The Honda CR-Z Is a Fun and Under-Appreciated Sport Hybrid

The Honda CR-Z was a two-seat mild hybrid sport coupe that was fun to drive but missed the market in terms of fuel economy and performance. That’s interesting, considering Honda intended for it to be a “sporty hybrid” that would take the place of the long-gone CR-X and provide some pint-sized competition to cars like the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that competitive and during its time in production it was very under-appreciated.

The Honda CR-Z is fine in a vacuum

2012 Honda CR-Z | Honda

We have written about the Honda CR-Z before and mentioned that the critics liked it when it was in production, for the most part, but it didn’t withstand the test of time due to its unpragmatic configuration and less-than-sporty nature. But our argument now is that if you look at the Honda CR-Z in a vacuum, or as a standalone car with no competitors, then it kind of makes sense.

It didn’t make that much sense when it came out because it was a hybrid car that only achieved an EPA-estimated 33 mpg (combined) compared to a Toyota Prius of the same model year, which was able to get around 48 mpg according to the EPA. On top of that, it only pushed out 122 hp out of its 1.5-liter hybrid powertrain, which was on par with the MINI Cooper, but not enough power to back up its aggressive look. Not even the update that included a facelift and slight bump in horsepower raised any eyebrows.

2013 Honda CR-Z Interior
2013 Honda CR-Z Interior | Honda

It makes for a good commuter

But if you can see past its flaws and shortcoming, the Honda CR-Z is actually a spunky little commuter that’s great if you only need seating for two. After that 2013 update, Honda also introduced a “Sport +” button on the steering wheel that would give the car a five-second boost of electric power from the battery, provided that it had enough juice in it, to begin with. It was a gimmick, but it was fun. Let’s face it, the Honda CR-Z won’t win many stoplight drag races nor any hypermiling challenges, but it will put a smile on your face almost as much as a Mazda Miata can.

Before any Miata lovers get miffed, the keyword in that last sentence was “almost.” We should probably also remind you that it was one of the only hybrids to be available with a six-speed manual transmission, which was smooth shifting and had nicely spaced gear ratios to complement the quirky powertrain. A CVT was also available, but that transmission made it way too boring to drive despite the fact that it bumped up fuel economy a little.  But in any case, there can be an argument made for the CR-Z if all you need is something fun to get around in and can get decent gas mileage. After all, that’s what Honda intended it to be.

2013 Honda CR-Z Interior Sport Plus Button
2013 Honda CR-Z Interior Sport Plus Button | Honda

Is the Honda CR-Z Making a Comeback?

They are getting more rare

If you ever do find yourself wanting something unique, then the Honda CR-Z won’t be the worst car-buying decision you’ve ever made. However, they are getting rarer as time goes on since Honda was only able to sell a few thousand of them for the last few years it was on the market until 2016.

The good news, though, is that there isn’t much of a demand for them so you can find them for anywhere between $3,000 to $12,000, which is sure to fit almost any budget. So if you want a small commuter car that can get decent gas mileage, then the Honda CR-Z is worth a look. But if you want something that’s super fuel-efficient or super-powerful, then look elsewhere.