"Better than the sum of parts"4.0 starson by satoauto
Pros: Dramatic Styling, easy to do better than EPA estimates, great combination of features for price
Cons: Car is sportier looking than it's performance potential, twist beam rear axle
Summary: Well, a quick look at EPA.gov and their list of fuel economy leaders for the 2011 model year, there are only four other cars that get better gas mileage than the Honda CR-Z (with auto). These include the Toyota Prius (a hybrid) at 51/48, the Ford Fusion Hybrid at 41/36, the Honda Civic Hybrid at 40/43, and the Honda Insight (another hybrid) at 40/43. I don't see how any rational person can say that the fifth most fuel efficient vehicle in the country is not " fuel efficient enough".
The flip side to the "not fuel efficient enough" argument is the "it's not sporty enough" argument. Honda introduced the CR-Z as a "sporty hybrid" and I think this is the source of most of the discontent. Many of the car reviews complain about the CR-Zs somewhat lackluster ~9 second 0 to 60 times. I've owned S2000s and 2 MR-2s (turbo and SC) so I think it's safe to say that we know what a (relatively) fast car is. However, there was a lot fun to be had in the S2000 at speeds well below its capabilities. When you ask yourself "why is that" I think you find that a "fun to drive" car does not have to be a fast car (although fast cars are typically fun to drive). I don't believe that Honda is deluding themselves and suggesting that the CR-Z is a fast car, however, I do think that it lives up to its billing as a "fun car". The low seating position, quick steering (12.8:1 ratio) , slick shifting manual transmission all combine with that hard to define, "Hondaness" to make it rewarding for a driver.
So while I'll be the first to admit that no car is ever perfect, the CR-Z manages to combine above average fuel economy with an ever so difficult to describe, "fun factor". And, it does it at a reasonable price. Our manual transmission EX has a list price of $21,655 and we paid a little less than that. Features such as xenon high intensity discharge headlights, the six speed manual, Bluetooth connectivity, iPod connectivity, fog lights, automatic climate control, and active head restraints with six air bags are all standard features. Combine that with (expected) Honda quality and I think we have a great little package.
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