With internals borrowed largely from the Honda Insight, the 2011 Honda CR-Z is one of the first takes on a sporty hybrid, and one Honda hopes will bring an element of fun and style to an otherwise sometimes sleepy segment.
Powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder mated to Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system, the CR-Z is good for 122 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 128 pound-feet of torque from 1,000-1,500 rpm. With all the torque hitting down low and all the power up high, the CR-Z should prove interesting to drive hard.
But its real mission is to be an efficient compact car, and that it does, though some might question the hybrid's success with ratings of 36/38 mpg for the CVT-equipped model and 31/37 for the manual-equipped version. Ford's Fiesta is good for 29/38 mpg and even the new 2012 Focus is expected to near 40 mpg on the highway, both equipped with standard 1.6-liter four-cylinders.