2016 Honda CR-Z Review

CR-Z

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2016 Honda CR-Z Overview

Though it’s not immensely practical, the 2-passenger 2016 Honda CR-Z might nevertheless appeal to those who want a semi-sporty fuel-efficient hybrid commuter with enough toting space for a couple of golf bags or a week’s worth of groceries. This 3-door compact hybrid hatchback comes pretty well equipped in all 3 trims, the LX, EX, and EX-L w/Nav (navigation).

Available only in front-wheel drive (FWD) and sporting a mere 25.1 cubic feet of cargo area behind the two seats, the CR-Z gets a few updates for 2016, including an enhanced suspension, upgraded brakes, and “active sound generation,” which creates an artificial engine note that makes the CR-Z sound more like a normal car than a hybrid. Further improvements for the upcoming year’s CR-Z include redesigned bumpers, LED headlight elements, added exterior color choices, reworked wheel designs, an electronic parking brake, an audio display, Honda’s LaneWatch lane-keeping assistance, and keyless entry and ignition.

Returning appearance and cabin features include 16-inch alloy wheels, cloth or leather-trimmed upholstery, full power accessories, cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, automatic climate control, and a rear-view camera. Newly improved next-gen HondaLink apps are incorporated into a 6.5-inch infotainment display in all trims; the entry-level LX boasts a CD/MP3 player with 6 speakers and an auxiliary audio input, the EX adds a premium 7-speaker system, and the EX-L w/Nav tosses in a standard GPS navigation system, internet radio, and a multi-angle rear-view camera.

You can also spruce up your CR-Z with available extras like 17-inch wheels mounting performance tires, or dealer-installed accessories like floor mats, cargo management tools, added exterior chrome, a rear spoiler, various exterior protection offerings, and LED front fog/driving lights.

The 2016 CR-Z is powered by a 1.5-liter gasoline-fired engine mated to a 15- kilowatt lithium-ion-battery-powered electric motor and a standard 6-speed manual transmission. Look for 130 total hp and 140 lb-ft of torque from the stick-shift version, while a CR-Z equipped with the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) drops torque figures to 127 lb-ft. There are also 3 driver-selectable settings, Normal, Eco, and Sport, that tweak throttle response, climate-control output, and shift points to suit your mood, while the standard Plus Sport System gives you some extra acceleration as long as the battery is more than 50 percent charged and the vehicle traveling faster than 19 mph. Other drivetrain features include regenerative braking, automatic engine stop/start, and hill-start assist.

EPA mileage estimates for the current CR-Z come in at 31 mpg city/38 highway/34 combined with the manual transmission and 36/39/37 for the CVT.

Standard safety equipment aboard the 2016 CR-Z includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, side-mounted airbags, head curtain airbags, and active head restraints. All trims also come with daytime running lights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, and a remote antitheft alarm, while the EX and EX-L w/Nav add standard LED front fog/driving lights and high-intensity discharge headlights. For 2016, the EX and EX-L w/Nav also boast the LaneWatch lane-keeping assistance technology we mentioned above.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the current CR-Z 4 out of 5 stars in overall crashworthiness, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awards the CR-Z its highest rating of Good in all safety tests.

Owners of current CR-Z variants are not impressed with this subcompact hatchback’s side and rearward visibility, and the lack of a rear seat doesn't make it all that family-friendly. Owners do, however, laud the CR-Z for its stylish design, heady driving dynamics, and, of course, its excellent fuel economy. Look for the 2016 CR-Z to once again challenge Toyota’s Prius C, Ford’s Fiesta ST, and the normally powered but still efficient MINI Cooper.

Updated
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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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