The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2014 Honda CR-Z its highest rating of "Good" for frontal offset and side-impact crash tests, as well as for roof strength. The institute rated the earlier 2011 model only as "Acceptable" for roof strength, with Honda modifying the car to improve its score. Due to its meager sales, the IIHS hasn't rated the CR-Z on its new small-overlap crash test.
The CR-Z gets an overall four-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)--one star below the highest level. It gets four stars for frontal crash and five stars for rollover, but only three for side impact. Again, the 2011 model scored even lower, and 2012 and later models were upgraded and re-tested.
Perhaps the car's most obvious safety flaw is the appalling lack of outward visibility to the rear. While the little Honda can slot into the most minimal parking space, the process of getting it in won't be any fun.
The CR-Z's roof pillars are thick, its rear quarter windows are minuscule, and the bar that connects the two slit-like tailgate windows--one short and vertical, the other long but almost horizontal--splits the scene in the rear-view mirror in half. That means rear three-quarter vision is almost non-existent; and there are no good angles to show the driver what's behind and to the side of the car.
We did, however, appreciate the hill assist feature. It keeps the brakes engaged on manual-transmission cars when they are stopped on a slope. Honda fits six airbags to the two-seat car: dual front, side, and side-curtain bags, plus active head restraints for the seats. And the CR-Z has the usual suite of electronic safety systems, including anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and tire-pressure warning sensors.