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The 2012 Honda CR-Z is the second model year for a car that hasn't quite lived up to the high hopes raised for it. The idea--or the dream--was a quick, nimble sports coupe in the mold of the classic CRX, married to Honda's fuel efficient hybrid drivetrain.
But when it was launched, the CR-Z delivers decent but hardly stellar gas mileage, and it's not the rollerskate-on-wheels reincarnation of the CRX--even if it is the only hybrid available with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The 2012 CR-Z is closely related to the 2012 Honda Insight subcompact hybrid hatchback, but Honda calls it a hybrid sports coupe. Still, at 2,600 pounds and 122 horsepower, the CR-Z doesn't channel the handling magic of the CRX--which was 700 pounds lighter. Perhaps Honda should have named it something entirely different, to avoid comparisons the CR-Z is bound to lose. We might view it differently if it were simply called the Insight Coupe or Insight Sport?
For a sporty car, the 2012 Honda CR-Z is reasonably quick and delivers good gas mileage. It's a comfortable car for two people to travel in, as long as they pack light, and it looks good from most angles.
With a base price of less than $20,000, with top-of-the-line versions reaching about $24,000, the CR-Z competes with the MINI Cooper, and probably the all-new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, as well as the less compelling Scion tC. But in reality, CR-Z buyers may also be looking at the new Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic subcompacts. Both are good cars, deliver close to the same highway gas mileage, and run in the same price range. And they have far more interior room and seat four or five people.
- Has the magic "hybrid" badge
- Superb gauge graphics teach better driving
- Higher fuel economy than virtually any other coupe
- Six-speed gearbox adds sportiness to hybrid
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- Weighs as much as an Insight, uses more gas
- Suspension crashes over rough roughs
- Driving fun doesn't come with the CVT
- Very little cargo room