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Review: 2013 Honda CR-Z

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The 2013 Honda CR-Z is a refresh of the company’s original offering a few years ago. With its hybrid setup and edgy styling, the 2013 CR-Z hopes to appeal to those wanting a sporty yet eco-friendly ride while at the same time not breaking the bank. Does it live up to its goal? Is it a more worthy purchase than its predecessor? Read on to find out.

Under the Hood

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The CR-Z’s hybrid system is comprised of a 1.5L, 4-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor and a lithium ion battery pack. Together, the system is able to create up to 130bhp and 140lb-ft of torque, with a 0-60mph sprint of approximately 9seconds. Testing the 2013 Honda CR-Z, the car’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system paired with its fuel-saving CVT transmission is able to achieve 37mpg combined. This seems paltry in comparison to the same system installed in the Honda Insight which is able to achieve 42mpg combined. Using a six-speed manual transmission, mileage drops to 34mpg combined.

Transmission & Handling

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If you enjoy more control in your driving experience, opt for six-speed manual transmission variant of the CR-Z. The feature is very much rare in hybrids so the inclusion of one in this vehicle is a welcome addition. As far as handling goes, the CR-Z is very much respectable. Its suspension system is very responsive without being uncomfortable. Cornering is great with the car, although the car’s front-heavy weight distribution makes it to have a tendency to understeer when pushed to its speed limit. Body roll is also very minimal.

Drive Modes

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Three distinct modes are available for the CR-Z: Sport, Eco and Manual. The Sport mode, obviously, gives the driver access to the car’s power as much as possible. As such, the configuration gives up the electric assist easily to provide the maximum 130bhp of the vehicle. The electric power steering is also less felt on the the Sport mode, thus providing a much more natural feel when driving. The Eco mode, on the other hand, is more conservative and lessens the engine power by up to 4%. In the said condition, the throttle response of the CR-Z is very much lethargic, with the car feeling as if it gained a few hundred pounds. Lastly, Normal mode, as the name suggests, offers the best balance of performance and fuel economy.

A fourth mode, dubbed S+, is a new addition to the 2013 CR-Z. Pressing it in CVT-equipped models enables the car to rev up to the redline, consequently providing a steady source of acceleration for a full five seconds. Albeit a bit gimmicky, the S+ mode is a nice little addition to the overall appeal of the CR-Z.

Visual Aesthetics

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From the previous model, not much has changed with the 2013 CR-Z. Small changes on the grille, minimal front fascia alterations and a redesigned bumper is what you get on the outside. Inside, a pseudo-3D speedometer and multi-color information controls are very much modern-looking. Seats are also well-crafted, as well as the overall design of the gauges and the center console.

However, if you are looking for a practical ride for city driving with friends, you will not get it from the CR-Z. It features no rear seats, just a plastic cargo shelf behind the front seats.


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The 2013 Honda CR-Z is quite a good incremental improvement to the company’s hybrid sports-coupe offering. It’s also very fun to drive and very responsive as well. However, starting at $20,765 with the base configuration, competition is a bit steep considering that the Hyundai Veloster/Veloster Turbo offers more performance and luxury for a bit more price. And of course, there’s the ever reliable Toyota Prius C.