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Life with the CR-Z: Two Months In

It's been about two months since we got our Honda CR-Z and I thought I would give you an update on how things are going.  Since we took delivery of the car on January 28 we've refueled the car five times with a lifetime fuel economy average of 39.9 MPG.  Obviously, the car is still breaking in as we only have 1800 miles on it so far.  Our long experience with Honda engines tells us that the car will continue to get better until it reaches about 5000 miles, at which point improvements level off.  Our fuel economy has been trending upwards and it's very likely that the next fill up will put us over 40 MPG with ease.  When you consider that the manual transmission CR-Z is rated for 31 city, 37 hwy and 34 combined, I think we're doing very well. (follow our progress in the banner below)


So how do we reply to all of the car reviews that say, "for a hybrid, it's not fuel efficient enough" or something to that effect.  Well, a quick look at EPA.gov and their list of fuel economy leaders for the 2011 model year, there are only four other cars that get better gas mileage than the Honda CR-Z (with auto).  These include the Toyota Prius (a hybrid) at 51/48, the Ford Fusion Hybrid at 41/36, the Honda Civic Hybrid at 40/43, and the Honda Insight (another hybrid) at 40/43.  I don't see how any rational person can say that the fifth most fuel efficient vehicle in the country is not " fuel efficient enough".  It is true that we are seeing some non hybrid cars hitting the roads that tout a 40 mpg fuel economy rating.  However, these are highway only ratings, not combined, and in some cases require that you purchase a special trim level of the car.  (the Chevy Cruze comes to mind).  Simply put, no gas only car except for the 3 cylinder Smart ForTwo cracks the list.

The flip side to the "not fuel efficient enough" argument is the "it's not sporty enough" argument.  Honda introduced the CR-Z as a "sporty hybrid" and I think this is the source of most of the discontent.  Many of the car reviews complain about the CR-Zs somewhat lackluster ~9 second 0 to 60 times.  Having owned all those S2000s I think it's safe to say that we know what a (relatively) fast car is.  However, there was a lot fun to be had in the S2000 at speeds well below its capabilities.  When you ask yourself "why is that" I think you find that a "fun to drive" car does not have to be a fast car   (although fast cars are typically fun to drive).  I don't believe that Honda is deluding themselves and suggesting that the CR-Z is a fast car, however, I do think that it lives up to its billing as a "fun car".  The low seating position, quick steering, slick shifting manual transmission all combine with that hard to define, "Hondaness" to make it rewarding for a driver.


So while I'll be the first to admit that no car is ever perfect, the CR-Z manages to combine above average fuel economy with an ever so difficult to describe, "fun factor".  And, it does it at a reasonable price.  Our manual transmission EX has a list price of $21,655 and we paid a little less than that.  Features such as xenon high intensity discharge headlights, the six speed manual, Bluetooth connectivity, iPod connectivity, fog lights, automatic climate control, and active head restraints with six air bags are all standard features.  Combine that with (expected) Honda quality and I think we have a great little package.  Next time, I'll talk more about the driving experience.

Reader Comments (3)

To add to your argument against the idea of it being "not fuel efficient enough for a hybrid," keep in mind that your 40mpg is also a real-world achievement, not merely a rating, and is in fact above the EPA rating. According the 2010 and 2011 data for the Prius, owners are achieving real-world MPG below the car's rating, even if only slightly.

Frankly, I would bet that there are very few car owners out there that have ever seen a 40mpg tank on their newer cars. It's easy to sit back and criticize the CR-Z for its "rating," but I'm sure it's much easier for YOU to pay at the pump. Congrats on your purchase.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDustin

Thanks Dustin. I can say that getting 40 or near to it in mixed driving (the morning commute is in heavy traffic) is roughly what we were hoping for. The car is, after all, still a fun car to drive and I wouldn't want something that got 45 or 50 mpg if it meant "sucking the soul" out of the car and making the driving experience dull and uninvolving. - CS

March 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterColin Sato

Hi Collin, couldn't wait for your driving experience write up. The CR-Z is indeed my (current) dream car from Honda, which is weird for you probably as it's available and affordable where you live. Where I live, the CR-Z is available only from parallel importer, and since it has dual engine (electric + ICE) and a coupe, that means extra tax tax tax... The CR-Z here is about US$70K.

So do enjoy the CR-Z, I know people who understands the meaning of "fun to drive" will appreciate all of its value. 1000 horsepower fans not withstanding.

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Adhi

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