Honda really did manage to combine frugality and fun with its CR-Z. It's a much more impressive effort than the Insight hybrid sedan, a much more coherent piece. It has a much nicer interior, with far better dynamics. It rides surprisingly well, too, for such a light, short-wheelbase car.
I like the way it looks on the street. It's small, sporty, and purposeful, and it definitely evokes the CRX from the 1980s. I respect the fact that there are no rear seats; instead, there's lots of well-designed storage space and cubbyholes. The interior is a huge step up from the Insight; I love the silver cloth seats and the chrome trim on the interior door handles.
Most important, the CR-Z is a ball to drive, especially with this light-effort, six-speed manual transmission. Nice steering feel, good body control.
The greatest compliment I can convey is that I kept forgetting that the CR-Z is a hybrid while I was driving it.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor