Despite its sporty look, the 2013 Honda CR-Z lacks a bit when it comes to power. However, it does offer a fun driving experience that cannot be said to other conventional hybrids. Thrifty car shoppers will also appreciate the affordable price tag of this hybrid two-door hatchback.
NEW FOR THE 2013 HONDA CR-Z
o New lithium-ion battery pack
o Slight improvement in horsepower
o Fresh styling
o Expanded list of standard equipment
UNDER THE HOOD
A 1.5-liter i-VTEC gasoline engine complemented with an electric motor is the sole powertrain option for the 2013 Honda CR-Z. Total output for this powertrain is rated at 130 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque. With the help of the standard six-speed manual gearbox or the optional continuously variable transmission, the power produced by the engine is directed to the vehicle’s front wheels.
Based on EPA fuel economy tests, a CR-Z equipped with manual transmission delivers a mileage of 31/38 mpg. The CVT automatic-equipped version, on the other hand, registers at 36/39 mpg.
ON THE ROAD
Although the CR-Z’s 130 horsepower may not be much, the addition of a three-mode drive selector greatly helps in boosting its performance. Drivers can choose from the Sport, Econ and Normal modes to achieve preferred level of acceleration. Among the three, the Sport mode provides enhanced throttle and steering response. The Econ mode maximizes mileage, but reduces acceleration, while the Normal mode is just about right for daily driving. For those who want more power, there is the Power Sport or “S+” button, which when pushed gives an extra jolt of torque that delivers added level of acceleration to the vehicle.
Both the six-speed manual and CVT are good, while steering, handling and braking are also commendable, allowing the vehicle to perform safe cornering and passing maneuvers.
One complaint most test drivers have about the CR-Z is that it tends to lose some of its agility when pushed hard and there is more body roll to the vehicle. In addition, road noise tends to be louder at accelerated speeds. Despite all these, though, the 2013 CR-Z performs better than most conventional hybrids.
INSIDE THE 2013 HONDA CR-Z
Inside, the 2013 Honda CR-Z still has the two-tier dashboard that is covered in soft-touch materials. All the controls are easy to use and placed within reach, while the combination of blue, red and green tones in the gauges adds vibrancy to the CR-Z.
Where other markets receive a rear seat in their CR-Zs, the American version of this hatchback can only accommodate two. Replacing the rear seat is a pair of storage bins beneath a flip-down panel. The point of this design is to better associate the CR-Z with Honda’s popular two-seat CRX. Unfortunately, it sacrificed some of the vehicle’s practicality, including its passenger capacity and rear visibility.
In terms of comfort, the sport seats are very comfortable and supportive. However, taller drivers and passengers will find the legroom a bit on the low side. Total cargo space, which stands at 25.1 cubic feet, is also small compared to subcompact five-door hatchback with its rear seat folded down. The cargo’s high floor also means owners cannot easily fit in larger rectangular boxes inside.
The 2013 Honda CR-Z is available in two different trims: base and EX. As opposed to some of its rivals, the CR-Z comes with a good list of standard features.
Base models are equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, power accessories, automatic climate control, cruise control, cloth upholstery, cargo cover, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable driver seat, rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity and an audio system with six speakers, 160-watt receiver and USB port and iPod interface.
Like most Honda vehicles, optional features to the 2013 CR-Z can be had by opting for a higher trim level. So stepping up from the base model to the EX trim gives buyers xenon headlamps, fog lamps, LED daytime running lights, heated mirrors, leather-clad steering wheel, metallic interior trim, two-tone upholstery and a premium audio system with seven speakers and a subwoofer. An optional navigation system is also available to the CR-Z EX models. The said system comes complete with a 6.5 touchscreen display, which has voice controls, SMS reporting and Pandora Internet radio.
Photo credit: thecarconnection.com