Honda promotes the 2012 CR-Z as a sports car and a hybrid. The manual starts at $19,695, and the automatic continuously variable transmission, or CVT, starts at $20,345.
Under the hood, you'll find a gas-electric hybrid system with a 16-valve, 1.5-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine pumping 122 horsepower. It comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, which Honda claims is a first on a hybrid vehicle. The manual will get you very decent fuel economy -- 31 mpg city, 37 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined.
But with the automatic continuously variable transmission, you'll save even more gas, getting 35 mpg city, 39 mpg highway and 37 mpg combined. According to Edmunds testing, you'll only need 8.8 seconds to hit 60 mph. With the manual transmission, the CVT loses some speed, doing the sprint in 9.2 seconds. To customize your fuel consumption, the three-mode drive system allows you to choose sport, normal or eco mode for your drive.
Safety is on your side with standards such as antilock brakes, vehicle stability assistance, electronic brake distribution and six air bags.