2012 Honda CR-Z Review

Pros & Cons

  • Nimble size and handling
  • quick steering
  • good fuel economy
  • sporty looks.
  • Poor rearward visibility
  • excessive road noise
  • most competitors have backseats
  • missing a few upscale features
  • so-so crash scores.
Other years
Honda CR-Z for Sale
List Price Range
$6,495 - $11,599

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2012 Honda CR-Z isn't as sporty to drive as it looks and its two-seat interior limits its practicality. It's a fun city car, but in general we think there are better choices.

Vehicle overview

These days there are a lot of sporty coupes on the market and more than a few hybrids. But there's only one sporty hybrid coupe, and that's the 2012 Honda CR-Z.

Trouble is, this compact two-seater doesn't really excel in either area. While the CR-Z feels decidedly zippy, a suspension that's tuned more for comfort than speed creates handling that's just so-so thanks to a notable amount of body roll. Likewise, the CR-Z's fuel economy numbers are quite strong, but really no better than non-hybrid economy hatchbacks that are more practical, better equipped and usually more refined.

Built on the same underpinnings as the Insight, Honda's small four-door hybrid, the CR-Z is powered by a hybrid powertrain that combines a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a total output of 122 horsepower. A choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive round out the drivetrain details. However, unlike the hybrid systems used by Toyota and others, the CR-Z doesn't propel itself on electricity alone, and it doesn't achieve the exceptional city fuel economy that you might expect.

Given its limitations, we think buyers can generally do better than the 2012 Honda CR-Z. Competitors that offer similar or superior fuel economy include the Mini Cooper, which boasts better handling and an abundance of style. The new Hyundai Veloster is another great choice considering its added versatility, while it's also worth considering the sporty Chevy Sonic and Ford Fiesta.

Compared to the CR-Z, all are more practical, less expensive and have quieter, higher-quality cabins. If getting Honda's famed reliability is important, the Civic coupe enjoys the same advantages. As such, the Honda CR-Z may be one of a kind, but that doesn't make it the one to buy.

2012 Honda CR-Z models

The two-seat 2012 Honda CR-Z comes in two trim levels: base and EX. Standard equipment on the base model includes 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, hill-start assist (manual transmission models only), cruise control, automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a cargo cover, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, steering-wheel audio controls, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The EX adds automatic xenon headlights, foglights, heated mirrors, metallic interior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth and a seven-speaker upgraded audio system. The EX can also be had with an optional navigation system that includes a touchscreen interface and voice controls. Notable dealer-installed options include 17-inch alloy wheels, performance tires and satellite radio.

2012 Highlights

Introduced just last year, the 2012 Honda CR-Z returns essentially unchanged.

Performance & mpg

The front-wheel-drive 2012 Honda CR-Z is powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid system that mates a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a total output of 122 hp and 128 pound-feet of torque with the standard six-speed manual gearbox. Torque numbers drop to 123 lb-ft with the optional CVT, which also comes with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

A three-mode drive selector allows the driver to choose from Sport, Normal or Econ modes. Each adjusts parameters for throttle sensitivity, steering assist, transmission programming (CVT), additional electric motor assist (manual transmission) and air-conditioning usage.

In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped CR-Z went from zero to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds -- quicker than average for its class. With the CVT, this time lengthens to 9.2 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates are 31 mpg city/37 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined with the manual transmission and 35/39/37 mpg with the CVT.

Safety

The 2012 Honda CR-Z comes with standard safety features that include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags and active head restraints.

In Edmunds brake testing, it came to a stop from 60 mph in 122 feet -- a good distance among compact cars.

In government crash tests, the CR-Z earned an overall rating of three stars (out of a possible five) as well as three stars in both overall frontal and side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the CR-Z its highest rating of "Good" in both its frontal-offset and side-impact tests, but a second-best rating of "Acceptable" in the roof strength test.

Driving

Though the 2012 Honda CR-Z is not meant to be a sports car, it is still a fun little car to drive, with quick steering and a nimble feeling that comes from its short wheelbase and light weight. The ride quality is firm, but not objectionably so for a car like this. Road noise is louder than for many other similar cars, though.

Powertrain performance depends largely on which of the three drive modes you select. Punch the Sport button and the car gets up and goes, while the fuel mileage-maximizing Econ mode makes for noticeably pokier acceleration. Most drivers will find the Normal mode just about right. Both transmissions are winners, with the six-speed manual offering easy action and a nice mechanical feel, while the CVT still manages to seem sporty by virtue of its steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.

Interior

While the 2012 Honda CR-Z sold in other worldwide markets has a small backseat, Honda has chosen to equip the American version with a flip-down rear parcel shelf instead. The idea is to apparently better associate the car with the original two-seat CRX, though some measure of practicality is sacrificed, of course. Seat comfort is adequate, but tall drivers may find a lack of adjustability.

The CR-Z's rear cargo divider can easily be lowered to create a flat load floor and hide any items in the parcel shelf's bins. A multiposition cargo shade is also part of the deal. Maximum cargo capacity is 25.1 cubic feet, and two golf bags should fit with the divider lowered.

The interior's most notable feature is its space-age dash design, which is built around a large digital speedometer surrounded by an equally prominent analog tachometer. Adding a wow factor are background lights behind these gauges that change color to indicate driving style efficiency. A configurable display allows you to call up other useful information including instant and average fuel economy readings.

This is a practical car, not a luxury coupe, so the interior trim is fairly plain, although it's fair to say that it's less premium than the CR-Z's competitors. It's also important to note that rear visibility is problematic through the dual-panel rear glass and the bodywork that surrounds it.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2012 Honda CR-Z.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

I love it
dano_seattle,04/25/2012
I saw a couple of these running around town, but never really stopped to look. I began calculating gas costs of my 1997 gas eater and decided it was time to look around. I looked at all kinds of different models, hybrids, new, used, etc. I finally settled on the CR-Z as my first choice for test drive and once I drove it, that was it. If I wasn't convinced before I was then. Sleek, sharp, and comfortable all around would be the best way to describe. I completely agree with the other reviewers as well.
I love getting in my car each morning!
kristen21,12/03/2012
I love this car! I bought it because I wanted a fuel efficient car that was also fun to drive. This car is definitely fun to drive and I love getting into it each morning. I've owned my CR-z for about 6 months now. This car is really comfortable-- I love that the seats hug you. I also like all the bells and whistles like blue tooth phone connection, radio adjustment from the steering wheel, and a USB port to hook up my ipod. I had to rent a Chevy Malibu and every time I got in the car I missed my CR-z. I hated the way the Malibu handled and I didn't like its responsiveness. I love this car and would definitely recommend it.
Fun to Drive and Economical.
lw3,02/29/2012
I'm not a typical Hybrid buyer and this wasn't a car I was even considering until I saw it on the showroom floor. I took a test drive almost on a lark. But then a funny thing happened, I fell in love with this car. It feels like a sports car, and yet it get's great gas mileage and looks great. The design team looked at Mini's, VW Scirocco's and Lotus. I would say they relied on the Lotus most of all. Yes , there's no back seat, but have you ever sat in a Mini backseat or a VW? I actually feel the cargo room is a better way to go.
Great ride, performance and fuel economy
drewmn,04/04/2012
I'm not a treehugger. This car caught me with it's design and road feel. The performance is available to you, and as a bonus you get some pretty amazing gas savings. I've been averaging between 43-48mpg on the highway. Everything about this car is tailored to the driver and you really feel that this is your vehicle, not the passengers. It's quick to accelerate, handles great around corners, and is a fun car. The rear of the car has plenty of storage space unless of course you have a Great Dane. Plenty of leg room, great sound system, and exceptional quality really add value to this vehicle. Not to mention it takes up so little space in the garage.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall3 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall3 / 5
    Driver3 / 5
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat3 / 5
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover9.5%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2012 Honda CR-Z

Used 2012 Honda CR-Z Overview

The Used 2012 Honda CR-Z is offered in the following submodels: CR-Z Hatchback. Available styles include EX 2dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), 2dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), EX 2dr Hatchback w/Nav (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), EX 2dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6M), 2dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6M), and EX 2dr Hatchback w/Nav (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Honda CR-Z?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Honda CR-Z trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Honda CR-Z Base is priced between $6,495 and$9,477 with odometer readings between 57560 and119949 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Honda CR-Z EX is priced between $11,599 and$11,599 with odometer readings between 78476 and78476 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2012 Honda CR-ZES are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Honda CR-Z for sale near. There are currently 4 used and CPO 2012 CR-ZES listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,495 and mileage as low as 57560 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Honda CR-Z.

Can't find a used 2012 Honda CR-Zs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Honda CR-Z for sale - 9 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $13,533.

Find a used Honda for sale - 5 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $20,143.

Find a used certified pre-owned Honda CR-Z for sale - 10 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $12,155.

Find a used certified pre-owned Honda for sale - 6 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $14,916.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Honda CR-Z?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Honda lease specials
Check out Honda CR-Z lease specials