2011 Honda CR-Z EX

Matt Tierney

In a weird way, the CR-Z reminds me of the original raison d'etre behind the Pontiac Fiero. To push its own small two-seater into production, Pontiac brass had to sell the car as being a fuel-efficient commuter runabout that happened to look (and, by 1988, drive) sporty.

The CR-Z, especially when fitted with the CVT, seems to abide by that formula. The CRX-like profile is strangely endearing, as is the interior, chock full of funky fabrics, useful storage cubbies, and gee-whiz gauges to distract you from the Fit-like plastics that abound. On the road, the CR-Z neither delights nor disgusts; the steering is somewhat quick, but the chassis, loaded with batteries and saddled with soft suspension tuning, errs on the side of understeer when pushed hard into corners.

That's fine for a commuter car, but the not-quite-green and not-quite-sporty CR-Z may be stuck in its own niche. The $23,000 sticker for our loaded EX-L tester can bring home a more practical hybrid, or a pocket rocket for the boy-racer crowd. Heck, both parties can even buy their dream machines from Honda's own showroom (the Insight and the Civic Si, respectively).

Evan McCausland, Web Producer

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Costs about the same as a far more useable Accord LX-S coupe, and all I get is +3 real world MPG? I don't get it. Not sporty, cheap to acquire, or very efficient to operate. More like a latter day Del Sol than a CRX.
@mo_pho Honda offers manual shifts through simulated gears. Several other automakers offer this functionality on CVT-equipped vehicles.
How does one upshift and downshift a CVT? Or am I not getting something?
Honda should have gone all out and made two versions of this car: a hot pocket-rocket and a hot pocket-rocket hybrid. That way, it would truly appeal to both types of drivers and be a good alternative to Priuses and GTIs.

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