2016 Honda CR-Z Performance Review

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

Scorecard

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)

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