During the press conference for the 2011 Honda CR-Z at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, the automaker did much to evoke the original CR-X, and even acknowledged that car’s influential role in the tuner scene. There’s no doubt that its lightweight and fun-to-drive personality won it many fans. As a result, many collectors who normally pay no mind to J-tin now regarded the CR-X as a soon-to-be classic.
However, the CR-Z’s hybrid drivetrain and 25 years’ worth of safety mandates have added 900 pounds of fat to a once-trim chassis. Even with a decent horsepower bump to 122 (versus 91 for the CR-X) and a 6-speed manual, many pundits already feel that it’s an unworthy successor. To paraphrase Paul Hogan, that’s not a CR-X; this is a CR-X.
All that extra beef limits the mileage to 36/38 miles per gallon city/highway as well. That equals the CR-X Si but not the CR-X HF, which achieved 49/54 miles per gallon a quarter century ago. We know, it’s not fair to compare the mileage with something that had the safety features of a Campbell’s soup can, but that number compares poorly even to other modern hybrids. Perhaps our misgivings will disappear after an actual drive of the CR-Z. After all, the CR-X didn’t look all that impressive on on paper either.
We’re glad Honda is acknowledging the importance of the CR-X, but hope that it isn’t following in the footsteps of the Big Three, when hallowed names like Chevy Nova, Pontiac LeMans and Plymouth Duster were slapped onto 80s compacts with little resemblance to the original. It would be sad if Honda acknowledged its past only to mine it for marketing.