2011 Honda CR-Z Unveiled in Detroit

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.

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15 Responses to 2011 Honda CR-Z Unveiled in Detroit

  1. bert says:

    I had a friend who owned a 90 CRX. She was old and slow, and always cruised around town @30mph in 5th gear. Every once in a while she would think something was wrong with it, and I would take it out on the backroads and wind it through the gears until it was running smooth again. Awesome car. In the late 80’s a magazine did a comparison test between the CRX and the Ferrari 348. The CRX beat the crud out of the Ferrari! I don’t think Honda can recapture that spirit with a hybrid, but they might surprise me yet!

  2. N/Aontherun says:

    I’m trying really hard not to judge this car. I want it to feel like an old CR-X but yet not. We’ll shall wait and see.

  3. Mr.L.J. Nordvik says:

    At a considerable risk of sounding like a broken record;this is why I reacted with scepticsism to the rumours of a hybrid MR2 a while back.The added weight of a hybrid drive line is counter productive in a small sporty vehicle. In the Honda’s defense,howefer,I must say I really do like the design.

  4. bwadsworth says:

    well, you could always kswap. itll be done quick by someone with alot of cash and to be the first one to do it.

  5. E-AT_me says:

    horribly disappointed. my wife’s Fit can post he same mileage numbers, and almost the same hp/tq. the Fit is probably lighter and it’s more practical. i doubt the suspension on the CR-Z is any decent.. Honda, what have you done to your hybrids. 🙁

  6. Mr.L.J. Nordvik says:

    I can’t help but think that smaller vehicles just aren’t that well suited as hybrids,because the added weight cancels out the benefits.In larger vehicles,however,it makes a lot of sense.I especially like the generous,seamless,refined power delivery in Lexus hybrids. I test drove the new RX450h last year and I absolutley adore it! That thing is smoooth! 🙂

  7. Nostalgic Parrot says:

    Horribly pleased. I can’t help but think that smaller vehicles are well suited as hybrids. At the risk of intentionally sounding like a broken record, I’m trying real hard to judge this car

  8. colink says:

    Very dissapointed with this one

  9. GEN2TWINCAM says:

    The CR-X did look impressive on paper in 1983!

    At the time (in Sept. ’82) when I purchased my Civic, I wished I had wait just a bit longer and bagged a CR-X.

  10. Dan says:

    Pleeeease Honda give me a reason to believe again! Hopefully the driving dynamics will live up to the original

  11. Sarcasmo says:

    Who cares?? Screw mileage and hybrids.. at least we have SOMETHING resembling a CRX in Honda’s lineup. Make it a VTEC, and slap an Si badge on it, give it a Mugen version and call it a day. With the demise of the S2000 and Prelude.. Honda needs a sporty car in it’s lineup. Hopefully, it doesn’t do like Toyota (with the Supra) and make us drool over drawings and concept cars.. just to not bring it to market.

  12. 79cord says:

    As said, at least it is a token step away from the mini-people movers of the Fit style back towards the lighter, lower, sportier & more stylish Honda Civic hatchbacks of the 80’s & 90’s … But no CR-X. Too big, heavy & uneconomical.

  13. E-AT_me says:

    the fit only weighs about 2500lbs. i doubt this is lighter than that. we shall see.

  14. Jim-Bob says:

    The thing is, the hybrid parts do not seem to add anything to the equation other than a modest power boost at WOT. However, you have to wonder if the car would not have been better with the drivetrain from the Fit. It would have weighed less and made similar economy numbers all in a car that is cheaper to produce than this will be. Plus, the fuel economy stinks. It is rated at 31 mpg city, and I am sorry, but that does not make it worth the hybrid tax. The similar weight Toyota Yaris also comes with a 1.5 liter engine, and manages to get within 2mpg of the CR-Z. Sorry, but to me that just makes this thing look like it was made a hybrid because it is the hip technology of the day and not because it made any sound engineering sense.

    Honda used to be a great company because of their technological leadership and reliability. They have made great cars with amazing technologies for years, but it seems that they have somehow lost their touch lately. The reliability is still beyond question, but it seems that more and more they have started just making great appliances instead of making interesting cars. I hope they turn that around one day. The world definitely needs more S600’s and fewer toasters.

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