2011 Honda CR-Z Review

Honda's latest hybrid, the 2011 CR-Z, attempts to be both sporty and a hybrid, and it has middling success at each.

When it goes on sale Aug. 24, the CR-Z will be the first hybrid in six model years to offer a manual transmission; it will also be available with a continuously variable automatic transmission. As the spiritual successor to the wedge-shaped CRX, produced from 1984 to '91, the two-door, two-seat CR-Z joins the five-seat Insight and Civic hybrids in Honda's semi-electric lineup. Final pricing hasn't been released, but Honda says the base CR-Z will cost less than $20,000 including the destination charge. The 2010 Insight is $20,550 with destination, and the Civic Hybrid starts at $24,550.

The CR-Z's higher trim level, the EX, adds features like Bluetooth, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum shift knob (manual), aluminum pedals, additional interior accents and a more powerful stereo with a subwoofer. The all-important analog and USB MP3-player inputs are standard in all trim levels.

A navigation system effectively creates another trim level, called EX Navi, which will top out at less than $24,000 including the optional CVT but with no further options. Options will include mostly exterior and interior cosmetic "accessories," but you can also get 17-inch summer tires in place of the standard 16-inch all-seasons.

I drove EX Navi versions, both manual and automatic.

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