The Honda CR-Z hybrid hatchback was originally introduced for the 2011 model year, and at the time it was hoped the car would change the perception that hybrids can’t be fun with its sporty looks and available manual transmission. That didn’t turn out to be case.

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With its anemic 122 horsepower and subsequent poor performance, especially when equipped with the available CVT, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would actually want a CR-Z parked in their garage. Nevertheless, Honda has kept the CR-Z in its lineup and now the automaker has given the car an update for the 2016 model year.

This is actually the car’s second major update; the first was introduced for the 2013 model year and saw output bumped to 130 hp. Sadly, no change has been made to the hybrid system on this 2016 CR-Z, which means it still consists of a 1.5-liter four-cylinder and Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist system with a DC brushless electric motor.

With the standard six-speed manual, you get 130 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. Opt for the CVT and you get the same hp figure but only 127 lb-ft of torque.

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To aid the handling, the chassis was revised with several components receiving upgrades: the front stabilizer bar diameter was increased from 19 to 20 millimeters; the rear wheel track was increased by 10 mm; and both the front and rear brake discs were enlarged to 11.1 inches in diameter, up from 10.3 inch front and 10.2 inch rear on the previous model.

Visual changes for the 2016 CR-Z include new bumpers at both ends, new wheel patterns, and some additional exterior paint options. All CR-Zs have 16-inch aluminum wheels with 195/55 size tires.

Upgraded interior surface treatments include a new brushed metallic finish to the door handles, front paneling and center console. Other new features for the 2016 CR-Z include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a redesigned center console with an electric parking brake, push button start and a 7.0-inch touchscreen display.

The 2016 Honda CR-Z is on sale now and priced from $21,130, including an $835 destination charge. Opting for the CVT is the more fuel-efficient option, with the EPA numbers coming in at 36/39 mpg city/highway and 37 mpg combined.


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