The Honda CR-X was a little car that could. A pocket rocket. A car that developed a true cult following amongst auto enthusiasts. Those same fans have been waiting for the reincarnation of the CR-X. The CR-Z isn’t it.
Why is it not the second coming? Well, even though it very much looks like a modern interpretation of the icon, Honda says it isn’t the new CR-X. Secondly, the first gen CR-X was sporty and the second gen was downright fast if you got the right option. The first & second gen cars also got incredible fuel economy, with some acheiving as much as 50 miles per gallon on the highway.
The CR-Z, by the numbers, is neither sporty nor economical. 122 horsepower and 128 lb/ft of torque. Fuel economy? 36 mpg city and 38 highway. Honda is talking about 0-60 times in the 9 second range.
I have to admit that it certainly looks sexy, but are good looks enough to sell a car in this market?
I don’t normally rag on manufacturers the way that some of writers do and I’m not going to go any farther than this with Honda either. Why? Well, Honda isn’t the only manufacturer at fauly here. The media is at fault and so are the governments.
Hybrids are not the answer people. You unwitting consumers are being drawn to hybrids like lambs to the slaughter and you don’t even know why.
Hybrids typically cost more to produce and therefore cost more to purchase than their more traditionally powered siblings. Often, the price of admission costs more than the savings earned by the economy on offer.
Most hybrids, with the exception of a handful of more expensive flagship models, offer poorer driving performance than the petrol powered version. In other words, slow. Boring.
Hybrid vehicles provide the most benefit when the engine is not running. That only happens at very low speeds, in most cases that is in parking lots of very tight city streets. A good many North American drivers live beyond the limits of the inner city, which means we commute. On the highway. The expensive hybrid system is along for the ride. Yes, I know that some systems offer regenerative braking systems but not all hybrids have them and again it only works under certain circumstances.
There is also that pesky little issue of disposal when a battery comes to the end of it’s usable career. A nice big toxic lump that we still haven’t figured out how to dispose of.
With all of these negative qualities? Why are manufacturers making them? Why are we buying them?
At all levels, personal, corporate and government, we want to feel like we are doing our part to solve the green concerns our planet is facing. Some of us, at all levels, want to be seen as doing right by our environment. Still others, mostly at the government level, have the need to ensure that the rest of us are acting responsibly.
The manufacturers have the government believing that hybrid vehicles are the way to go, so the government creates incentives for consumers to ditch their dino fueled monsters in favor of more expensive but less efficient hybrids. We the consumer want our neighbors to see that we are driving a green car so we buy a hybrid even though our driving needs prevent it from operating at it’s peak efficiency.
Through the evolution of this process, just about every manufacturer is building hybrids in the hope that the consumer will jump on the green bandwagon. The problem is that there are so many problems with the hybrid experience. Not the least of which is the production of more expensive, less efficient vehicles.
Honda has been known for their excellence in engine design and yet the hot pocket rocket coming down the pipes is from GM, not Honda. The CR-Z looks the part, but the enthusiast would be better off to wait for the Aveo RS.
My guess is that eventually, the hybrid will go away just like the underperforming products of the Eighties and will be replaced by something that actually has performance and efficiency.