When word got out that Honda was going to build a sporty, two seater hybrid, Honda fans rejoiced. Although the last CR-X was sold in 1991, it has not been forgotten. Could it be after all this time, Honda would offer a modern interpretation of that iconic two seater from the past? In advertising the new CR-Z, Honda made very clear that this would in fact be a modern successor to the CR-X.
Enthusiasts hope were high. Too high in fact. As the car was released to the media and cropped up in showrooms in 2010, reality came crashing down. It would seem amidst all the excitement, everyone forgot one very important detail: hybrid batteries are heavy. Very heavy. What made the CR-X a joy to hustle around corners was that it was feather light. Even the availability of a six-speed manual, unheard of on a hybrid could not disguise the weight and less than sporty suspension tuning. Son of CR-X, this was not.
After its first year when the early adapters snapped up their cars and the truth came out, sales of the CR-Z were in an out of control downward spiral. How bad? In Canada, it has been since 2012 since more than 100 CR-Zs were sold in a year. Yes, that bad. And Honda’s reaction? They simply through their hands up in the air. And did nothing. Even last year there was talk about a new CR-Z, but those plans have obviously been trashed. While Japan will offer a Final Edition CR-Z, here in North America the car is simply going to fade away.
Moral of the story? Don’t try to sell us on the idea that you are going to build the spiritual successor of a much loved car like the CR-X and fail to deliver on that promise. BMW took a similar risk by advertising the 1-Series was the legitimate son of the 2002. In this case, the 1-Series was loved by enthusiasts. With the CR-Z, Honda wasn’t fooling anyone.