Honda has announced that it will discontinue the CR-Z hybrid after the 2016 model year following years of less-than-stellar sales numbers. Originally marketed as a spiritual successor to the legendary CRX, the CR-Z debuted in 2010 with plenty of promise. However, its execution didn't really hit the mark since its hybrid powertrain only offered 130 hp and 127-140 lb-ft of torque depending on whether you opted for the standard six-speed manual or the optional CVT.
Sadly, the car hasn't sold well ever since its debut and never caught on as the automaker had hoped. After a few years on the market, Honda Performance Development (HPD) began offering a supercharger kit that raised the CR-Z's output to a more respectable 197 hp and 176-lb-ft, but that was limited only to cars equipped with the stick.
The CR-Z only sold 5,249 units in its first year on the market, but it more than doubled that number at 11,330 units in 2011, its best year. From there, sales dropped off significantly in 2012, when only 4,192 units were sold. While 2013 saw a slight improvement at 4,550 units, CR-Z sales never recovered and continued to slide in the years that followed.
By the end of 2014, Honda was barely able to move 3,500 units per year. Last year, Honda sold a total of 3,073 CR-Zs, which represented a drop of 14 percent compared to 2014. As of May 2016, only 970 CR-Zs have found homes in North America, representing a drop of 10.1 percent compared to May of last year. Honda has already announced a special final edition called the CR-Z Alpha Final Label for the Japanese market, which hints that there may not be a successor to Honda's little hybrid two-seat hatchback.
The CR-Z never really had a direct competitor, and it filled a niche no one even knew existed. It tried to be a sporty yet fuel-efficient alternative to your typical compact and subcompact car but it didn't offer much of a benefit, especially after 2011 when compact cars began surpassing the CR-Z's fuel economy advantage and sometimes came with more power and better performance. The 2016 CR-Z is EPA-rated at 36/39 mpg city/highway with the CVT and 34/38 mpg with the manual, compared to 33/41 mpg for a CVT-equipped Honda Fit that makes the same horsepower (though less torque) and has a backseat.
Will you mourn the passing of the CR-Z? Should Honda design a follow-up to the niche sporty car? Tell us in the comments below.