2015 Honda CR-Z Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Honda CR-Z was new.


Performance: 7.3

The 2015 Honda CR-Z’s fuel economy is good for a subcompact car, but lackluster for a small hybrid. Reviewers write that the CR-Z is more entertaining to drive than other hybrids, and they like its nimble handling, responsive steering and strong brakes.

  • "When most people hear the word ‘hybrid’ they don't usually think ‘sporty,’ ‘fun’ or ‘fast.’ But, that's just what you'll find behind the wheel of the 2015 Honda CR-Z 2-seat hybrid." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "To its credit, the CR-Z is definitely more fun to drive compared to other mainstream hybrids." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "While others have trashed the fun quotient of the CR-Z I think that by the standards of the class it is the most fun to drive of any of them." -- AutoWeek (2013)

Acceleration and Power 

The 2015 Honda CR-Z is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that produce a combined 130 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional. According to the EPA, the 2015 Honda CR-Z gets up to 36/39 mpg city/highway, which is good for a subcompact car, though unimpressive for a small hybrid. Competitors like the Toyota Prius c use significantly less fuel. The CR-Z comes with a three-mode drive system that adjusts throttle, CVT and steering behavior for Normal, Econ and Sport modes.

Reviewers note that acceleration in the Honda CR-Z is strong initially, but unremarkable at higher speeds. Most test drivers prefer models with the manual transmission, which they think are more fun to drive.

  • "The CR-Z's 6-speed manual transmission is a novelty in this field. And while it many penalize you a few mpg, the fun it delivers is worth its weight in gold." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • With the help of a recently upgraded lithium ion battery pack, total output is rated at 130 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque - up 8 and 12, respectively, over the pre-facelift model, although still not enough for sports car-like acceleration." -- Left Lane News
  • The most fun part -- when drivers really notice the power boost from the hybrid system -- is right off the line. Acceleration in Sport mode is peppy, but above 20 miles per hour there's not much sporting feel to the CR-Z." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • Powertrain performance depends largely on which of the three drive modes you select. Punch the Sport button and the car gets up and goes, while the mpg-maximizing Econ mode makes for noticeably slower acceleration. Most drivers will find the Normal mode just about right." -- Edmunds (2014)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers agree that the 2015 Honda CR-Z feels more nimble than most hybrids, and some add that it handles as well as non-hybrid competitors like the Ford Focus. Critics also appreciate its sharp steering system and responsive brakes.

  • "When it comes to overall handling and braking, however, we'd put the CR-Z squarely in line with the Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Scion tC." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Thanks to its tidy dimensions and quick steering, the 2014 Honda CR-Z is fairly nimble on city streets." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "Handling was light and even nimble, again, by the standards of the class." -- AutoWeek (2013)
  • "Steering feel, on the other hand, is very good, especially with the 3-mode drive system on its Sport setting. Braking is strong and stable with good pedal modulation, which is a pleasant surprise given the unnatural feel of many gas/electric hybrid cars." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

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