2016 Honda CR-Z Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Honda CR-Z was new.


Performance: 7.4

Test drivers say the 2016 Honda CR-Z gets decent acceleration from its engine. The CR-Z handles well, though some class rivals are more athletic. While its fuel economy is good for a small car, the CR-Z is less efficient than rival hybrids.

  • "Despite its compact, athletic footprint, though, the CR-Z is still something of a letdown. Its EPA rating of up to 37 mpg combined is impressive relative to gas-only models, but falls short of other hybrids that routinely achieve 40 mpg and more." -- Edmunds
  • Drivers looking to achieve both a sporty driving experience and excellent fuel efficiency will be disappointed with the CR-Z. Making the most of the CR-Z's limited sporting attributes in the city, drivers will see fuel economy numbers closer to the mid-20 mpg range, rather than the mid-30 mpg range that Honda claims. If customers come at it from another mentality, however, they will find the CR-Z much more enjoyable. We figure the word to best describe the CR-Z is quirky." -- AutoTrader
  • "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 (2015)
  • "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 2016 Honda CR-Z features a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine to produce 130 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard. A continuously variable transmission (CVT), which works like an automatic, is available.

The CR-Z gets an EPA-estimated 31/38 mpg city/highway with the standard manual transmission and 36/39 mpg with the available CVT. The CR-Z's fuel economy is slightly above average for a subcompact car, but it is worse than the fuel economy of many other small hybrid cars.

The Honda CR-Z's engine delivers lively acceleration off the line. Above 20 mph, acceleration is adequate, but not particularly sporty. The CR-Z is one of the only hybrids on the market available with a manual transmission. The manual shifts precisely and is fun to use, although the optional CVT does increase fuel efficiency.

  • The most fun part, when drivers really notice the power boost from the hybrid system, is right off the line. … But above 20 miles per hour, there's not much of a high-performance feel to the CR-Z." -- AutoTrader
  • With 130 hp on tap, the Honda CR-Z has enough pep to warrant the occasional detour from your planned commute, but not much more. … Both transmissions work well; the six-speed manual offers easy action and a nice mechanical feel, while the CVT feels moderately sporty by virtue of its steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2015)
  • 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 (2015)

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive is standard on the CR-Z. Though it won't be confused for a sports car, the CR-Z provides sprightly handling in most situations and performs as well as some non-hybrid competitors. There is good steering feel and the brakes are strong.

  • Honda has touted the CR-Z as a sport hybrid. But in spite of its sport-inspired features, the CR-Z isn't actually very sporty. However, it is quite agile, gripping the corners confidently, and the engine sounds energetic at higher rpm." -- AutoTrader
  • Tidy dimensions and quick steering make the 2016 Honda CR-Z fairly nimble on city streets. But push harder around tight turns and the little Honda offers less balance and grip than you'd expect given its sporty style and two-seat cockpit. If you really care about small car handling, a more athletic rival like the Fiesta ST is a better fit." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2015)
  • "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)

Find the Best Price

Enter your zip code to get local pricing.

Get Dealer Quotes

To get dealer quotes, enter your zip code.

Search Used Listings

To search used listings, enter your zip code.

Change Location

Enter your zip code to see listings near you.

Please enter a valid zipcode

Best Price Program

Interested in a New?

Use the U.S. News Best Price Program to find great deals and get upfront pricing on the.