You don't generally see many cars at E3. In fact, the Honda CR-Z may be the first one to make it onto the show floor. We already covered the CR-Z in our pre-E3 coverage. Now that I've had a chance to sit inside of one and pick the brain of one of Honda's PR folks, I've come to a few conclusions about this new sport-hybrid.
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1. It is comfortable as hell. My butt sinks into the seat just the right amount, and there is ample leg room, surprising for such a small car. I don't know how the seats will hold up on long car trips but they pass the 5 minute test.
2. We need more sport-hybrids. The CR-Z only seats two, but it packs a sizeable trunk and gets fantastic gas mileage (38 mpg, highway). Small, inexpensive & fuel-efficient cars are perfect for those of us with no kids (but a ton of gear) to haul.
3. The CR-Z needs a 4WD option. My biggest disappointment with this car is its lack of a 4-wheel drive option. You can pay for Bluetooth connectivity, full navigation & XM radio but not 4WD. This is an issue for anyone who wants to make full use of the “sport” part of this sport-hybrid. How am I supposed to take this thing through mud and up mountain trails without fishtailing or getting stuck?
4. This is a nerd-friendly car. It comes with a USB slot. Just stick in a jump drive loaded with music and, bam, you've got tunes. There's a touchscreen computer to handle radio, CD/audio and navigation. The screen isn't wildly responsive, but it seemed fairly accurate. Routes seem to load quickly.
Bottom Line: Driving this car will make you feel like Batman. The dashboard looks ridiculously cool. It has a lot of depth and the colors and data displayed changes based on the mode you select. There's economy (for fuel-savings), sport (for extra power) and normal. The CR-Z is a very interactive car. Driving the manual version would feel a lot like playing a video game.
Exact prices have not been announced yet, but I was told that a CR-Z with every bell-and-whistle will set me back $20,000. Less bells and whistles will drop the price accordingly.