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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The Honda CRZ and Honda Fit are stablemates in the Honda showroom. They are based on the same ACE body structure also shared with the current genration Honda Insight. They share the same suspension components and geometry and both utilize a very similar 1.5 liter Honda engine. With all these similarities I was expecting that these two cars would perform very similarly. And that was an incorrect expectation.

Both these cars have different missions in Honda's marketing and product mix. The Fit is aimed at the high volume, low cost, small car segment where it soundly beats all of it's competition [footnote 1] including the Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2, Hyundai Elantra Touring, Toyota Yaris 5-door, Nissan Versa, Scion D and even to some extent the Honda Civic sedan. Buyers in this class seek value and utility most of all. And while it is not the least expensive car in the category, there really is no competition for the Honda Fit in terms of it's utility and efficiency. It beats all others in space, while being one of the smallest on the outside. It beats most of it's competition in fuel economy while offering the best in class performance. And it offers the best combination of decent ride and exceptionally good handling. In my opinion, the Honda Fit is one of the best designed and engineered vehicles on the market. and I have owned one for the past 2 years and have never been disappointed in it's performance.

The CRZ competes in a totally different segment of the market than the Fit. For Honda, the CRZ has been cast the part of halo car. Even though it is among Honda's less expensive cars, its style and hybrid technology is designed to set the tone and future direction for the entire Honda line.

I would say for most CRZ buyers it's unique style is the primary attraction. From that point the secondary attraction to the CRZ varies widely among it's diverse buyers. For some it's IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) hybrid engine brings appeal in the expectation of high fuel economy and/or added performance. To this end the CRZ may compete with other cars who's mission is high fuel economy like the VW diesels, MINI Cooper or even the Toyota Prius.

However, the competition for the CRZ is far wider than that of the Fit. Because of it's 2 seat limitation, CRZ buyers are typically willing to sacrifice utility for personal desires such as uniqueness and style. In this way, the CRZ may sometimes be shopped against cars with much higher price tags who exist as a splurge for their owners, cars like the Mazda Miata, BMW Z4 coupe Audi TT or even a Nissan 370Z. But the biggest competition for the CRZ seems to come from a 20 year old memory of it's fore bearer the Honda CRX. The CRX's memory seems to set the standard for what many expect from the CRZ and for this reason I will make some caparisons to this iconic model.

But this comparison is between the Honda CRZ and the Honda Fit. As I just illustrated I don't believe these two cars really compete against each other in the marketplace. But if they did, I believe that the utility and value of the Fit would so far outweigh the style of the CRZ that the Fit would be declared the winner. For me, I now own both cars and am enjoying both, but they are significantly different cars and perform quite differently in many areas despite their very similar roots and underpinnings.

PRICE
First a comparison in price is in order. The 2011 base Honda Fit starts at $15,850 and the CRZ at $19,950. Some, less thorough, reviews have concluded this means the price difference is $4,100. But this is not a valid comparison. The base CRZ is equipped similarly or even a little better than the Fit Sport. So a more fitting price comparison for the base CRZ would be the $17,610 Fit Sport. This brings the price difference to $2,340.

Further consideration shows that the CRZ offers some standard equipment that exceeds that of the Fit Sport, like automatic A/C, a feature that costs an extra $500 on a MINI Cooper. The CRZ also offers rear disk brakes and a 6-speed, rather than 5-speed, transmission in the Fit. These upgrades are worth at least an additional $750. The Fit Sport comes standard with fog lights that are lacking on the base CRZ, this is typically a $250 option. All this totals an additional $1000 of equipment on the CRZ

With this $1000 of equipment difference figured in, the price difference between the CRZ and the Fit is $1340. I would call this difference the "hybrid premium." By this, I mean, if the CRZ had not been delivered as a hybrid and had been fitted with the 1.5 liter Fit engine without the IMA, it likely could have been sold for $1340 less. This is by far the lowest "hybrid premium" compared to all other hybrids on the market that range from $3000 to $7500 price premiums over their non hybrid stablemates.

Price-wise I think both cars are real bargains.

Driving Dynamics
The driving dynamics of these two cars is significantly different. I own a 5MT Fit and a 6MT CRZ, so my comments will be restricted to these manual transmission cars only.

The Honda Fit has a driving dynamic that I think compares similarly to the legendary CRX. Both these cars have a light tossable nature, where you feel well connected to the drivetrain by the shifter, accelerator and steering wheel. The CRX offered a more pure feeling and was a better platform for designing a real track car. But I think the Fit holds it's own in driving dynamic with the old CRX. (of which I owned a 1985 CRX Si) A side effect of this "lightness" and connection is a bit more noise vibration and harshness as well as a tinniness that comes from low levels of insulation and cushioning.

By contrast, the CRZ offers a noticeably more refined, but slightly less "connected" driving dynamic. This refinement is exhibited in ride and the control of bumps and road imperfections. The CRZ nicely absorbs these bumps with less jolt coming through to the driver. The CRZ's ride is more comfortable, but this comfort and refinement comes at the expense of less sportiness.

Both cars have excellent gearboxes that require no real skill to shift, just like the old CRX. The six speed in the CRZ is a bit shorter in throw than the Fit's five speed. The only criticism I might offer at either of these gearboxes is that they don't like to be rushed. You have to maintain a reasonably slow shift pace to engage either box smoothly. The reality is that both these cars shift better than the old CRX ever did.

The manual rack and pinion steering of the old CRX was very communicative and was perhaps it's best feature that few other cars could match. This was due in large part to the CRX's light weight. The Fit has lost much of that feel with it's electric power steering and 400-600 pound greater curb weight and the CRZ seems to be even a bit less communicative than the Fit. While I am not complaining about how either car steers, neither can point to this as area that differentiates them from other cars in the marketplace. While Hondas from the 80's and 90's could always check off steering feel as a big advantage, This is an area where I feel Honda has lost ground to the best in class like Porsche and BMW.

The Fit is significantly taller than the CRZ and as a result is much more susceptible *to being affected by cross winds. Driving down the road in the Fit on a windy day can be a bit busy as the car wonders with the gusts. The CRZ by comparison seems far better planted to the road.

In a nutshell, the CRZ feels like a well sorted personal luxury car in the way it steers, absorbs bumps and takes corners. Slamming the CRZ's doors makes a nice thunk, where the Fit and the CRX both sound a bit tinny So the Fit feels a bit more like an economy car in these areas. But it is that same "economy car like" transmission of bumps that also makes it feel a bit sportier and more like that of the old CRX. My point being that if you truly long for the feeling of the old CRX, you will find more of that feeling in the Honda Fit than you will the CRZ.

Acceleration
From the seat of the pants, the acceleration of these two cars feels very similar, but I can definitely feel the additional weight of the CRZ's batteries slowing things down a bit. In side by side acceleration tests between my Fit and CRZ, the Fit easily walks away from the CRZ in any gear at any RPM, but in real world driving, they offer pretty similar acceleration. In a drag race, my 5 speed Fit outran my CRZ up to about 70 mph. That is as fast as my wife and I raced, and I suspect the lower profile and better aero of the CRZ would begin to help it catch it up and by 90 mph the CRZ might even take the lead. But in the 1/4 mile the CRZ will be consistently beaten by the Fit.

Continued

1. http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews..._2010_honda_fit_2011_mazda_2-comparison_tests
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Fuel economy
I have 15,000 miles on my 2 year old Fit. Most of my driving is short 2-10 mile suburban type driving. There are no interstates or highways here in Maui, so there is no opportunity for long high speed cruising. With this type of driving, my overall average fuel economy for my Fit has been 35.3 MPG. I have found that it is possible to get 40 MPG from my Fit by limiting A/C use and avoiding the areas where you get stuck at every stoplight.

We have only had our Honda CRZ for a month and have only refilled the fuel tank twice so it is premature to report my absolute fuel economy, but at 795 miles, the fuel economy gauge on the CRZ presently reads 37.1 MPG. Only about 1.8 mpg more than my Fit's lifetime average. So for now I can say that I see no significant fuel economy or performance benefit from the addition of the IMA hybrid system.

It looks like the overal average that most CRZ owners are achieving is about 38 MPG. Should I end up in this range, I would conclude the CRZ is offering me 2-4 more MPGs than my Fit or about 3 mpg more MPGs than a 1.5 liter non IMA CRZ would likely achieve. This would mean it will take me 20 years and over 150,000 miles of driving to save the $1340 hybrid premium in fuel expenses, even at Maui's $3.80/gallon gas prices. Again, I cannot say that I feel the IMA is earning it's keep in this regard.

Utility
The Honda Fit sets the standard for small car utility. It comfortably seats 4, and evan 5 can squeeze in for a short trip. But the rear seat of my Fit spends 95% of it's time in the down position where it offers me 56 cubic feet of cargo space. It has a low load floor and rear doors that open wider than most cars to allow additional ways to load bulky cargo. I have never made a Home Depot run that my Fit couldn't handle.

The CRZ with it's 2 seats is really no match for the Fit in utility, but this doesn't mean that the CRZ lacks utility. It's rear cargo area has several ways it can be configured to best store and secure small loads and with the back cargo divider lowered, it offers 24 cubic feet of space. Which is more utility for hauling cargo than many small sedans. I am a bit disappointed about how high the rear load floor is. and it is more shallow than it would be if the batteries were not located beneath it. Again an area where I feel the IMA is compromising the car.

Ergonomics
Both cars offer the excellent ergonomics that Honda has long been famous for. I really like the steering wheel controls on the CRZ and the radio is organized a bit more logically than the Fit. The auto A/C is a nice feature on the CRZ as is the higher level of plastic used on the dash. I do like the easier to reach cup holders of the Fit. My back prefers the seats in my Fit a little more than the CRZ and my 5'1" wife feels the CRZs seats fit her better than my Fit's do. She also likes the lower driving position of the CRZ and feels this makes her feel more like she is driving a proper sports car.

The one major knock of the CRZs ergonomics is the rear visibility. And where the Fit, and most Honda's in general, have always offered excellent all around visibility, the CRZs downfall in this regard is a bit surprising. But having traded in a MINI Cooper convertible for the CRZ, I can report that rear visibility gets much worse than the CRZ in many other cars and at least the mirrors do an excellent job of covering these blind spots.

Both my wife and I find the CRZ's trip computer and other information stuff to be very entertaining and they do help to make getting better gas milage fun. The bluetooth, 360 watt stereo and iPod integration on our EX model are superb.*

Style and exclusivity
I love the looks of my Fit, but I certainly can understand where someone accustom to more conventional styling might find the Fit's styling to be odd or maybe even ugly. I enjoyed owning one of the first new style Fits on Maui. But the success of the Fit means that I now see myself coming and going everywhere I look.

The CRZ offers significantly more style and exclusivity than the Fit. Right now my CRZ is the only one driving around the island of Maui and my wife and I really like that. I think the CRZ is a bargain and would have gladly paid more for the CRZ than Honda asks. The CRZ has enough style for it to be a statement vehicle. Meaning that it says, I could drive whatever I want, and I choose to drive this CRZ, and I can say that is true for me.

Conclusions
If I could have made the decision for Honda, I definitely would have left out the IMA and simply built the CRZ with the Fit's 1.5 liter drivetrain. I would have included the 6 speed transmission and rear disk brakes. With the deletion of the hybrid batteries, electronic controllers and electric motor/generator, I think such a car could have been 175 pound lighter than the current CRZ and could have been sold for somewhat less money. It would have offered at least 4" more depth in the cargo area (or instead allow the room for a multilink rear suspension like the CRX). But the Hybrid CRZ is what it is, and overall I cannot say that I am disappointed in any significant way by it.

If Honda ever decides to release an Si or type R version of the CRZ, offering more power and greater handling limits, I might well trade for it, but what I honestly wish most is that few others here on Maui buy a CRZ, because I like the fact that my car is unique. The low volumes that the CRZ will sell in is truly a nice feature.

If my wife and I could only own one car to go with my garage queen NSX, it would have to be the Fit because of it's unbeatable utility, but as a stylish, fuel efficient, fun, second daily driver,*the CRZ is a great choice.
 

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kinda sucks that a hybrid mated to the same motor provides virtually no gain in fuel economy, but f*ck it, i can drive in the HOV lane now.
 
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Great write-up, thanks!

I don't know that your conclusion that the IMA isn't worth it is correct, however. You mention being able to feel the weight of the batteries while accelerating but also mention the more solid feel of the doors and lower all around NVH in the CRZ. Measures taken to reduce NVH are usually quite heavy. Likely as or more heavy in the overall picture compared to the IMA system.

My point is, if the Fit were built to the same low NVH levels as the CRZ it would likely weigh more. This increased weight would in turn increase the load on the stock 1.5l reducing both it fuel mileage and acceleration. Perhaps it's the IMA that allows the CRZ to match/beat the fit mileage and acceleration while benefiting from reduced NVH as well. I could see a 1.5l, non-IMA CRZ being slower and less fuel efficient than a stock Fit.

I don't know, but it would make sense. I'm sure Honda ran internal testing for this. I would love to know what they found.

Also, I'm sure the Fit beats the Fiesta in volume for now, but the Fiesta IMHO beats the Fit hands-down in every other way but rear legroom. Many reviewers would agree. Just sayin'. :p

Thanks again for the write-up.
 

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Great write-up... it shows that you have a slight bias towards the Fit and i can tell that you love your Fit... one comparison i think should be reevaluated at a later time is the fuel economy of the CR-Z... i only say this b/c of the engine still being in the break-in stage... another comparison about the fuel economy is that just by doing a bit of online reading of other hybrid forums, you will see that the mild-hybrid IMA is designed for better highway mpg whereas a full-hybrid like the Prius was designed for better city mpg... so for someone like me that will put close to 1,000 miles/week on a car, mostly hwy miles, i would see a better gain on mpg on the CR-Z vs the Fit... and keep in mind i can push the 2009 1.8L Automatic Civic to average 45mpg (75%hwy/25%city) if i try... that is rated at 1hwy mpg more than the Fit automatic... the CR-Z with some practice could easily see 50mpg with the same kind of driving i do...

with those "assumptions" i think it's very easy to justify the IMA system... and for someone like myself, i wouldn't even consider the CR-Z if it didn't have the IMA on there...

but this thread was about your experience and not my views/assumptions... good read nonetheless :thumbsup:
 

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that is why I own both. In 2008 my lovely felt in love with the Fit and i got her a Fit Sport (now close to 40K miles with 29.9 mpg lifetime mileage (CA will do that to you) I sold my Civic in May and bought the CRZ in october. Lowe both but in my case the 06Pilot would stay if I could own only one....
 

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I was actually wondering earlier today, What would the crz be like without the motor and batteries on it performance wise? It was questionable in my mind that there could actually be a straight line speed increase, but 0-60 means nothing truthfully.
 

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I always liked the Fit, think it looks great from the outside, but after I sat in it for 10 minutes and played with the interior, it felt on par with KIA Soul, and it's not a very good thing. Dash that was visibly bouncing when you close the glovebox was the last straw.

CR-Z, on the other hand, was bearable as far as interior build quality goes, it even had a little shock that slows down the glovebox fall. No, I don't have a glovebox fetish.

And still, as an all around vehicle Fit wins hands down. CR-Z is a niche automobile for those who realize that their imaginary friends will never need a ride in the back seat.
 

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I always liked the Fit, think it looks great from the outside, but after I sat in it for 10 minutes and played with the interior, it felt on par with KIA Soul, and it's not a very good thing.
I liked the Soul except for the harsh ride, 4-speed crapomatic, and cheap interior. The Fit is find of a turn off for the same reasons. While the plastics quality is no different than the CR-Z I didn't like the cheaper seats. Plus the Fit doesn't offer any of the nice extras like HID's or an upgraded Stereo. The auto Fit felt much slower as well.
 

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I owned a fit for 3 years...spent $7500 getting the Sport to be sporty! to do that one must have: lowering springs, air intake, strutt bar, larger from sway bar, c piller bar, hid's, amplifier with sub, ipod adapter, interior aluminim door handles/trim pieces, decent rear spolier, header, full exhaust with test pipe, tinting at top of front window 7" limo tint because the window went too high into the roofline, 16" wheels and decent rubber, skunk II short shifter for a 5spM?? (big design mistake), type R decent shift knob, Mugan leather shift boot and hand brake cover and of course had to replace those awful Fit seats with Bride Ergo II's...now if you don't want the Fit to be sporty, then then the Fit seats are fine..but if you make the Fit sporty you need better seats or else your face will flatten out on the left side from driving the Fit, well, like sporty! once done i loved the Fit. what a blast!

CRZ must haves: - decent rear spoiler, 17"wheels and decent rubber which really does take away any body roll......ummm, think that is about it......oh, i still have those Bride Ergo II's, they are not going in the CRZ, no need.....did i mention the short throws in the CRZ? oh yes, a 6spm too...go figure!

now there are other things we can do..but they are definately not must haves???

Honda did a great job with the Fit. I don't think anyone expected people to customize it so much (see FitFreaks.com)...

I think Honda took notice and did a great job on the CRZ for sport ethusists...just my opinion...............
 

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<SNIP>

CRZ must haves: - decent rear spoiler, 17"wheels and decent rubber which really does take away any body roll......ummm, think that is about it......oh, i still have those Bride Ergo II's, they are not going in the CRZ, no need.....did i mention the short throws in the CRZ? oh yes, a 6spm too...go figure!

now there are other things we can do..but they are definately not must haves???

Honda did a great job with the Fit. I don't think anyone expected people to customize it so much (see FitFreaks.com)...

I think Honda took notice and did a great job on the CRZ for sport ethusists...just my opinion...............
Good post !:thumbsup: Agree totally! :hi5: if you do even a third of the work and money that you spent on the Fit for the CR-Z.. it will be a BAD lil car!:p

But the nice thing is, you dont HAVE to.. as stated above! (excuse me.. I am about a half bottle of chardonnay past my limit)!:thumbsup: :pP:
 

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Fuel economy
I have 15,000 miles on my 2 year old Fit. Most of my driving is short 2-10 mile suburban type driving. There are no interstates or highways here in Maui, so there is no opportunity for long high speed cruising. With this type of driving, my overall average fuel economy for my Fit has been 35.3 MPG. ...

We have only had our Honda CRZ for a month and have only refilled the fuel tank twice so it is premature to report my absolute fuel economy, but at 795 miles, the fuel economy gauge on the CRZ presently reads 37.1 MPG. Only about 1.8 mpg more than my Fit's lifetime average. So for now I can say that I see no significant fuel economy or performance benefit from the addition of the IMA hybrid system.
I can only wonder if you've managed to put the Fit in it's best possible scenario/driving environment, and the CR-Z where it's weakest? This makes me wonder what I'd see if we added a Fit to the mix? For me it's a 40 mile roundtrip, mostly freeway and mostly without much traffic (I can work around it most of the time). In my situation, I think the lack of a 6th gear would impact me greatly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I can only wonder if you've managed to put the Fit in it's best possible scenario/driving environment, and the CR-Z where it's weakest? This makes me wonder what I'd see if we added a Fit to the mix? For me it's a 40 mile roundtrip, mostly freeway and mostly without much traffic (I can work around it most of the time). In my situation, I think the lack of a 6th gear would impact me greatly.
For a broader comparison of Fit fuel economy compared to the CRZ's look at the results on fuelly.com or compare the poll results at the fit freak message boards http://www.fitfreak.net/forums/eco-fit-discussion/13093-mt-fuel-economy-poll.html to the polls here. In either case, I think you will find the Fit averages Only about 2-3 mpg less than the CRZ.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
These results sound just about right. On the Fit the real world fuel economy of the manual is about 2 mpg better than with the automatic.

With the CRZ, real world fuel economy of the CVT is about 0.5 mpg better than the 6MT.

What these real world results show is that you cannot use EPA estimates to accurately reflect your results.

Right now, I am in the middle of a hypermiling tankful in my Fit and with 275 mles on this tankfull I am at 43.1 mpg. I haven't been able to break 40 mpg in the CRZ yet. But I will run a hardcore hypermiling test on it next week.
 

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I own 2010 Fit Sport mt. I have to agree with just about every point the OP made in his first post. I am constantly getting 41+ mpg through winter. Current 41.9 over several tanks. I had 44 MPG on the way down from Vegas and to Palm Springs at 65 mph.

The Fit is an awesome car but! Indeed, the rear can not compare to the CRZ's design.

I grow increasingly interested in the CRZ. I wonder if it's capable of significantly more MPG than the Fit.

Pros: perhaps better coefficient of drag than the fit? the electric motors might assist at the acceleration phase and uphills?; same gasoline engine that is proven to be torquey and fuel efficient.

Cons: wider tires, hence more resistance and poorer mpg; heavier car overall.

If I was to buy one, I would want one with manual transmission and in a bright yellow color.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I own 2010 Fit Sport mt. I have to agree with just about every point the OP made in his first post. I am constantly getting 41+ mpg through winter. Current 41.9 over several tanks. I had 44 MPG on the way down from Vegas and to Palm Springs at 65 mph.

The Fit is an awesome car but! Indeed, the rear can not compare to the CRZ's design.

I grow increasingly interested in the CRZ. I wonder if it's capable of significantly more MPG than the Fit.

Pros: perhaps better coefficient of drag than the fit? the electric motors might assist at the acceleration phase and uphills?; same gasoline engine that is proven to be torquey and fuel efficient.

Cons: wider tires, hence more resistance and poorer mpg; heavier car overall.

If I was to buy one, I would want one with manual transmission and in a bright yellow color.
Thank you for your comments. I have been surprised about some aspects of the CRZ that you would assume to be true. Such as it would seem logical that it's lower profile would give it better Cd. And while the CRZ's lower height does make it much less suseptible to cross wind instability, it does not seem to display better aero as noted by the quick drop off in fuel economy when driving faster than 60 mph.

You would also expect that the electric motor would give the CRZ significantly more torque for driving up a mountain or steep hill, however, because the gearing of the CRz is so much taller than the Fit, this extra torque is not really realized.

As for fuel economy, my experience is that I can get 2-3 more mpg from the CRZ than from my Fit.
 
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