My Take on CRZ

Discussion in 'Honda Hybrids' started by psyshack, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles


    Some of you know I was real high on this car. The idea of this car. This car I wanted to want. As development went forward it became clear it was to be a marketing dept. car. IE failure.

    A few weeks ago CRZ was in Oklahoma. All of the cars seemed to be fully loaded CVT imposter's. Why should I waste time driving a CVT? I already have a HCHII.

    Today a dealer calls me. They have a base 6MT. I make it clear,,, I am not buying. Just want to drive. They seem to be cool with it. I pull up in the HCHII. Get in the CRZ and gave up on the car at the 5 mile mark. The 6mt was a joke. Nothing like a current Si 6mt, or any other 6mt I've driven from Honda. The brakes where on par with a friction stick wal-mart go cart system. Very heavy rear bias. Fit, finish and trim were basic and so so. Fancy looking, cheap feeling, but Honda functional. It screamed fancy Yaris to me. NOT Honda! And I found no linage in CRZ that can be called CRX, a real Honda. I did not drive the car long enough to get into it mpg. It became very clear to me real fast. It did nothing well except look like a modern CRX.

    Then on the trip home. What do I drive up on. A mint CRX in white paint. It was not the HF (?) or Si but the EX of it's time. All OEM Mint and slick as a button. Laura blurted out. Who's driving your mother old Honda here. LOL! I assured her it was not moms mint SI. We slid the HCHII in behind it. Yeah I was having a good drive home with 60+ mpg. But I know the CRX old school driver was in the mid 40's mpg wise and driving a car that would run off and leave the Civic and would make my MZ3 work for it's keep on the twisty's. It was a real Honda skate! :)

    Honda's magic is in trouble!

  2. Paul58

    Paul58 NooB

    I guess I have a whole different take on the CR-Z. I look at it as an affordable sports coupe that is fun to drive and get's pretty decent gas mileage! I test drove both the ^MT and the CVT back to back and much prefer the CVT! I was peppier off the line and more responsive. It's also rated at much better gas mileage. We had a pretty extensive test drive in both and had ample time to play with the different driving modes while taking it through it's paces on both highways and back roads. It handles great, and in power mode feels really strong off the line to about 45 mph. I believe the electric motors in this Hybrid's maun function are engine assist, not fuel economy! Better gas mileage is a by product of the assist the electric engine give the ICE at launch and lower speeds. I think Honda missed the mark with their marketing of this car, I would say it falls more in line with the Lexus GS 450h Sports Sedan concept. Yes, it's a Hybrid, but it's made more for performance that gas mileage!

    Bottom Line, if you're looking for a practical Hybrid that will deliver top notch gas mileage, get a Prius, Insight, or Civic Hybrid. But if you want an affordable, fun sport coupe that gets decent gas mileage, the CR-Z is worth looking at!
  3. CR-Zmarty

    CR-Zmarty Member

    Well, psyschack! You're quite the kill-joy!

    I just bought my CR-Z EX a week ago and I couldn't be happier!!! It's my first hybrid (and first Honda) after previously owning a 2007 Mini Coooper S automatic with paddle shifters and a 2005 S and 2002 standard prior to that. Maybe part of my extreme joy with the CR-Z is based on the fact that my 2007 Mini Cooper was such a piece of junk. A total mightmare almost from the start. Having to replace the engine (bent piston rod - no reason given for why THAT happened) 2,000 miles out of warranty on a car that wasn't even 3 years old did it for me. Got it back on Friday 9/12. Bought my CR-Z the next day. I bought one of the three in the dealer's first allotment. They were all sold within the first week.

    Now it's like what Mini Cooper???

    So far, I'm averaging 36.5 MPG in combo city/rural driving, much of which is rather hilly (I live in the TX Hill Country in Austin). The car handles great; maybe not as well as a Mini, but that's not what it's trying to accomplish. My take on the car is the same as Paul58's and I never expected anything differrent going into this purchase. I wanted better mileage, a sporty (not "sports") car that had good amenities and that's what I got. It has a MUCH better A/C unit than any of my Minis (or the 2001 MB CLK I had before those) and a "kick-a**" stereo. It's my first 2-seater, which is fine, since my rear seat in the Mini was usually folded down, anyway. And the ECO Drive system with its neat graphics and colors is giving me something to shoot for; better gas mileage and better driving habits.

    This is the first time in many years I can say I actually love the car I'm driving.
  4. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Welcome to CleanMPG!
  5. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Paul and CR-Zmarty:

    Don't worry about Psy, "He hates everything" ;)

    And welcome to CleanMPG!

  6. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    I am going to try to get to the local dealer this week for a drive. I want to make about a 40 mile run if possible.

    They have a black one on display near the highway and I really like the looks of it.
  7. Nevyn

    Nevyn Well-Known Member

    Welcome! What mode are you using for most of your driving? Also, I didn't see if yours has the 6MT or the CVT.
  8. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Our local Zipcar office usually has a few interesting/sporty cars and a variety of hybrids, and since the CR-Z qualifies as BOTH I'm almost sure they'll pick up one or two of them within the next few months and make it available for us to rent (which in my case means taking it out for a 2-3 hour test drive). Will be an auto of course, but I'm sure it will still be a fun drive. Can't wait.
  9. CR-Zmarty

    CR-Zmarty Member


    I tried to post the other day, but somehow I got "signed-out" after I typed my whole response. FRUSTRATING!
    Being that I live in the Texas Hill County, hypermiling is a bit of a chore. If I could figure out how to drive everywhere going downhill, I'd have it made!
    I use the ECON setting for probably 80-90% of my driving. NORMAL for the steeper hills and when the inside of the car is hot (A/C is great in this car!), then switch to ECON on the fly. I use SPORT and the shift paddles for when I feel like driving the "twisties" around Lake Travis. I used to drive my Mini Cooper S Steptronic manually all the time, mainly because it got better mileage that way. The auto mode just kept the RPMs up too high for longer periods of time. The CVT in the CR-Z justs seems more comfortable driven in auto.
  10. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Well, I had the chance to test drive the CR-Z a couple of weeks ago for a whole day and after approximately 75 miles incurred in a mix of urban and suburban driving I managed to get roughly 61 MPG at the end of the day.

    This was, by the way, in the CVT equipped model that I will hold for a week or so towards the end of this month. While I will also have the 6 speed MT at my disposal I am beginning to think the CVT model will be the easiest to pilot around on a daily basis while also the easiest to get good FE with.


    I am quite confident that after you learn to apply a few basic techniques to the CR-Z, you should be able to reach the high 40's without much effort. Tackling hills on the CR-Z is not much different that what we do with any other Honda hybrid and even though the climbs may be heart-breaking there is still plenty you can do to lessen the hit and even more you can do on the descents to make up for the original loss. Proper DWL execution is key as is what we choose to do on the other side of the hills.

    I still find the paddle shifters a little gimmicky but certainly more useful than the ones on the 2nd gen Insight. However, since my emphasis is FE I find the ECON mode to be the most reasonable with more than enough pep to get the car launched and even too much when emerging out of a twisty descent. :D

    Overall I am quite impressed and I think I could actually see myself owning one. ;)


  11. tedjohnson

    tedjohnson Well-Known Member

    Since you have had a chance to drive the CRZ and 2010 Prius, how do the mpg's compare? Thanks. Ted
  12. CR-Zmarty

    CR-Zmarty Member


    WOW! I'm impressed. 61 MPG. That gives me something to shoot for. I DEFINITELY have to study the hypermiling techniques much more. I've always been a somewhat fast driver (and the one in your rearview mirror when you're going below the speed limit in the left lane), so this is quite a change. I was able to squeeze out better mileage in the Mini S than most others did, according to one of the service mgrs. at one of the dealers I dealt with. We're talking upper 20s in the city.

    I am pleased with the cruise control on the CR-Z. One of the hills here in Austin which I refer to as "The Big Hill" (and everyone seems to know what I'm talking about) is no match for the CR-Z. It may lose 1-2 MPH set at 65 in the NORMAL mode. The CVT sounds like it's making margaritas, but it does just fine. Going down "The Big Hill" in neutral is a terror, even for me. In gear, the CR-Z will hit 85, no problem (cops do not ticket here, as a rule). I haven't been able to let her role in neutral without traffic, but I'll try it sometime when there's no traffic (or cops). I don't know the grade, but it's about 3/4 of a mile from crest to foot and probably drops about 250 feet. It's an ear-popper, for sure.

    Thank for your "insight". I'm off to tackle "The Big Hill" (in our Acura RL) and have breakfast.

    Happy Hyper-ing!
  13. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    So, you're all for tailgating, cop evasion and speeding? No offense, but that is the antithesis of improving fuel economy, not to mention increasing the odds of accidents and probability of serious injury or death in those accidents, both for yourself and those unfortunate enough to share the road with you.

    Sorry for being a grumpy old man, but there it is.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  14. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Hi Mendel;

    We're all grumpy at one point or another... so no big deal. ;)

    What is important to remember is that many of us all started as something else, often as incorrigible lead-foots... and here we are sharing something in common, which no matter how small it may appear, is anything but trivial in the big scheme of things. It is a journey, but a good one to enjoy in the company of so many good and helpful folks. :D

    Hi Ted;

    The CR-Z is no Prius and frankly cannot even aspire to be one in the hands of an average Joe at least as far as MPG is concerned. The Prius is a larger car, with more utility, more passenger space, greater FE and a reputation that is nothing shorter than bullet proof... which in my view will easily fulfills the daily driving needs of more than 80% of the North American public. All it takes is a generally defensive driver behind the wheel and no knowledge of how the car works to get 50+ MPG out of a Prius.

    However, there is no denying that the driving dynamics of the Prius do not and cannot even dream of matching the dynamics of some Honda hybrids let alone the CR-Z which was tuned to be the best handling hybrid... and in this area, boy does it deliver.

    The CR-Z can still offer relatively good MPG but unlike the Prius, you must make the choice and drive as if you mean it and not only keep the car in ECON but also learn a few things about it along the way. Please note the following rule:

    When it comes to Honda hybrid fuel economy, there is no such thing as engine break-in; just driver break-in. ;)


  15. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    He's right, Marty. A lot of us mileage enthusiasts here on cleanmpg started out as driving enthusiasts of the more conventional type. Most of us have been there. And even though we've "reformed" our ways, many of us still enjoy cornering. :D

    That said, I would encourage you to slow down. When I changed my ways, I saw an immediate 30% jump in my fuel economy. By immediate I mean over a period of TWO WEEKS. Sure it took longer to get where I was going, but by no more than about 10%. For a 30% savings in fuel, that seemed to me a no-brainer. My half hour commute may take 3 minutes longer, but big deal. I waste more than 3 minutes sitting on the toilet on the average day.

    You'll find that most of us don't use cruise, and couldn't give a rat's a** whether our cruise could help us maintain 65 up a big hill. First of all, most of us never hit 65 except on long freeway drives or downhills, and even then many of us don't. Second, cruise is inefficient and you're a lot better off managing the throttle with your right foot. Third, with or without cruise none of us TRY to maintain speed up hills. One of the biggest techniques we have in our toolbox is DWL. You may not be comfortable holding the engine load absolutely steady -- on many hills that would cause your speed to drop dangerously low -- but you don't have to take it to extremes. The more you ease off on climbs -- even a little -- the better your mileage will be. In the last couple months I've improved my roadtrip records from 48mpg to 54mpg on our TDI, and from 37mpg to 42mpg on my gasser, just by finally mastering DWL. And the DWL payback is even bigger on hybrids.

    And please, please, PLEASE do not tailgate! I don't care what moral law you think that left lane bandit is violating (and I probably agree with you) it is not worth endangering a human life over. Cars are deadly weapons and should be treated as such. Following too closely is the #1 cause of crashes (30%), by a WIDE margin (failure to yield and excessive speed are about 15% EACH). It accomplishes absolutely NOTHING except giving you an artificial ego boost and a feeling of power that is a complete illusion. Having been injured twice in rear-enders I will make a personal plea to you to PLEASE always leave at least a 2 second following distance no matter what. Please don't do to others what has been done to me.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  16. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    I guess I'm a little crankier than usual, could be due to our local Honda dealership having only a CRZ hybrid (in the showroom, stickshift no less), current year HCHII's an ongoing no-show. With the rumoured replacement pending, no loss I guess.

    Marty, MSantos is right, every journey starts with the first step, and so on. Seriously.
  17. CR-Zmarty

    CR-Zmarty Member

    I agree, I've been lucky, accident wise. My father actually taught me how to drive when I was 11 (I'm now 48). Until I got my license at 16, I drove every weekend in the farmlands outside Chicago. I have never hit anyone in those 37 years, not even a parking lot tap. I have BEEN hit (twice), most recently in 2007, head-on by a drunk driver in Monroe, LA. I had to 2005 MiniCooper S which was totalled. He crossed the line, hitting me at about 45 MPH (I was going about 25). I sustained a friction burn on my left arm from the air bag, that's it. The drunk was almost killed. His daughter with him was OK.

    Mendel, I agree. You could use a Xanax or 3!

    I may have been fast off the line, but I rarely go 5-10 MPH over posted speed limits. Since the roadways near my home are mostly 4-lane sweeping curved high-speed (65 MPH limits slowing to 50-55 through business districts) YOU HAVE TO USE cruise control, otherwise you will be pulled over by Sheriff Andy or Deputy Fife! Believe me, I got out of 2 tickets by using the cruise. In one instance I had it set at 65. The sheriif clocked me at 68 coming towards him (on level ground) and 73 going away from him (uphill). When he pulled me over he said I was "going above the limit". At first, he was reluctant to tell me my speed. When I told him I had my cruise set, he let me go, mainly because there was such a discrepency in his readings. I also think it's not safe watching the gauges in the car and not watching the road. I'm using the CC.

    I did try DWL (or as I always heard it called in the "olden days" - dead-pedalling) this morning on "The Big Hill". Luckily, there were no other vehicles nearby. I hit the base of the hill, at 60 (posted limit), watching my IFE gauge to keep it steady. By the time I reached the top, I was doing barely 20 MPH. Now, if I had done that in traffic, Bubba in his F-250 duallie would be driving over me, no matter what lane I was in. Sorry, but I'm not going to put myself in the position of being a road obstacle, which is what you become driving that way. I'm WAY more comfortable speeding than doing that. The 1/10th of a MPG or whatever I save is not worth becoming a speed bump.

    I have always enjoyed driving. Yes, I do want to save fuel. Hell, that was the point of buying a hybrid (although I think many use it as a panacea for speeding - they wouldn't know hypermiling from a hole in the ground). And I do want to change my driving habits. But I don't want driving to become a chore for me and not an enjoyment.
  18. CR-Zmarty

    CR-Zmarty Member

    By the way, the Honda dealer where I bought my CR-Z has about 2O Insights and 10 HCHII's and 3 CR-Z's (CVT). Stopped by today to get my new license plates.

    Just a little salt in the wound, Mendel!
  19. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    You don't have to let your speed drop to dangerously low speeds to gain. You gain simply by using less power than you would need to keep your speed steady uphill. Just use as much power as you need based on traffic conditions.

    I have a couple of hills on my commute where I would need to go well into the power zone to maintain the 55mph PSL. On both hills the following descent is long and sufficient to regain speed with little or no power:
    - with somebody following I'll maintain speed.
    - with somebody in view but not really close I'll allow speed to drop to around 50mph.
    - without nobody in view behind me I'll allow speed to drop as low as 30mph.

    I am a downhill speed cheat as I allow my speed to exceed PSL downhill so I have momentum to keep the power down uphill, but I'd never try to justify it by erecting a straw man.
  20. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    A simple glance at the speedo every 5-10s is all I need for maintaining speeds properly without CC.

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