In what is surely a blow to the company’s reputation, Honda’s newest hybrid, the CR-Z, has not been given a “recommended” rating from the testers at Consumer Reports – and not because of reliability problems, but as a result of an underwhelming road test.
“The new two-seat Honda CR-Z hybrid hatchback scored too low for CR to recommend it,” notes Consumer Reports in a release. “Despite getting 35 mpg overall (6.72 litres/100 km) and having a crisp manual transmission, its ride was stiff, visibility is lacking, and it isn’t very sporty to drive. It was the lowest ranked of the four fuel-efficient cars that CR tested this month.”
Most other Honda models are recommended by CR, including the Accord sedan, the Accord Crosstour crossover, the CR-V crossover, the Pilot SUV and the Ridgeline pickup.
But not the CR-Z.
“The CR-Z tries to be a sporty hybrid and it’s not outstanding in either category. It’s not fun to drive and the fuel economy is not what you’d expect from a hybrid,” says Rik Paul, CR’s automotive editor in a release.
However, buyers shopping for a fuel-efficient subcompact might want to consider the Ford Fiesta and the Mazda2, both rated “Very good” and considered fun to drive, delivering impressive fuel economy. In addition, the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI posted an “Excellent” score, “delivering impressive, comfort, convenience and room.”
I’d agree that the Fiesta and Mazda2 are both very solid grocery getters – entertaining to drive, stylish and affordable. The CR testers, however, found the Fiesta’s acceleration a bit sluggish and the Mazda2’s ride a bit choppy. I’d agree on the Mazda2, which trades handling for a cushy ride.
Note, however, that until CR has more reliability data, the magazine cannot recommend the Fiesta and Mazda2. The Jetta is recommended, though. The CR-Z is simply an underperformer, despite Honda’s best effort to spin this two-seater as the spiritual successor to the beloved CRX. It is no such thing. Not at all.
Hondas aside, look for more details about the Fiesta and Mazda2 in a roundup of fuel-sipping subcompacts for this Friday’s Globe Drive. Like the CR types, you’ll find that I think the Fiesta is agile and composed, with good braking and a nicely done interior. The Mazda2 has a good interior, too, solid braking, has responsive steering and like the Fiesta, delivers excellent fuel economy.
Some others, however, are not quite so enthralling. Have a look on Friday in Globe Drive.
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