All new for 2011 when it was named the "Most-Efficient Two Seater" by the EPA, the 2012 Honda CR-Z debuts with one available feature change - a new black seat fabric becomes an option on cars with the Crystal Black Pearl exterior color, replacing the standard silver mesh sport seats. The 2012 CR-Z starts at $19,545, plus a destination and handling charge of $770.
The Honda CR-Z is available in two models - the well-equipped CR-Z and the feature-rich CR-Z EX. A six-speed manual transmission is standard equipment and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is available. Standard features on the CR-Z include Vehicle Stability Assist, an AM/FM/CD/USB audio system with six speakers, automatic climate control, power windows and door locks, remote entry, cruise control, and more.
The Honda CR-Z EX adds High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Headlights with Auto-On/Off, fog lights, a 360-Watt AM/FM/CD Premium Audio System with seven speakers including subwoofer, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®, perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and more. The CR-Z EX is available with the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition.
Technological Sophistication Inside and Out
The exterior's "one-motion" wedge form begins at its low-slung hood to form a broad forward stance. A side profile with a deeply inset beltline adds a dynamic element, while the short wheelbase and large, wide front grille accent the vehicle's athletic look. Exterior colors include Crystal Black Pearl, Milano Red Pearl, North Shore Blue Metallic (exclusive to CR-Z), Premium White Pearl and Storm Silver Metallic.
A high-tech appearance and intuitive controls define the interior. Instrument panel meters illuminate with a three-dimensional blue color theme resulting in a multi-layered appearance. Set against textured black materials and aluminum-style trim accents, the upper portion of the dashboard extends toward the driver to provide a wraparound cockpit environment. Premium sport-oriented seats are designed to provide firm lateral support along with everyday driving comfort. A mid-ship console behind the front seats optimizes cargo space, and a hard-shell separator can be closed to create additional hidden storage.
The Honda CR-Z features a six-speaker, 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with an auxiliary input jack for connection to a portable audio player, and all models include a USB audio interface for connecting an iPod or other compatible audio device. Other audio features include speed-sensitive volume control and CD/MP3 text readout. The radio data system shows supplemental programming information from participating radio stations while also offering search-by-genre capability (not available on the CR-Z EX with navigation).
The Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ is available on the CR-Z EX model and features a 6.5-inch display. The navigation system database includes more than 7-million points of interest and integrates the audio system. The voice recognition feature is capable of inputting numbers, street names and cities, in addition to more than 600 commands. Data storage is via a single DVD that contains information for the entire United States.
Performance and Efficiency
The Honda CR-Z hybrid powertrain is a unique variation of Honda's original IMA technology , which originally debuted on the 2000 Honda Insight, the first hybrid vehicle available for sale in North America. The system utilizes a four-cylinder, 16-valve, single-overhead cam engine with "intelligent" Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC) that receives additional power from the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system's DC brushless electric motor. The system delivers a combined peak output of 122 horsepower at 6000 RPM and 128 lb-ft. of torque at 1000 to 1750 RPM (123 lb-ft. at 1000 to 2000 on CVT-equipped models).
The 10-kilowatt electric motor assists in acceleration and also acts as a generator during braking or coasting to capture kinetic energy that recharges the 100-volt IMA nickel-metal hydride battery pack. The gasoline engine can automatically turn off during vehicle stops to improve efficiency. When starting on steep inclines from a stop with the manual transmission, hill start assist temporarily prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards during the moment between releasing the brake, depressing the throttle and releasing the clutch.
EPA-estimated fuel economy is 35/39/37 city/highway/combined mpg on CVT-equipped models and 31/37/34 city/highway/combined mpg on manual models. The CR-Z is rated as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) in states that adhere to California Air Resource Board (CARB) ZEV standards (EPA Tier 2, Bin 2 in all states).
Three-Mode Drive System
Activated via three backlit buttons to the left of the steering wheel, the three-mode drive system allows the driver to select between individual modes of performance for Sport, Normal and Economy driving styles:
- Sport mode enhances engine throttle responsiveness, electric power steering effort and the electric motor power assist.
- Normal mode standardizes steering, engine response, motor assist and air conditioning settings.
- Econ mode can increase the potential for enhanced fuel efficiency by optimizing throttle angle for smooth acceleration, lower engine rpm and limiting power and torque by approximately 4 percent (except at wide-open throttle). It can also reduce the air conditioning's overall load on the engine and modify the cruise control to operate more efficiently.
Safety by Design
The Honda CR-Z demonstrates a commitment to safety in its design and construction. The Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure helps protect vehicle occupants in a frontal collision. Additional safety technologies include: standard dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; standard front-side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); side-curtain airbags, active head restraints; an anti-lock braking system (ABS); a tire pressure monitoring system; and a pedestrian injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle.
The front MacPherson strut and rear H-shaped torsion beam suspension are tuned to provide a sporty driving experience. All models are equipped with 16x6-inch aluminum wheels with 195/55R16 86V tires, while accessory 17x7 alloy wheels with 205/45R17 84V tires are available. The standard anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD) uses ventilated front discs and solid rear discs. The low vehicle height and placement of the battery and other hybrid components beneath the rear cargo area further contribute to a low center of gravity and responsive, sporty handling. Electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering enhances steering performance and improves efficiency.