I think the Honda Gods have cursed me. I was critical of the Ridgeline, and a Honda hex caused me to lose money on a Civic flip. Now, I’m being stalked by a fleet of Honda CR-Zs.
The CR-Z design was sort of a hybrid (hah, pun intended) follow-up to two similarly shaped Honda hatchbacks, the CRX and the original Insight. Essentially, Honda took the idea of the Fit, added a hybrid system, put it in a weirdly enticing hatchback body, and sent it into the world.
It was a flop. Its sharp handling and tantalizing styling couldn’t cover over the car’s lack of practicality, high price tag, and mediocre fuel economy for being a hybrid. Honda sold a little more than 35,000 CR-Zs here in the United States, but for some reason, I see them extremely often in Ohio.
Sure, Honda North America is a mere 45 minutes from me, but all the CR-Zs were made in Japan. It’s not like the CR-Z is a prime Ohio car. It only seats two, it’s a low-slung car without AWD, and it’s tiny. There should be no logical reason why I see at least three per day around Columbus.
Things got even weirder when I learned that there’s a dealer a mere half-mile from my house that had more than 15 for sale.
Just… why? As Cardi B said, “WHAT WAS THE REASON?”
I drove to the dealership and wandered around. More than 20 CR-Zs in various states of disrepair littered the lot. Most were automatic, but a few of the reportedly good six-speed manual cars were present, too. Some of the cars had dealer stickers from as far away as North Carolina or Georgia, as if some demonic force caused the CR-Zs to enter a great migration, with the end goal being Columbus. Eventually, I saw a man outside repairing an automatic CR-Z in North Shore Blue Pearl.
I had to know, why did this man have so many CR-Zs? Also, could he help me with mine? Mine still sat at the mechanic, with a phantom no-start issue that baffled the both of us.
The shop owner didn’t want to talk all that much. He told me that the shop only works on Honda hybrids but didn’t want to say why. I asked, “Well, are they easy to work on?” The man laughed, smiled, and said, “No, they aren’t that easy to work on,” but he offered to service mine if my mechanic and I couldn’t figure out what the deal was. Had Honda possessed him into being a sort of ambassador of the Integrated Motor Assist? Nah, this person was far too nice, he’s probably just an experienced man who fell into a groove of fixing and reselling CR-Zs.
I feel like I know less about the allure of the CR-Z now than from when I bought the car a few months ago. I’ve always thought the CR-Z was a cute, but kind of lame, small coupe, but apparently it’s a hot commodity here in Ohio. Who knew?
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