While you were sleeping, Honda quietly ceased production of its CR-Z hybrid “sports” coupe.
The company’s North American office released a statement noting that Honda will “discontinue CR-Z this year ” as it “significantly expand[s] its sales of electrified vehicles with the addition of two new volume models.” Those models would be the 2017 Accord Hybrid and the Clarity range of fuel cell, electric, and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
The key word there would be “volume.” Released in 2010 as a 2011 model year vehicle, the CR-Z struggled to find buyers from the start. We called it a “compromise” and felt it was a car that had the potential to “be even better.” While Honda made updates to the car throughout its life, the brand never twisted the dial to “11” to really turn the CR-Z into an appealing sports coupe, but it tilted just far enough in that direction to erode its appeal to eco-minded hybrid customers. Last month, Honda moved 234 of the hatchbacks off U.S. lots, approximately 15 percent of the 1557 CR-Zs it sold in May 2011—which was not a particularly stellar sales figure in itself. To put things in perspective, Honda sold more than 35,000 Civics last month.
As time wore on, Honda’s increasingly efficient four-cylinder engines made purchasing the gasoline-electric CR-Z harder to justify. EPA rated at 31 mpg city and 38 mpg highway, the manual-transmission 2016 CR-Z barely bettered the fuel economy of the manual-transmission 2016 Civic coupe (26/38 mpg). It also cost $1245 more than the bigger Civic coupe.
Although we applaud Honda for attempting to create a relatively engaging, somewhat affordable hybrid vehicle, we can’t say we’ll miss the current hatch. Nor, likely, will the American shopper.