Open the door on a base model Honda CR-Z and you'll notice something interesting in the footwell: three pedals. The CR-Z is the only hybrid car sold with an available manual transmission. Hybrids are generally not revered for their handling prowess or sporting pretensions, but Honda set out to make the CR-Z a car that has those attributes. The CR-Z is not particularly powerful, with a combined 135 horses produced by the hybrid powertrain, but it handles well and it's actually fun to wring out on back roads. The CR-Z also delivers good fuel economy: a combined 37 mpg with the optional continuously variable transmission. The CR-Z comes with three selectable drive modes to tune the car for performance, economy, or a happy middle ground. The CR-Z is somewhat compromised by its two-seat packaging and poor rearward visibility, but it is still one of the most-fuel-efficient cars on the market. New competitors such as the funky Hyundai Veloster offer many of the same attributes as the CR-Z, including similar two-person seating, coupelike styling, and very good fuel economy, but the CR-Z should appeal to drivers who are looking for good, clean fun at a reasonable price.
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