Combining new, more aggressive styling, upgraded standard and available features and sporty handling, the 2016 Honda CR-Z sport hybrid boasts of an edgier, more chiseled look, with the redesigned front end featuring sharp character lines that flow from the sheet work and terminate in an angular eight-point polygon grill. A sharp, blade-like front diffuser sweeps up from the center and dissects the front corners to form triangular fog light wells that create a wider look and feature prominent lower aero sills. The aggressive stance created by the front end continues along the CR-Z’s sides with flared full-length side garnishes that create a planted and sucked-to-the-tarmac look, complemented by new swept five-spoke design alloy wheels. The upward sweeping aero features of the front are mirrored at the rear, pushing the exit pod design elements to the sides for a wider looking stance.
Upgraded interior surface treatments include a new brushed metallic finish to the door handles, front paneling and center console. The leather-wrapped steering wheel and new-for-2016 heated and leather-trimmed seats on the top-of-the-line EX-L Navi trim include an attractive contrasting stitch pattern. Creating an even sportier cockpit feel, a new center console rises between the seats with a comfortable armrest and deep storage compartment. Allowing for this addition is a new standard electric parking brake (EPB) that eliminates the traditional parking brake lever and offers easier push-button operation. Another new standard convenience feature is the Smart Entry and Push Button Start/Stop system that simplifies approaching, entering and operating the CR-Z.
The hybrid powertrain uses a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder, 16-valve, single-overhead cam (SOHC) engine with “intelligent” Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC) that receives additional power from the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system’s DC brushless electric motor. Powered by a 144-volt Lithium-Ion battery pack, the 15-kilowatt (20 horsepower) electric motor assists in acceleration and also acts as a generator during braking or coasting to capture kinetic energy to recharge the battery pack. Combined peak output is 130 horsepower at 6,000 revolutions per minute and 140 pound-feer of torque (127 lb.-ft. on CVT-equipped models), including electric-motor assist.
Selectable Econ, Normal and Sport operating modes let the driver select his or her desired balance of economy and performance. In addition, the standard Plus Sport System delivers increased acceleration when the driver presses the “S+” button on the steering wheel (when the battery is more than 50-percent charged and the CR-Z is traveling over 19 miles per hour [30.4 kilometers per hour]). The CR-Z’s idle-stop feature temporarily turns off the gasoline engine when the vehicle comes to a stop under certain conditions. In this situation, the hybrid powertrain’s electronic control unit monitors the closed throttle, speed and brake pressure to determine the driver is bringing the car to a stop. When the brake pedal is released, the engine is restarted and power is available immediately.
Refreshed with exterior design and trim upgrades for 2016, the CR-Z’s “one-motion” exterior wedge shape begins at its low-slung hood to form a broad forward stance, with its deeply inset beltline adding a dynamic element. Standard exterior features include power windows and power door locks, remote entry, and an Expanded View Driver’s Mirror. The CR-Z EX and EX-L model add LED daytime running lights (DRL), high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights with Auto-On/Off, and fog lights.
The front MacPherson strut and rear H-shaped torsion beam suspension systems, along with electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, are tuned to provide a sporty driving experience. All CR-Z models have 16-inch aluminum wheels and 195/55R16 tires. The CR-Z’s low height, compact wheelbase and placement of the battery and other hybrid components beneath the rear cargo area contribute to a low center of gravity and responsive, sporty handling.
To further improve the 2016 CR-Z’s handling prowess, the chassis was retuned with several components receiving upgrades: the front stabilizer bar diameter was increased from 19 millimeters to 20 mm; the rear wheel track was increased by 10 mm; and front and rear brake discs were enlarged to 11.1 inches in diameter.
The CR-Z interior has a high-tech appearance and intuitive controls including the new Display Audio touchscreen. The hybrid sport coupe’s ultra-modern instrument panel features gauges that illuminate with a three-dimensional color theme for a multi-layered appearance, with the tachometer backlighting color changing based on driving style. The sweeping upper dashboard shape creates a wraparound cockpit environment. Premium sport-oriented seats provide firm lateral support along with everyday driving comfort and are now offered on the new EX-L trim as heated leather seats with an attractive contrasting stitch pattern to provide a premium sporty interior feel. A console behind the front seats optimizes cargo space, with a hard-shell separator that can be closed to create additional hidden storage.
Standard electronic features include the Display Audio-operated, 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers and speed-sensitive volume control and a USB5 auxiliary input jack for connection to a portable audio player. Other interior features include Pandora compatibility, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, automatic climate control and cruise control.
Honda’s exclusive Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure helps protect occupants in a frontal collision. Additional safety technologies include dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; standard front-side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); side-curtain airbags, active head restraints; an anti-lock braking system; a tire pressure monitoring system; and design features to the front of the vehicle intended to mitigate potential injuries to a pedestrian in a collision.
All 2015 and newer Honda models, including the 2016 CR-Z, incorporate a multi-angle rearview camera. Viewable on the 7-inch Display Audio touchscreen, the camera can show a top view, normal or wide view when the transmission is in reverse. The camera view features dynamic guidelines that help the driver better judge distances and project the vehicle’s future path based on the driver’s steering inputs.