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STYLING | 7 out of 10
Once you pull open the somewhat heavy door, a novel interior design awaits, a kind of cost-conscious, Honda-type attempt to deliver the arty style of a Mini or Fiat 500.
While the production CR-Z lacks some of the muscularity of the concept, it still looks like nothing else on the road; that large, imposing grille and upslanting headlights start a design motif that finishes with a bold swish for a C-pillar and a sculptured rear deck.
…as with so many designs rotating on pedestals, everything's been watered down in the production process.
Inside, the CR-Z is best described as "futuristic busy," with a multicontoured dashboard that has more angles and textures-and storage binnacles-than all four generations of CRX and Insight put together.
The flashy design will make it obvious you aren't a "me-too" person.
The 2013 Honda CR-Z, just three years old, has received some mild styling updates, but the basic--and distinctive--shape remains the same. Despite its small footprint, the two-seat hatchback coupe has a substantial presence on the road, in part due to the wide cabin on such a short wheelbase.
The 2013 CR-Z blends elements of its 1983-1991 CRX ancestor, the first Insight two-seat hybrid coupe of 1999, and elements of the modern-day Insight subcompact whose running gear it shares. Modern-day crash requirements extend the length of the hood and front end, which make the two-seat cabin look very short. The high tail was a theme of both the CRX and first Insight, complete with vertical glass panel for better rear visibility.
The CR-Z's windshield is steeply raked, and the long doors and rising beltline makes the triangular rear side windows very small. Overall the effect is sporty--even if the profile is slightly unbalanced from certain angles. While it's distinctive, we're not convinced that it rises to the level of attractive.
For 2013, Honda has updated the front fascia and given both the headlamps and tail lamps a blue tint, similar to that added to the Insight last year. The CR-Z's front grille now has a mesh texture, rather than horizontal bars, and the rear bumper has an added diffuser section that's aerodynanically functional.
Two new colors also joined the list for 2013, including the deep purple Passion Berry Pearl, and Polished Metal Metallic.
Inside, the dashboard carries over the two-tier display familiar from not only the Insight hybrid but also two generations of the Civic line.The top of the dash wraps around toward the driver, and it's covered in pleasantly soft-touch materials--unlike other, grimmer Honda interiors.
Gauges in blue, green, and red add splashes of color to the CR-Z, and are far more visually appealing than the monochrome scatter of icons, numbers, and displays in some Prius models. Plus, they're educational: The colors can guide you toward more economical driving, with bright, angry red showing maximum performance (high gas consumption), while the more soothing cool green and blue colors show more fuel efficient driving styles.
For 2013, Honda has updated the trim finishes and revised the CR-Z's door panels, which now offer more storage space and feature bottle holders.
The 2013 Honda CR-Z wants to remind you of the classic CRX, but its proportions are off; inside, the instrument colors verge on the gaudy.