Honda’s hybrid CR-Z gets a revised look and range-topping trim for 2016

Honda has given the hybrid CR-Z coupe a mid-cycle update that includes a host of modifications inside and out, and a new range-topping trim level.

It takes a relatively well-trained eye to tell the outgoing 2015 CR-Z apart from the updated 2016 model. The list of visual modifications is largely limited to more aggressive-looking bumpers on both ends, a bigger grille with mesh inserts, and more modern-looking headlights. All trim levels also benefit from the usual assortment of new alloy wheel designs and paint colors.

Inside, Honda has added a comfort-focused center console with a built-in armrest, an electric parking brake, a push-button ignition, and a seven-inch Display Audio touch screen that groups the coupe’s entertainment, connectivity, and navigation (if equipped) functions into a single unit.

Aimed at buyers who want a top-of-the-line CR-Z, the new, feature-packed EX-L trim level comes standard with the aforementioned navigation system, and with voice commands, leather upholstery on the seats and on the steering wheel, heated seats, and Honda’s safety-enhancing LaneWatch technology.

Enthusiasts have been clamoring for a more powerful version of the CR-Z since the model went on sale in 2010. Honda offers a supercharger kit, but it hasn’t made any mechanical modifications to the base, naturally-aspirated model. The 2,639-pound coupe carries on with a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain that’s made up of a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 15-kilowatt electric motor linked to a 144-volt lithium-ion battery pack.

The two power sources develop 130 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque when the CR-Z is ordered with the standard six-speed manual transmission. Selecting the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) lowers the system’s torque output to 127 lb.-ft.

The 2016 Honda CR-Z is on sale now across the nation. Pricing ranges from $20,295 for a base LX model with a six-speed manual gearbox and to $25,090 for a range-topping EX-L version fitted with a CVT.