It’s no secret that the Honda CR-Z has been a big sales disappointment. Initially, many consumers rightfully thought of the legendary CR-X when they saw the two-door, two-seater hatchback. Instead of delivering a vehicle that’s a blast to drive, Honda produced a practice in mediocrity.
Quite frankly, it’s a miracle the car is still on the market. Honda’s taking another crack at things, giving the CR-Z a mid-cycle refresh in hopes that it will kick start something.
Before anyone gets their hopes up, the sad news is that the same hybrid powertrain is still being used in the CR-Z. It’s good for a mere 130 horsepower, which makes the heavy car feel anemic and downright boring.
Once again, Honda seems to have not paid any attention to its critics, because reports indicate the refreshed parts on the 2016 CR-Z are basically all cosmetic. The outside is gaining an updated lower air dam up front, giving the car an edgier look. LED lights are going to be on the JDM model, but in the U.S. that’s not the case. The rear fascia is also facelifted, adding more “sportiness.” The brake discs are going to be larger at 15 inches, but that’s about the only mechanical upgrade.
A ridiculous feature that’s become far too common in modern vehicles is a new engine sound amplifier, to make drivers feel like they’re going faster. At the same time, a noise cancellation system helps make things quieter when cruising at freeway speeds. Honda is eliminating the mechanical parking brake, putting in an electric one instead. With the extra space in the center console, drivers and front passengers will enjoy a center armrest.
All hope isn’t lost, though. Rumors have been floating around that Honda might actually dump the pointless and heavy hybrid powertrain and go with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder for the next-generation CR-Z. Such a move would give the car the kind of zest it deserves, and would likely compel more people to actually buy the thing.