Honda built the CR-Z for the 2010 through 2016 model years. The CR-Z was powered by a hybrid drive system throughout its production run. The system combines a 1.5L SOHC i-VTEC gasoline engine and an MF6 electric engine. The result is a powerplant that offers a combined 130 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque. The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual, but a CVT is optional. We would recommend buying a unit with the manual transmission for the added driving experience. If driven properly, a CR-Z with a manual transmission is capable of nearly 40 mpg on the highway.
The Outback offers plenty of room for up to five passengers, an award-winning AWD system, and one of the toughest powertrains available no matter what price you pay.
Initially, the Germans will likely only offer conventional gasoline models, with a hybrid lurking around the corner. The GLE 550e plug-in hybrid currently makes 436 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque thanks to a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 mill and an electric motor. 21 mpg combined isn’t exactly leading the class in fuel economy, but the GLE 550e offers up to 19 miles of electric range as well.
Ford built the Escape to be an every man’s compact SUV, which is something we’d say it does pretty darn well. The cars under $5000 are usually powered by a 3.0L V6 that doesn’t have an ounce of quit in it. The engine is capable of 200 hp and 21 mpg on the highway. There is plenty of space for up to five passengers and 66.3 cu.ft. of cargo space. If you buy an Escape with the XLT package, you will have access to the best technology for the model year you buy.