Inhabitat recently had the opportunity to borrow the new Honda CRZ Hybrid with manual transmission to test how this sporty configuration works with a hybrid propulsion system. Boy, does it. We zipped around town doing errands, avoiding traffic, and breaking stereotypes about hybrids being underpowered. The 2012 Honda CRZ Hybrid is anything but! For just under $20,000 starting price you get two front seats, cargo space in back, and three modes to choose from: ECON, Normal, and Sport.
How sporty is Sport mode, really? We’re so glad you asked. It’s surprisingly powerful, actually–even coltish. The CRZ feels a bit restrained in ECON mode, though not nearly as much as in other Honda hybrids, and Normal mode gives it as much zip as a regular sporty Honda coupe. Push the Sport button, and suddenly the car wants to leap out of the gate at every gear change, straining against the clutch. Yes, really.
Drawbacks? Well, those two seats limit the car’s usefulness to anyone other than singles with a date in tow. That keeps the weight down to offer you this performance, however. Also less than stellar is the gas mileage, which averages 40 mpg but quickly rises or plummets on your decision to drive in Normal or Sport mode. You will have to be careful to rein this little beast in, if you’re lucky enough to get one. We’re thrilled Honda has proved hybrids can be sporty and fun to drive, and done it in such a nice little package. Click through our gallery below to see more details on the inside of this dark horse hybrid.