2011 Honda CR-Z EX

Matt Tierney

I drove our test Honda CR-Z 154 miles over a weekend and averaged 35 mpg according to the readout on the dash. This was in a mixture of city, rural, and freeway driving, and I was in "Normal" mode probably 60% of the time, and "Econ" and "Sport" modes each about 20% of the time. I enjoyed the car. I like the steering, I thought it had plenty of power, and I found it to be comfortable on the freeway, although my longest nonstop freeway drive was only an hour. I was afraid I would find the CVT boring, but on the occasions when I wanted a little more aggressive shifting, I just used the steering wheel mounted paddles to downshift and upshift and I was satisfied with that.

One of my friends, a 40-something woman, deemed the CR-Z ugly, but I certainly noticed lots of people looking at it this weekend. I think most people readily identify it as being the modern-day version of the CRX; at least that's what the guy manning the parking lot booth said.

The CR-Z has come in for some scorn from some of us here at Automobile Magazine for being neither economical enough nor sporty enough. I don't agree. I like the car and could see it making lots of owners happy.

Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor

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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