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Car Tech Video: 2011 Honda CR-Z
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Car Tech Video: 2011 Honda CR-Z

6:28 /

Although it's a fun, low-power car with sharp looks, the 2011 Honda CR-Z gains little from its hybrid system, and its cabin tech is barely average.

It's the spiritual descendant of the legendary Honda CRX but, now in hybrid form. But is there any real reason it should be? Let's inspect the 2011 Honda CR-Z and check the tech. As soon as you get in to a CR-Z, you get the feeling it's the spiritual descendant of the original inside, that little 2 sitter space pod transporter thing they made for awhile. And then up here in the front is very cockpitty sort of a layout, just like the original inside but very different information in gauges. Let's take a tour. On the upper left is our battery level, the modern equivalent of the fuel gauge. Well of course, this is not an electric car, there's also a fuel gauge there on the right. Below down on the left is the charge or a [unk] kind of a digital swing needle telling you if you're tapping battery or if you're regenerating juice back in to the battery. Below the fuel gauge is an estimation of instantaneous MPG. And on right there, a lot of things on an LCD, the most interesting of which is the Eco Guide that should be called the hypermiling gauge. It tells you to stay in the middle, right in that middle line, not to accelerate too hard nor decelerate too hard because that squanders momentum if you get on the brakes and you're like slowing down and speeding up. So that's a different kind of gauge than the one that tells you just to be light foot on the accelerator. So, lots of things here to tell you go green. The last one that does that is the color of that center gauge which is your speedometer both digital and tachometer analog around it, 3 modes: Sport and the Corona turns red; normal, that Corona goes anywhere from deep blue to light blue to green depending how greenly your driving; ECON, you get into the green mode here. This is where the car will change behavior and sport mode you're tapping into the electric motor the most to get the most sprightly torque in performance. In Normal mode it's a balance of the 2. In ECON mode it's the opposite, you're using electric boost the least. The last trick this car does to be efficient is automatic start-stop. Come to a stop, the engine dies. Lift off the brake and it restarts the engine. Let's go to the headunit. We've got the optional navigation true level on this car. I'm not a big fan of this headunit. It's okay. No, it's not. It's kinda crunchy. Here's the map. You can hardly read half the streets, the pixilation's ghastly. It looks like something I would sketch with a set of colored pencils. But, I'm not gonna go on about that, you've heard me a hundred times. Entering destinations and such is not difficult, large touch screen buttons, and you've also, you got some beep feedback here. The voice command is not much use. So, just use the touch screen. It's a basic navigation system as you can see here it's GPS DVD based, your DVD it is behind that little door. Behind here is your single CD slot and above that is the largely worthless PC card. Good thing we have a door to close over that mass 'cause not much in there is very exciting. AM/FM on this car, no HD Radio, XM is A La Carte, we don't have it. My USB Pigtail which is down here in the console and because their car is in EX as well as having nav we've got the better audio system. We have 7 speakers. One of those is an 8-inch sub. This is an automatic but it's a CVT, not a [unk] based automatic, continuously variable transmission hence, the very simple gate but you do have paddles up here and that little thing there about the size of a coffee grinder is the engine on the CR-Z. One and a half liter in Line 4, set aside [unk] as you can see, using Honda's now well known IMA, Integrated Motor Assist. That means they've taken the alternator and the starter combine them into one so it handles those 2 jobs and it's also your electric boost motor and it's also your magnetic fly wheel for regenerating power from engine deceleration. So 4 things happen in one device that used to be 2: the starter and the alternator. Your numbers aren't real impressive on this guy, a 122 horse power, a 123 foot pounds of torque. 0 to 60? Yes. Most importantly though MPG, 35 CV, 39 highway. -Driving a CR-Z is a compact little experience, a whole lot of room here. But it's a nice little cabin. -When you're on your way, things are taught not terribly isolated from the road. It's not a terribly smooth vehicle to drive. The engines' got a bit of a roughness, kinda all the time. I don't know what that is. But, it's almost like a quaint, charming roughness. Just leave it at that. The real issues come when you're in everyday city driving, stopping and going between the CVT and the Stop and Go technology, it's a little bit frustrating. So I've come to a stop here and then I go. And then I come to a stop and then I go. And the engine is always starting and stopping and it's kinda slow to do so. It takes a heartbeat or 2 longer than you expected to. So for, touch and go, tap and go driving, it gets pretty tedious. It's much better on more open boulevards and such and of course, does fine on the highway. But here's the total pain in the ass of this car, it's rearward quarter visibility. Look out the back and to the sides. You can't! This is massive structure of plastic and metal. The mount rush more of I-can't-see is right back there. Makes me crazy. Common garden variety lane changes are white knuckle. No 2 ways about it. There's no blind spot technology available on this car. So you're on your own. You got a mirror and you got a prayer book and that's about it. Yes, you do have a transom windows straight back there but that's only good for straight back stuff. I tell you, Sport mode is the hidden gem on this vehicle which is ironic because it's the least efficient mode. This car is actually a fun little runabout when you are in Sport mode. -A CR-Z basis is just under 20 grand and that's how I'd order it. Skip the navigation model if you add 1800 bucks and get your own after market Nav headunit. At that point, you might also wanna skip the EX stream level with its uprighted stereo and blue tooth hands-free you'll get all that on headunit you put in for Nav. The 4 glides in high intensity discharge head lamps that come on the EX level, you can probably buy as dealer parts and put those in yourself.

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