2011 Honda CR-Z (base price, $19,200) Can hybrids be fun as well as fuel-efficient? That's the question Honda hopes it can answer with the new CR-Z coupe.The compact two-seater has a drivetrain that's similar to the late '90s-era Insight hybrid, but it's set up to do more than just get really good gas mileage, as the Insight was. A slightly larger, significantly stronger 1.5 liter gas engine (vs. 1.3 in the old Insight) supplemented by an electric motor/battery pack together produce 125 hp. A six-speed manual transmission is available, too. The CR-Z's six-speed manual transmission is a rare, sporty feature to find in a hybrid - almost all of which come with a CVT automatic as the only available transmission.
Official stats weren't available at the time of this report, but Honda claims the CR-Z will be capable of 40 mpgs on the highway and close to that in city-type driving, too (where its electric-assist drivetrain is most efficient). This isn't as impressive as the old Insight's 60-ish mpg, but the CR-Z is much more fun to drive and even has a reasonably sized trunk/cargo area (25 cubic feet) which is a vast improvement over the Insight's 16 cubic foot trunk capacity. The only potential downside is the two-seater layout, which will probably limit the CR-Z to being a single-person's car, a commuter car - or a second car.