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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, I'm getting close to parting with my 2000 insight with 202k on it and am seriously entertaining the possibility of a CR-Z as a sensible mid life crisis car, lol. However, do we have much data on the longevity of the lithium version of the batteries in those cars? I'm really sick of the 3-5 year life span of the Honda NiMH packs. It's really just not cost effective to do a $2200 battery every 3-5 years. So I'm wondering, how many miles/years are people getting out of the 2013 and newer CRZ batteries? Also, are they liquid heated/cooled like the Volt? Or air cooled? I know bad thermal management is one of the reasons that Nissan Leafs tend to tear through packs whereas Chevy Volts rarely get replaced due to degradation.

Any tips would be welcome, or pointers to some technical documentation on the CRZ systems and battery management etc.

Thanks!
 

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Air cooled only, but no knowledge of failed ones ...
 

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Here is the Idaho National Labs test for the car:

https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1168607

The Lithium battery tends to degrade about 10-12% in the first 2-3 years of use and then levels out in capacity.

I have a Lithium 2013 HCH with approx the same mileage and the battery is still in good working order.

The battery had active Battery Control Management(BCM) so it avoided some of the unbalance issues that plagued the Gen 1. The lithium battery was also rated for many more cycles than the NiMH.

I would drive the car and see how the battery performs in road use. I'm sure the car has an LCD display that shows the battery state of charge. You will be able to watch that decrease with aggressive driving. Don't expect assist for 5 minutes at wide open throttle. The battery was of rather modest size as many hybrids have now become.
 

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I was seriously interested in a CR-Z when they were new, but over time I became less and less impressed. Acceleration is only marginally better than a Prius and considerably worse than a Civic. Fuel economy is underwhelming considering its performance - expect ~39mpg. Rear visibility is bad. They're heavy, and though I think handling isn't bad, the year it was released made Motor Trend's list of top 10 worst handling vehicles. So, YMMV. Steel construction means they'll die an ugly death in the Northeast.

At least they're fairly roomy and comfortable though? The hatch is fairly big?

I'm opting instead to put a K24 engine in my Insight, and get 2.5x better power to weight than a CR-Z, with better fuel economy.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I was seriously interested in a CR-Z when they were new, but over time I became less and less impressed. Acceleration is only marginally better than a Prius and considerably worse than a Civic. Fuel economy is underwhelming considering its performance - expect ~39mpg. Rear visibility is bad. They're heavy, and though I think handling isn't bad, the year it was released made Motor Trend's list of top 10 worst handling vehicles. So, YMMV. Steel construction means they'll die an ugly death in the Northeast.

At least they're fairly roomy and comfortable though? The hatch is fairly big?

I'm opting instead to put a K24 engine in my Insight, and get 2.5x better power to weight than a CR-Z, with better fuel economy.
Yeah, good points, a bit depressing but hard to argue with. That CR-Zs are sort of the worst of both worlds between sports and economy is a case that can certainly be made. They're slower than a Fit and get worse mileage than a HCH or Prius. Man they look nice though. Shame they didn't make them lighter, maybe ditch the 'back seat' and use a bit more aluminum and polymer.

I'd go for a used Volt, but currently we have a 1 car garage that my wife uses, with a 1 lane driveway and our communing schedule means that if I wanted to park a Volt in the drive behind her in order to reach it with an extension cord, I'd be moving the car twice a day to allow her to get out of the garage. Which I have a feeling would get old real fast. My work keeps saying they'll get EV chargers, but no dice so far, plus even if they got a few of them, people would have to take turns since there are 3 Teslas, 2 Volts and 2 Leafs already in the garage there. Point being, while I'd love to have a plug-in or full EV, I'm afraid charging would become an issue for me - thus the interest in the CRZ or other hybrids as an insight replacement.

Maybe a Prius or Prius C is an option? The Prius c at least is fairly light and actually gets impressive mileage. Nothing much that's 'fun', unique or cool about it, but at least the higher trim levels are kind of nice. E.g. have cruise and alloy wheels. And apparently they're reliable and decent quality for being an 'cheap' hybrid.

I don't know, in some ways it kind of sucks that the gen1 insight was so amazing (other than the now antiquated NiMH battery chemistry) because it makes it hard to feel like I'm moving up in vehicles unless I spend a ton of money on a model 3 or something, which I'm not going to do. Really wish replacing NiMH with a lithium pack wasn't such a nigh impossible task. I know it's been done, but it's a couple hundreds hours of work and required EE expertise way beyond the average enthusiast, mainly b/c the computers all need to be 'tricked' since lithium and NiMH are dissimilar in pretty much every way.
 

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The C is certainly a good car, but it gets worse economy than a normal Prius, and that's a hard sell for some. I like small cars, but it's a truncated Prius and that hurts aerodynamics, so the bigger car is actually more economical. It also uses what is basically a beltless version of the 1.5L engine introduced in the 2nd gen Prius (from 2004), while the 4th gen is out. It's another car which I like the looks of, but is a hard sell in that it's inferior to its bigger brothers if you don't consider smaller size alone to be a virtue.

Looking at newer cars, ones that interest me personally are the 3, Volt, Ioniq, Niro and (if you're interest in non-hybrids) manual Fit. I imagine a Fit would actually beat a CR-Z in fuel economy in some cases; my girlfriend is averaging 45mpg in her 2007 and it's a hoot to drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The C gets worse than a normal prius? That's odd, it's several hundred pounds lighter I thought. Yeah, the most practical thing to get for the least money is probably a used Fit 5 speed or a prius standard that old enough to be affordable. Right now I'm trying to stay around 10k or so.
 

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Maybe a Prius or Prius C is an option?.
My last ride was a 2-year lease of a Prius C and I enjoyed the car a great deal. It was, hands down, one of the best small cars I've driven. Far more practical that the G1, that's for sure.

Mileage touched 60mpg thru a tank, many, many times. Short trips (20 miles) at 35-40mph and I could pull down 70-80mpg, but I had to pay attention. It was *great* in the snow, if that matters to you.

It makes a *lot* of noise when you make demands of it, but it will pull itself up the steepest hill, even pick up speed doing so. But, it is seriously slow on highway acceleration. If I was in a situation where I could slow down or speed up to get out of a tight squeeze, I always had to pick slowing down. Because it's a CVT, you can't drop into 3rd and hit the go-pedal.

The other problem I had with it was driving fast speeds (70mph+) I felt like I was abusing the car. It just wasn't comfortable driving those speed. In the city, stop and go, it's great. Hard to beat, in fact.

AND... the air-con is electric. Turn it on and there's no lag or off-and-on with the engine. You pay for it in mileage, but there's no drag on performance.

My 2-cents.
 

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I don't know, in some ways it kind of sucks that the gen1 insight was so amazing (other than the now antiquated NiMH battery chemistry) because it makes it hard to feel like I'm moving up in vehicles unless I spend a ton of money on a model 3 or something, which I'm not going to do.
Have you considered a Jetta Hybrid? A lot quicker and much more fun to drive than a Prius with almost the same mileage. 1.4L turbo engine. 7-speed automated manual transmission. LI battery pack. Premium car feel. Best of all, you don't see one at every traffic light. I'll have one for sale soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I just took delivery of a 2014 CR-Z EX with Navi (CVT version) this morning that I got from a dealership out of state. It's freakin' awesome. Drove it around some today and did 37 mpg city in cold weather, so not too bad given that I'm still getting the feel for the car. But man, in terms of technology, bells & whistles and performance, this is a major upgrade over the G1. I don't drive tons and my commute is like ~9 miles each way with limited traffic, so the hit to mileage over my G1 insight isn't too painful given that now I have a much more modern vehicle.

Btw, I will be posting my insight for sale in a minute if anyone is interested. Will put in classified section. It's high mileage but mechanically sound and has a brand new 8AH battery.
 
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