The CR-Z has to bridge a huge gap in time—between the unadorned, efficient style of Hondas past and the janky, disjointed look of its current lineup.
While the Insight five-door that spawned it looks relatively clean, the CR-Z amps up a very specific, almost chaotic look. We get outrageous, we get eye-catching—but from most views we don’t really get the CR-Z. The long nose betrays lots of crash structure and carryover pieces from the Insight—unsexy stuff, but it’s made a little more appealing here. It falls apart from the rear, where the CR-Z’s laid-back pillars and thick sideview look tall and low at the same time.
The detail that feels most convincing is the dual-pane glass hatchback you might fondly remember from the CRX. Elsewhere, the CR-Z’s sheetmetal makes us wonder more than it makes us smile.
Inside, the CR-Z gets multi-layered instrument-panel displays—a contemporary design feature we’ve come to expect in Hondas—and the upper portion of the dash curves around to envelop the driver. It’s very high-tech and almost retro. Remember the “Tokyo by night” displays from mid-‘80s Japanese cars? This CR-Z picks up that aesthetic and runs with it, its blue-green-red gauges winking softly, using color to signal how you’re using fuel. There’s plenty of plastic and lots of cutlines across the dash, but a nice soft-touch dash cap and tight fits keep your attention focused on the bright displays and their fuel-economy pachinko game.