The New Honda CR-Z Hybrid: Does It Deliver? - Consumer Reports
Source: Consumer Reports
Source: Consumer Reports
I don't agree that any of the reviews bashing the CRZ are doing so just to generate interest or gain popularity. These same reviewers write glowing reviews of many cars who's performance may not be all that superior to the CRZ.Negative reviews bashing something usually get more popularity than good reviews, IMO.
VERY GOOD! For those reasons is why I am waiting for the Fiat 500 Abarth and the new Ford Focus due out in January before making any decision. Had the Cooper but it turned out to be a big piece. What I am looking for is a commuter with great gas mileage, reliable, ownership cost, good looks, well priced, "fun factor" for that two hour drive, and enough power to keep up with So Cal traffic on the freeway and avoid the idiots.I don't agree that any of the reviews bashing the CRZ are doing so just to generate interest or gain popularity. These same reviewers write glowing reviews of many cars who's performance may not be all that superior to the CRZ.
I think the biggest problem for the CRZ is the word "Hybrid".
The preconception for anything labeled "Hybrid" is that it will result in spectacular fuel economy. When Honda brought the original Insight to market in 1999 and it delivered 50 to 60 MPG, it set the bar for hybrid fuel economy. It was an effort that was generally very well received by the automotive press, despite the fact that it was very very slow and made all kinds of compromises to utility and performance in the name of achieving the ultimate in fuel economy. Three years later the Civic Hybrid was similarly well received by the press.
Then, the second generation Prius came along an offered the utility of an every-mans car combined with almost the fuel efficiency of the original Insight and the mold for what a hybrid should be was cast. Every hybrid car since has been compared to the Prius these terms. But keep in mind we rarely hear the press complain about how slow the Prius is or how poorly it handles compared to any level of sport.
Now the CRZ comes along and lays down that it is new kind of "Sporty Hybrid". I think we were all expecting more from Honda, based on what has come before. When the unspectacular fuel economy of the CRZ doesn't pass the preconceived expectation for hybrids, the CRZ finds itself with one big strike against it. So the reviewers then typically go on to compare it to the established benchmark for a sporty car and again, since the CRZ cannot compete in a pure sports car fashion with these benchmarks, they are left with nothing but to declare the CRZ a loser on both fronts.
But imagine if the CRZ had been released with the same performance it has with no mention of Hybrid or sporty. Then it would be judged as simply a stylish subcompact and generally compared with cars like the Mini Cooper and other japanese and german small coupes. In this case they would likely rave about it having class leading fuel economy, style and features beyond that of the typical small car. The reviews would sound much different than they do now, where it is either compared to the old CRX in terms of sport or the other high mileage hybrids on the market in terms of economy.
What is clear to me is that if Honda wanted to sell 50,000+ CRZs a year, they should have simply released a hybrid version with the 1.3 liter drivetrain from the Insight and Civic hybrid, coupled with skinnier tires and any other tuning ticks to achieve EPA fuel economy of at least 40+ MPG. And simultaneously release an si version with a conventional engine offering all the performance one would expect from a modern day CRX si. Then the car magazines would gush all over the si version and we car enthusiasts would gladly buy that model. Then all the people who just like the car for its styling and/or those driven by the green idea of a hybrid the would buy the fuel efficient version.
But the car we got is trying to serve both markets is being judged a loser in both. For me, I think it will do just fine as my wife's little runabout, and I have placed my order. For those looking for a true sports car, or even a real "sporty car", there will be better choices. And for those looking for the highest fuel economy, whether it be to save the planet or for purely economic reasons, again there will be better choices. However in many non US markets where expensive taxes and registration fees are set by fuel economy or emissions levels, the CRZ has some extra advantages not realized in the US.
I actually welcome all the bad press now that I have my order confirmed, because that may result in Honda selling fewer CRZs in the US. Which is just fine by me because I prefer to own a car that is different than everyone else, as long as it is reliable and has good ergonomics and as a Honda, we know this will be the case.