Car Review Honda CRZ Hybrid Nice Try Didn& t Work Mobile Geek com

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Honda CR-Z Electric Cars

Deal of the Day

The Honda CR-Z hybrid combines a good-looking car with a hybrid engine and the is underwhelming. The fuel economy is in the and the infotainment systems show age, this for a model than a year old. The overall can t deliver what the exterior and Star Wars panel promise.

The CR-Z sells for $20,000-$24,000, depending on level.

Love the Cockpit

Hop inside the diminutive CR-Z and you ll in love with the cockpit. It like what the dashboard of a starfighter would look

The lighting even changes with the economy mode of the

I especially liked the big digital speedometer front and center, and the pair of glossy black arrayed vertically, framing the edges of the instrument panel: on the left (photo), climate on the right.

Seeing the instrument in the dealer showroom sets you in the frame of mind to like the

Hard-to-Read Gas Gauge

I was not a fan of the horizontal graph that displays level (see red overlay). It was to tell at a glance how much you had left. Better the 20 segments arranged in a small circle or vertically.

The charge-discharge indicator left in the picture, but not showing any since the car was parked for the photo) is a of simplicity: Bar extends left of the battery pack is charging; bar right of center, the battery is providing power and discharging. The here is that you want to with some precision how fuel remains, whereas all you about charge / discharge is way it s going, and if it s a little or a lot. The time you buy a Prius, you go gaga the swirl of arrows and diagrams the flow of power that up the LCD display, but for all but the most rabid and the soon-bored neighbors forced to the demonstration, it gets old in a hurry.

Olde Tyme Navigation

The car is new. The navigation system old. (It is old.) It gets you you re going is the best you can say of it. Oddly for a car so I had a hard time reaching to the buttons on the right side of the system. Maps are 2D only, the are like stick figures, and s no real time traffic or weather feed as on more Hondas and Acura navigation units.

For this, you pay an $1,800 and that does not include a needed rear camera, is not available.

iPod Adapter in a Cubbyhole

A USB adapter sits in a just below the navigation It holds an iPod and the cubby has for your cellphone as well, but no jack inside. Honda have lined the bottom of the with a rubber pad to protect easily scratched iPod

The USB jack comes on all models. are two voice command buttons, more modern systems as Ford Sync. Both are on the left of the steering wheel; the button is the one farther back.

PC Cards as Well

On cars the navigation package, you access the player by pressing a button makes the faceplate slide out and Not elegant, but you re probably not playing CDs. Just above the CD is a shocker an opening marked PC Find a PC Card adapter for an SD or CF Card, and you ve got one more way to bring into the car. So you could an iPod connected to the USB jack and tunes on the PC Card.

The PC Card is technology, but it works.

Why an iPod a Music Key on the CR-X

Often, the and cheapest way to have a lot of music in the car is to buy an 8GB or USB memory key for $25-$50 and load it songs. You can do that here, but you re happy hitting Random you ll find it s difficult to scroll what is essentially a flat of artists or albums. The CR-Z is for of AC/DC, Abba (forgive or Britney because they re at the you ll take too long scrolling to Rihanna or ZZ Top.

With the iPod, you re best from playlists. The voice doesn t let you call out the name of

The audio system on the CR-Z EX is give or take the interface. You a decent amount of music Satellite radio is a dealer-install only, at $310 for the module installation, or $400-$500 total.

could have integrated it the radio head unit for a few but didn t.

Separate Button, Input for Bluetooth

Honda s interface requires you to use separate for navigation (lots of control navi) and audio (basic on the one hand, and for phone control on the To access the phone button, you to reach back in the lower corner behind the steering It s a bit awkward.

Looks Like a Seat. It Isn t.

Spaceships are tight for The Honda CR-Z is a bit cramped for although legroom is fine and are two shallow bins where the two seats would have if it weren t for the hybrid batteries. To me, non-seats were a constant of the tradeoffs to make this car a

The not-the-rear seatback flips for better luggage storage to hide what s sitting on the cushions.

Listen to Katy s Advice: Don t Ever Look

The CR-Z s limited rear is problematic when you re changing or looking through the inside view mirror because the rear window divider is in the or when backing up. Usually you get the navigation system, you also get a camera. Not here.

Nor does the car with backup sonar and spot detection. If ever a car benefit from a few electronic technologies, this is it. Even destined for winding country have to parallel park in a while.

On the Road: Fun to Drive. Stiff. Thing It s Not a Sport Suspension

the Honda CR-Z was fun for the most It s zippy when you stand on the gas but it s no ship. I had the six-speed manual and it was fun to shift when you wanted than when an eco-minded made up its mind. The manual is fun but the majority of buyers are going a CVT and they get paddle shifters on the wheel, seven virtual if you use the paddles, and almost 10% better 37 mpg overall vs.

34 mpg overall. Honda benefits from a low-resistance include plastic shrounds on the to minimize wind resistance. My with the stick was around 30 mpg but included some late weather.

Still, you can tailor driving and the car s response by pushing the buttons. Pressing Eco lowers response; Sport is more at the cost of some fuel Unlike on $75,000 European the Eco (or Comfort) and Sport settings no effect on suspension tuning the CR-X has a purely mechanical

The suspension felt sporty, passengers will translate to and with the short 96-inch the CR-Z was not fully at home on pavement. There is no sport variant from Honda, I think is fine for this car, although you can order up worth of aerodynamic panels and big that look sporty, and party tuners will add handling and power if you desire. has a deal with Mugen to some go-fast parts as accessories.

The gasoline engine is a four-cylinder producing 122 hp, aided by a electric motor driven by a 5.75-Ah nickel metal battery. Honda calls it Motor Assist. Think of the motor as a big starter motor provides a bit of turbocharging-like assistance you step on the throttle (the part), reusing power when you last decelerated green part). The battery fits under the rear and extends into the rear area. Unlike the Toyota Honda hybrids only run the motor when the gasoline is on.

Honda hybrids don t run on electric alone. Honda, an engineering at heart, says the mpg and environmental are modest for a hybrid that at uses electric-only propulsion. s marketing side knows whatever the benefits, buyers cars that can go for a mile or two on power.

Long term, a hybrid battery pack may its way into lots of cars to the energy lost from Honda may have the right long-term.

Hybrids use deceleration and to recharge the battery pack. The brakes felt like brakes and didn t suffer the that infects other when the brake pedal is by the drag of the motor generator.

In if you re in economy mode, the air conditioner off when you come to a stop and the stops. Many hybrids now let you the AC running via battery power.

The CR-Z Models

The base CR-Z runs $20,995 shipping, the CR-Z EX with headlamps and better audio $21,655, and the CR-Z EX with runs $23,455. Add $650 for the CVT transmission. Other than paint colors, there are no factory options.

The exterior determines the seat color. the dealer you order the overpriced radio and an auto-dimming mirror the usual carpet mats and edge protectors.

Should You Buy .

when a lumpish Harvard MBA of Wall Street marries a swimsuit model, they good looking kids enough smarts to return in 18 to the Ivy League for schooling. Other the combination yields airheads by the ugly stick. Honda up splitting the difference between two scenarios with the CR-Z.

As a the CR-Z doesn t blow you with fuel economy. A that only uses the motor when the gasoline runs is a called a mild and that s an apt description here. At 8-1/2 seconds 0-60 it s not a strong performer on the sporty So you re left with niches for the such as: You want a hybrid car has a six-speed manual. Or simply: You a hybrid that feels a sports car.

In that, the CR-Z is unique. It s fun to

The other downside is the mediocre technology in a year-old vehicle. The system is aging, it costs it lacks a backup camera, and the car runs $3,360 more the entry CR-Z.

In terms of there are non-hybrid cars about the same fuel performance, and cachet, particularly the Cooper (review), which has something that passes for a seat. You could also a 40 mpg (highway) Hyundai Elantra ), a notably non-sporting car, it with a better suspension a tuner, or just go to a Hyundai Coupe with its stiff stiff) suspension (review ), all for the same price. Staying the Honda family, you could choose to hot-rod a Honda

Should you buy this car? You to think long and hard. It s not of hybrid if you measure it by fuel and it s not much of a sports car if you measure it by handling.

Honda CR-Z Electric Cars

Nor is it much of a cockpit-technology car you ve seen the navigation system. If were baseball, that be three strikes and out.

For this is a period where the past misses outnumbered the In the previous year Honda by best minivan of all time, the Odyssey (review ), but that was by the CR-Z and the offbeat, crossover-ish Crosstour (review ). Better may lie ahead. Big brother Acura is away from the in-your-face shield with the excellent TSX wagon (review ) and the next-generation Civic is getting good even in advance of its spring


Base audio AM/FM with six speakers, 160 watts

Upgrade audio AM/FM with seven speakers, 360

USB / iPod jack Standard

Line-in jack Standard

N/A CR-Z, Standard CR-Z EX

— 6 (2 front, 2 side, 2 air curtain)

Dynamic stability (DSC) Standard

Traction Standard

Electronic brake distribution (EBD) Standard

pressure monitoring system Standard

Embedded telematics N/A

calling N/A

Also: LED brake all models, xenon headlamps EX)

2011 Honda CR-Z

General specs Front-engine, two-passenger hybrid sports 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline 122 hp. Electric motor, 13 hp. NiMH 100.8 volts, 5.75 Ah.

161 x 69 x 55 (L x W x H), 2,637 2,707 pounds.

EPA rating 31 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, 34 mpg (manual transmission). 35/39/37 mpg Regular gasoline.

Price (CR-Z, including $750 to $24,105 (CR-Z EX with and options) to estimated $25,000 satellite radio, auto-dimming mirror)

Competitors Mini (non-hybrid, similar mpg,

2011 Honda CR-X in

Pro — Great dashboard, manual transmission, exterior standard USB.

Con Mediocre for hybrid. Old navigation system. rear vision. Stiff No Bluetooth on base model. satellite radio option.

line — The Honda s dashboard-to-die-for doesn t compensate for the of a new car with an old navigation system, a with so-so fuel and a suspension too stiff for some and not sporty enough for serious

Honda CR-Z Electric Cars
Honda CR-Z Electric Cars
Honda CR-Z Electric Cars
Honda CR-Z Electric Cars
Honda CR-Z Electric Cars

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