When I first laid eyes on the new Honda CRZ, I like a lot of other gearheads figured, it’s the rebirth of the CRX. Sadly, though, it is not.
For those who don’t recall, the CRX was a lovely little two-door hatch based on the Civic, and it went like stink. The car was relatively fast, frugal, and cornered like a baby Ferrari.
And though the CRZ has the looks, and then some, it is a hybrid which brings mixed blessings. Now, I’m fine with hybrids, and sooner or later we are all going to have to make a switch to something more fuel-efficient, but this one shares the hybrid system of the Honda Insight, which is part of the problem.
First the good. The looks are spectacular. The CRZ is chiseled, extreme, and a perfect 21st century version of some of the cool sports machines we all grew up with. Inside, it is spacey, cool and just plain entertaining without being distracting.
Handling is good…actually very good, but the car weighs 600 pounds more than it otherwise would due to the hybrid powertrain with it’s Honda Integrated Motor Assist. It’s a 1.5-liter, 113 horsepower gas engine mated to a 13-horsepower electric motor.
But here’s the strange thing, and the reason there will soon be a standard gasoline powered CRZ next year. The care gets about 31 miles to the gallon city, 37 highway. You will do better with an Insight or Prius and even a Civic Si is faster. Frankly, the CRZ is as slow as congress. 0-60 comes in almost 11 seconds. That roughly equivalent to a late 60’s MGB and slower than the mid-80’s CRX.
And, though the power steering is electrically driven, the air conditioning compressor is driven by a belt. When the engine cuts off at a red light, so does the cool. That is an incredible blunder by Honda who normally doesn’t make blunders.
All in all, The CRX is only average on economy and as slow as a 60’s British sports car. That leaves it’s spectacular looks. We’ll see if that’s enough.