Ok, it's been more than two months since I first drove the Honda CR-Z and gave it my initial review. Here's an update with better detail and explanation.
First off, the car is an engineering marvel. It is simply hard to describe how wonderful this little bugger is. It has the complete feel of a sports car, the look of a sports car, and the efficiency of a hybrid. Handling is excellent. It can take curves and corners on a dime. The suspension is very very nice, soft and smooth ride. The interrior is roomy for such a small car, comfortable and satisfying. I'm 6-foot-2 almost (6-1 3/4) and I fit fine in this car from headroom to legroom there are no issues. The seats are stylish and comfortable. All of the dashboard and ergnomics are impressively designed. I can answer the phone, I can turn on or off my radio, change stations, change songs on my Ipod, change gears with the engine, move from "normal" to "sport" to economy mode, change the climate conditions, and check out the car's computer display for its performance all with the push of a button that is either on the steering wheel or within a few inches of it. There are many other features that I could mention here too. I never have to take my eyes off the road or am distracted looking for something to turn on or off while I'm driving. Let's just say the dash and the controls are excellently thought out and set up.
The car drives much like a small car would be expected when it's in the economy mode. It's doesn't putter along though. It's got some giddy-up in the economy mode. In the normal mode, it drives like a normal car. It has more power and feels stronger. In the sport mode, the car is begging to be punched and driven. It kicks it up a couple notches. These are all wonderful features that can really satisfy your desire for how you want to drive at that particular moment.
One of the best features about this car is that it's a hybrid. The engine shuts off completely at stoplights and stop signs, all in the name of conserving fuel. It also has a guage which you can monitor and it tells you when you are driving with battery power or when you're driving on gas power. You can basically drive it at certain levels to find the "sweet spot" in the engine and it will drive on just as much battery power as gasoline. This is how you maximize the car's fuel efficiency. It's a really nice little touch that Honda has added for fuel-conscious drivers.
Originally, I thought the back window was too obstructed and flat, to be too much of a blind spot for my taste. But, having driven the car now for a couple of months, I've found that my eyes have adjusted to the windows in the back and I now pick up on all the cues and settings behind me. It took about 4-5 weeks of getting used to, but now I'm just as comfortable driving this car as I was my 4Runner with windows everywhere. My point is, there really isn't the blind spot that one might think or fear. I don't even notice it any more because my eyes are now trained to look certain ways.
The only issue with this car is that it's a 2-seater. There's plenty of cargo room in the backseat. That's no problem at all. But, obviously, you can't drive a family of four around in it. Still, I'm single and so is my girlfriend so this car is perfect for single people. I have a 4-Runner that seats five, and I've probably needed to seat five maybe 10 times in the past 15 years in it. I would say 99 percent of my driving consists of 2 persons or less in my vehicle and that's probably true for a very high percentage of people. Thus, the Honda CR-Z being a 2-seater is really not an issue for me, and wouldn't be for a lot of people.
As far as fuel efficiency, during October and November, the CR-Z was regularly getting 41-42 mpg in the city. Through Dec. 24, the car is getting about 37 mpg city. It's much colder here now, and we tend to let the car warm up a little before driving it just to have the interrior comfortable and warm. I imagine if driven properly in the economy mode, this car can get at least 45 mpg on the highway and realistically can get 50 mpgs.
Also, because I've noticed what many of you have said about the car's looks. I've been stopped by people at redlights, gas stations and in the McDonald's drive through and asked what kind of car I was driving. They then told me it was really cool looking and they'd never one before. All of these people were younger people. This is a stylish and sporty looking car whether you particularly like it's look or not. It does appeal to another generation.
Another thing, the person who said Honda was trying to design a car that was both sporty and fuel efficient while showing that hybrids do not have to be boring and plain was exactly right. Honda nailed this idea and I imagine you'll see the younger generation start buying them.
Now, I'm biased because I like fuel efficient cars and I like small sporty cars. I also love Hondas for both of the formentioned reasons along with their styling, longetivity and durability. You can't beat a Honda. Personally, I think the Honda CR-Z is a home run for Honda.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this car a 9.5 and two thumbs up.