The Honda CR-Z is a compact hybrid electric automobile manufactured by Honda and marketed as a "sport hybrid coupe." The CR-Z combines a hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain with traditional sports car elements - most notably having a 2+2 seating arrangement and a standard manual transmission. The CR-Z is regarded as the spiritual successor to the second generation Honda CR-X in both name and exterior design. In the U.S., it is one of the least polluting vehicles available and is rated as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) as defined by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The CR-Z is the only gasoline-electric hybrid model offered by any automaker that can be equipped with a manual transmission. The CR-Z is the sixth unique version of Honda's IMA technology since the technology was first launched in the first generation Insight 3 door hatchback. Sales of the CR-Z began in Japan in February 2010. Sales in the U.S. began in August 2010
Sales of the CR-Z began in Japan on February 26, 2010 at a starting price of ¥2.27 million (~US$25,340) before any government subsidies. Honda announced that in less than one month it has received orders for more than 10,000 vehicles, far exceeding its sales forecast. As of the end of August 2010, more than 19,000 CR-Z were delivered and sales orders received are three times higher than expected, which led to Japanese media comparing its success with the NSX in the 1990s, another sports car from Honda. In an interview in early February 2011, a Honda executive disclosed that Honda produces around 200,000 hybrids a year in Japan. Sales in North America started on August 24, 2010. The 2011 CR-Z is offered in three trim levels: base, EX, and EX with navigation. The base CR-Z starts at US$19,950, the CR-Z EX starts at US$21,510 and the EX with navigation trim is priced at US$23,310. The CR-Z pricing is similar to the Honda Insight and has a lower price than the market leader Toyota Prius. After its launch in late August 2010, there were 3,349 Honda CR-Z sold as of end of October, 2010. It ranked as the fourth most sold hybrid in the U.S. for September and October of that year. U.S. sales for year 2010 reached 5,249 units, and ranked 11th in hybrid sales for that year. For year 2011 cumulative sales of the CR-Z in the U.S. reached 9,635 units through August, ranking number four in hybrid sales in 2011 and outsold only by the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Honda Insight, and Toyota Prius. In addition to commercials airing during sporting events, Honda held a marketing competition available to universities throughout the United States. This competition allowed students to create public relations and social media campaigns for the vehicle. A team from Syracuse University won first place in the competition, followed by runners-up New England School of Communications and University of LaVerne.
It was reported that Honda would release the CR-Z hybrid coupe in the Australian market in the middle of 2011. It appeared in the 2011 Australian International Motor Show in June but the launch was delayed by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It was launched in Australia in December 2011, starting from A$34,990 (before on-road costs) for the Sport grade with a 6-speed transmission. Two Honda Performance Development CR-Z Racers entered the 25-hour of Thunderhill endurance race held on December 4–5, 2010 at Willows, California. The car, first shown to the public at 2010 SEMA Show, is fully stripped down with lowered suspension. A turbo charger is bolted to the engine raising output to 175 hp (130 kW) and 155 lb·ft (210 N·m) of torque, furthermore, the Integrated Motor Assist setup is modified utilizing components from Mission Motors and a push-to-pass function is added, making a total of 200 hp (149 kW) and 175 lb·ft (237 N·m) of torque when the button is pressed. One of the two entrants battled from a near 10-lap deficit to finish second in the Endurance 3 class, after suffering early in the race from two five-minute "stop-and-hold" penalties caused by refueling problems. The other entrant scored pole position of the class but failed to finish the race. The Honda CR-Z was one of the most showcased cars during the SEMA show earlier in the year and one of the cars produced 533 hp (397 kW). This is what the hybrid engine could withstand in terms of power.