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GREEN | 7 out of 10
2012 Honda CR-Z: 35/39 mpg (CVT); 31/37 mpg (manual)
In absolute terms, the 2012 Honda CR-Z gets better-than-average gas mileage. With the continuously-variable transmission, it's rated by the EPA at 35 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, for a combined 37 mpg. That falls to 34 mpg if you opt for the six-speed manual gearbox, which gives 31 mpg city, 37 mpg highway.
The problem is that to get there, the CR-Z fits Honda's mild-hybrid system--which compromises the driving fun a sporty-looking two-seat car should deliver--in a vehicle that's as heavy as the five-door Honda Insight, which gets better mileage and holds more people and more of their stuff. Both of those cars are smaller than the Toyota Prius, the ur-hybrid, which delivers a combined rating of 50 mpg. And the CR-Z compares almost straight across to the much larger, far more luxurious Ford Fusion Hybrid mid-size sedan--proving that just because a car is small doesn't mean it's thrifty.
Sadly, the CR-Z tries to strike a compromise between the fuel efficiency of a hybrid and the small, sporty character of a two-seat coupe--and ends up not doing either particularly well.
The 2012 Honda CR-Z delivers lower gas mileage than its small size and limited interior space would indicate, while compromising its sports-car ambitions to get there.