Once I discovered the CR-Z, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
You can read the reviews and the specs elsewhere; I just want to talk about why it’s my beloved.
It is a series hybrid with a manual transmission(manual was my number one priority). But this is somewhat odd for a hybrid, because it takes some control away from the car in respect to how it generates power. So you need to spend some time learning how to work with the car. When you get control via the 6-speed manual, to get the most out of the car, you have to learn to work with it. Don’t worry, it has lots of ways of telling you how it’s doing, and it’s very fun to learn.
You can get one with a CVT, but to me, that seems kind of wrong in a CR-Z.
If you drive it like a gas-only car, you aren’t doing it right. Just approach it with an open mind, note all that electric torque in the low RPM range, and just play and play and play with it.
The hybrid system is a power transmutation system. The CR-Z is not a race car that can go hard all day long. It accelerates quickly, but only for short periods of time. Which, it turns out, is what most of us actually need for merging/passing/manuevering.
On really long, steep hills in the mountains, remember you have to downshift. If you completely dump the battery, you’ll have to either do so, or you’ll slow down and have to fight your way back up into the proper RPM range, so better to beat it to the punch and still have some charge left on top. How much you decide to use of the battery depends on how much you can get back from regenerative braking on the other side. The gauge will tell you how much the electric part is doing. Just another thing to keep you entertained.
Okay, so it gets great gas mileage, the EPA loves it, and it’s pretty quick despite that. But then more intangibles come in.
It is a very well-built car, with a well-proven engine, and over a decade of hybrid engineering refinement.
And the car just seems to know what to do for you, and when to do it. I’m easily annoyed, but there is simply nothing annoying about the CR-Z driver interface. It makes only the noises at you it needs to, and they are pleasant, sensible noises. The dashboard is… well, it defies description. It’s utterly beautiful and functional, and mildly trippy, to boot.
And, yes, I think it is, overall, a beautiful, sensuously curvy little car. It’s a sexy, high-quality hybrid that’s fun to drive, gets great gas mileage, and doesn’t cost too much. And I love mine very much indeed.