NEW FOR 2014:

– No changes.

Honda’s quirky CR-Z stays the course after a sizable update last year. Designed to bridge the gap between sporting models of the past such as the Civic-based CRX and Honda’s green mandate, the CR-Z makes its mark on the world by being the only affordable sporty hybrid on the market.

Conceptually, the CR-Z’s powertrain is similar to the recently discontinued Insight. It uses a larger 1.5-litre four-cylinder motor that’s paired to Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system that now benefits from a 15-kW lithium-ion battery pack. Beyond its low-slung bodywork, the CR-Z is the only hybrid to offer a manual transmission (a six-speed), although a CVT with steering wheel paddles is available. A three-mode driving system allows the driver to configure the responsiveness to Sport, Normal or Economy modes. The CR-Z uses the electric motor to augment the gasoline engine, and cannot run on its battery alone; it shuts off the gasoline engine at idle such as at red lights. It’s best to think of it as an electric supercharger.

Standard features include six-speed manual transmission (CVT available), Plus Sport System, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters (CVT only), three-mode drive system, 16-inch alloy wheels, electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, front stabilizer bar, four wheel disc brakes with ABS, creep-aid system (CVT only), airbags (front, side curtain), hill start assist, immobilizer theft-deterrent system, security system, vehicle stability assist, body-coloured door handles, body-coloured folding power side mirrors with integrated turn signals, front splash guards, blue LED brake lights, rear window defroster, rear window wiper, automatic climate control with air filtration, cargo area cover and light, Eco Assist coaching display, exterior temperature indicator, HandsFreeLink Bluetooth connectivity, map lights, power windows with driver side auto-up/down, programmable automatic power door locks, rearview camera with guidelines, remote entry system, steering wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls, tachometer, tilt/telescopic steering, tire repair kit, floor mats, folding cargo tray behind front seats, and 6-speaker 160W AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with auxiliary and USB input.

Premium Package adds 17-inch alloy wheels, heated exterior mirrors, fog lights, HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, navigation, text message function, heated seats, leather upholstery, and 7-speaker 360W premium audio with subwoofer.

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