty hybrid indicating that it is neither particularly fast (with only 122 hp how could it be?) or astonishingly fuel efficient, its EPA rating of 34 mpg combined is not quite top of the charts.

On the road, things are a bit different.

As the spiritual successor to both the lovable Honda CR-X of the 1980s and the original Honda Insight – the first hybrid sold in America and still the all-time fuel economy champ at 53 MPG combined – the CR-Z has some pretty big, albeit literally small, shoes to fill. But since it is based in part on the somewhat disappointing current version of the Insight, it also comes to market with rather low expectations.

It shouldn’t.

The CR-Z is one of the sharpest-looking cars on the road. Its tidy hatchback shape is well-muscled with bulging fenders and deep character lines aplenty. The face is all-Honda. The tires spaced at the far corners? All-business.

Open the doors – which are enormous both relative to the car and in absolute terms – and you’re treated to the best iteration yet of the pseudo-futuristic dashboard design found in many Hondas today. The cluster of gauges and buttons surrounding the steering wheel looking much like the one in a Ferrari 458 Italia – really.

Also similar to that car, the Honda only has two seats, at least on this side of the Pacific. In Japan the CR-Z – which is selling like seaweed-flavored hotcakes over there – can be had with a 2+2 layout, but for us the miniscule second row is replaced by a pair of cubbies. Personally, I think a flat parcel shelf would be more functional, or even an otherwise useless bench seat to augment the petite cargo bay behind it, but the carpeted nooks are good for bags and appear to be the perfect place for a Chihuahua to sit. This was evidenced by the short dog hairs filling the bin on the passenger side of my tester when it was delivered.

At least I hope they were dog hairs.

Most notable for a hybrid is the odd thing poking out from the center console: a stick for a 6-speed manual transmission. The CR-Z is the only hybrid in the world that has one. A continuously variable automatic transmission that increases fuel economy to 37 mpg combined is also available, but what’s so original about that?

Power is provided by a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine combined with a small electric motor. It operates in the fashion of a mild-hybrid, which means you won’t be silently sneaking up on anyone in the parking lot. The internal combustion engine always spins as long as the car is moving. When you come to a stop, it usually does too, firing up again as you depress the clutch to shift back into first gear.

Read More At: FOXNews.com - 2011 Honda CR-Z

This is a great review!
 
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