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Honda CR-Z: 122 HP, 33 MPG, Worst Of All Worlds

Illustration for article titled Honda CR-Z: 122 HP, 33 MPG, Worst Of All Worlds

The Honda CR-Z is more than what lovers of simple, compact, sporty, lightweight Japanese cars were asking for. It's a simple, compact, sporty, Japanese car with an underpowered engine, heavy batteries, all for just 33 MPG. Not worth it.

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It looks like a new CRX, it's shaped like a new CRX, but this car is no new CRX. It's more like a rebooted first generation Honda Insight wrapped in new body without the sacrifices for sky-high fuel-efficiency. It is a new kind of hybrid, the manual six speed paired to the 1.5-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine belting out 122 HP and 128 lb-ft of torque at a low-low 1,000 to 1,500 RPM (123 lb-ft for the automatic CVT version).

It'll bring much-needed driver involvement into the hybrid equation, something we're intrigued to test out ourselves. We wonder about the necessity of the integrated motor assist system though, as the mileage for the manual is estimated at 31 MPG city, 37 MPG highway, and 33 MPG combined, the CVT is pegged at 36/38/37 MPG, respectively. We'll just be standing out on the porch shaking our canes at the young whippersnappers and their danged hybrids. Why, back in our day the CRX-HF got 50 MPG without fancy tricks and heavy batteries, and gosh darn it, it was fun to drive!

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DISCUSSION

You know what else brings 120hp and 33mpg? That's right, you guessed it! A 1995 Ford Ranger! Shit yeah!

Well, no. Not according to the EPA. But it's nothing to get 33 in a Ranger. My old truck came within kissing distance of 40. Forty MPG, and that in a vehicle where the only battery starts the engine!

Hybrids are cool and all, but DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE. It's not all bullshit, but the bullshit quotient is uncommonly high, approaching levels not seen since Congress ca. 1998. A hybrid will help you get better mileage in town, sure. A hybrid tuned to to be a better commuter car will do that function very well. But a hybrid "sports car?" It would make much much better sense to leave the heavy motor and batteries behind, bank the weight savings and enjoy that rapidly vanishing quality known as "lightness."