Rumors suggest that the next-gen Honda CR-Z could finally become a real performance machine by dropping the hybrid setup in favor of a detuned version of the European Civic Type R’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. We aren’t there yet, though, and for 2016 the wedge-shaped model instead receives a styling upgrade and some new tech. However, the hybrid powertrain is still exactly the same.
As previewed by the Japanese version earlier this year, the 2016 CR-Z receives a revised face with a reshaped grille. The front diffuser now slashes through the lower air dam to create triangular niches for the foglights. At the back, a redesigned bumper further echoes the nose’s styling.
Honda’s designers also tweak the interior by switching to an electric parking brake. This might seem minor, but because there’s no longer a lever, a center console with an armrest can take up the open space. In addition, drivers can enjoy better infotainment from a standard, seven-inch Display Audio system. For the EX trim and above, the screen is used for the company’s LaneWatch tech, too. Moving up to the top-spec EX-L adds navigation and heated leather seats.
Even with the powertrain the same, the 2016 CR-Z might drive a little better. Honda’s engineers thicken the front stabilizer bar a hair and widen the rear track by 0.4 inches. The brake discs are also now 11.1 inches at the both ends, versus 10.3-inches at the front and 10.2 inches at the back previously.
For 2016, Honda revises the trims to LX, EX, and EX-L, but prices jump slightly. A base model now starts at $21,130 (with the $835 destination charge) versus $20,965 last year (with $820 destination). Perhaps these upgrades are enough to goose CR-Z sales because through September the model is down 25.1 percent with a volume of just 2,205 units.