2011 Honda CR-Z hybrid gets low score from Consumer Reports

Article by Christian A., on December 8, 2010

After subjecting the Honda CR-Z to several tests, Consumer Reports concluded that the vehicle is reliable but is not recommended due to its long list of drawbacks. The two-seat CR-Z is derived from the Insight, a five-passenger hybrid hatchback that also scored very low on its tests. Consumer Reports said that the CR-Z has received several improvements.

It observed that the interior isn’t obviously cheap and its handling is far better than the Insight’s. It also noted that the CR-Z's manual transmission is crisp and easy to shift and its fuel economy rating of 35 mpg is satisfactory.

But its shortcomings are far too many and severe to be ignored. For instance, the handling of the CR-Z is short on steering feel, which is also seen on other recent vehicles from Honda.

This small sports coupe offers a stiff ride and it has high noise levels. Also, the stability control intervenes too late when it's required, so the CR-Z's tail can swing out mid-corner. According to one tester, its lousy rear and over-the-shoulder visibility made changing lanes "like Russian Roulette."

Its payload capacity of 400-lb. negates the large cargo hold and is considered to be a serious limitation. When stopping to save fuel, the vehicle shuts off along with the air conditioner.

Its exterior door handles are not very comfortable to grab, and since the CR-Z is low-slung, the passenger or the driver has to lunge in and out of it.

Japanese automaker Honda, showcases its commitment to safety – in terms of design and construction – through the Honda CR-Z. For protection against frontal collision, to ensure the safety of the vehicle occupants, the Honda CR-Z comes with the Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure.

It also comes with a range of safety technologies and features such as a standard dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, standard front-side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), side-curtain airbags and active head restraints, an anti-lock braking system (ABS), a tire pressure monitoring system, and last but definitely not the least, a pedestrian injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle. But of course, one must always remember to drive safely as a precautionary measure.

Providing an overall sporty driving experience is the front MacPherson strut and rear H-shaped torsion beam. Also, all CR-Z models are fitted with 16x6-inch aluminum wheels with 195/55R16 86V tires but the 17x7 alloy wheels with 205/45R17 84V tires are optional accessories. Ventilated front discs and solid rear discs are used for the standard anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD).

The CR-Z has a low center of gravity and offers a more responsive, sporty handling that are further improved by its low vehicle height as well as the placement of its battery and other hybrid components right under the rear cargo area. Also, it comes with electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering that contributes to better steering performance and improved efficiency.

When it comes to the entertainment system, the Honda CR-Z has quite a lot in store. It has a six-speaker, 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with an auxiliary input jack to connect to portable audio players and a USB audio interface (available on all models), for those who prefer to listen to their personal playlist in their iPod or other (compatible) audio device.

It also features a speed-sensitive volume control and CD/MP3 text readout and a radio data system. The latter displays additional programming information from participating radio stations and has a search-by-genre capability, a feature available on all models except the CR-Z EX with navigation.

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