2016 Honda CR-Z – Test Drive, Review, Ratings, Spec

2016 Honda CR-Z

The Honda CR-Z is a Blast from the Past!

Athletes become older, slower and uglier with age. On the contrary, sports cars only become younger, faster and cuter over time. Spanning more over two decades worth of existence based off of its CR-X predecessor, the Honda CR-Z has been praised for its performance and enthusiastic driving experience. Even while incorporating modern hybrid complexity in its powertrain, the 2016 Honda CR-Z still preserves that awesome driving character as if it was still back in the 90′s, but better.

2016 Honda CR-Z

Classic Signature Looks

Looks are better, but not great on the grand scheme of things. Based off of the Honda Insight chassis template, the CR-Z is deeply sculpted to enhance and transform a dull and boring family hybrid sedan into something in the form of a miniature road rocket. While pertaining sporty looks, its box-like structure and bloated rear end would make a conventional buyer second guess its purchase given other options in the market including the Mazda MX-5, Toyota FR-S.

Nevertheless, its sophisticated front HID headlights, and crisp lines, and eight-point polygon front grille are things that help make the CR-Z stand out with attention on public roads. Probably balanced more on the function side, its short wheelbase, and bubbled up roof silhouette helps stiffen up the chassis for a more balanced ride.

Interior quality is not skimped out at all. Ergonomics is well laid out with durable leather bucket seats that are well cushioned while offering excellent lateral support, a highly decorated instrument cluster and well laid out center console. Paneling also feels rock solid, which adds a nice touch. Climate control dials are intelligently placed and angled by the driver’s side to maximize use of limited interior real estate.

Compact Power

Powering this little beast is a miniature 1.5L i-VTEC working in tandem with a 15kW electric motor. The combined power output produces 130 horsepower and 140 lbs.ft of torque. Honda adds an interesting spin to this year’s iteration by harnessing its hybrid electric powertrain with its Plus Sport System. Located on the lower right side of the steering wheel is a flashy round illuminated button labeled S+. Pressing this button when the onboard lithium ion battery pack is fully charged provides a temporary 5 seconds of acceleration boost by pumping more charge current to the electric motor.

2016 Honda CR-Z

Coupled to the engine is a buttery smooth 6-speed manual transmission. On that note, that also makes the Honda CR-Z the only hybrid vehicle with a manual transmission in Canada. Fuel economy scores in at an impressive 36 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. But that is if you’re conservative with the gas peal. Drive it like what it’s meant to do was found to severely degrade these numbers on my week’s test drive.

Proper Performance Driving

It’s by no means a thing of fast car. Rather, the CR-Z was more meant to maintain speed around corners, and that’s exactly where it excels most on road practice. Steering is tight and well balanced that makes turns sharp and predictable around corners. Combining its sweet natural engine tone and the rugged whining of the 6 speed transmission gearbox practically perfects what a fun car should drive like.

The 6-speed shifter and clutch pedal also has a perfect throw for fast shifting between gears. Throwing the CR-Z around corners reveals its stiff chassis and responsive suspensions to help keep the car balanced, a pleasant surprise given its added weight to the electric motor and lithium ion battery pack.

2016 Honda CR-Z

You’re not going to win too many drag race with this little guy. And speaking of which, I didn’t find too much of a “boost” when using the Sport Plus feature. Despite its limited power capabilities, I can guarantee that punching it off the line will atleast win you a smile with quick acceleration capability thanks to the help of its electric motor.

All in All

As mentioned, there are other choices out there, and perhaps even better. The FR-S’ got flashier looks with a rear wheel drive and the MX-5 is a convertible. Price is not cheap either with its starting price at $26,795. And its heftier price tag is mostly due to its added hybrid powertrain system. With that said, it’s not the most ideal setup for an affordable sports car. Its funkier shape also only tailors to those of a very specific taste – perhaps the main reason why you don’t see too many on the road. Nevertheless, the Honda CR-Z is a classic sports car element brought back into the modern world while delivering an ultra fun and engaging driving experience.

2016 Honda CR-Z

Specifications

  • Vehicle : 2016 Honda CR-Z
  • Model : Honda CR-Z
  • Price as Tested : $27,395
  • Vehicle Type : Subcompact
  • Seating Capacity : 2
  • Powertrain Configuration : FWD
  • Engine : 1.5L V4 i-VTEC + 15kW Electric Motor
  • Transmission : 6 Speed Manual
  • Fuel Economy:36/39/37 mpg ┬áCity/Highway/Combined

 

Pros

  • Luxury level interior
  • Small compact layout in cabin space
  • Impressive fuel economy
  • Ultra fun driving experience

Cons

  • Only available as a hybrid option, driving up cost
  • Funky design leaving other options more viable in the market