Fans of Honda's old CRX have been anticipating the CR-Z, not so much an update but as a modern interpretation. The CR-Z is a new hybrid sports car from Honda, and as such, has no direct competition.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Honda lowered the grille on the CR-Z to emphasize its ground-hugging nature, while retaining Honda styling DNA in the front end.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
With two doors and two seats, the CR-Z isn't the most practical car around; however, its hatchback gives you a good amount of cargo space.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
This front-wheel-drive car uses disc brakes all around, and recovers energy to recharge the battery while slowing. It uses MacPherson struts for its front suspension, while its rear relies on a torsion beam.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The cover for the cargo area offers three positions, a clever bit of engineering that lets you adjust the size of the space for different sized objects.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
In other parts of the world, the space behind the front seats gets two small rear seats. But in the U.S. this space is used for a cargo shelf.
Photo by: Honda
The dashboard in this photo is from the top-trim CR-Z, an EX model with navigation. Honda put some nice touches in its interior design, such as semisoft surfaces and tin door handle covers with an interesting finish.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The CR-Z uses electric power steering, which Honda tuned reasonably tight for a sports car feel.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
In Normal drive mode, the ambient ring in the tachometer lights up in blue. But when you switch the car to Eco mode, the ring turns green. Honda uses red for Sport mode to signal the aggressive tuning.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The monochrome display in the lower right shows a number of different screens, including power flow. This screen shows three different fuel economy ratings, letting different drivers compete for best mpg.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The Eco guide screen can offers useful information for more economical driving, except it is a little too far out of the view forward for frequent consultation.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
We were surprised to find a six-speed-manual transmission in the CR-Z, as all other hybrids use some form of automatic transmission. The manual version of the car does not get as good of gas mileage as the CVT version does; however, it is more fun.
Photo by: Honda
The three different drive modes are easy to engage with buttons on the right of the instrument panel.
Photo by: Honda
Honda has offered this navigation system in various of its models for some years now. It really could use an update.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
An iPod and USB port sits at the bottom of the stack, hidden in a convenient little enclosure.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Out on the autocross course, the suspension shows some travel in a corner.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The CR-Z's all-season tires let it slip in the turns, although none of the autocross drivers got completely out of control.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Honda packs a 1.5-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine under the hood, along with its Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system, which adds a 10-kilowatt motor into the power train.
Photo by: Honda
In this cutaway view, the electric motor can be seen sitting between engine and transmission.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The rear of the car holds the nickel metal hydride battery pack and motor control units.
Photo by: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
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