Hybrid Fun, dubbed by Honda as the ‘world’s first sporty hybrid’, the CR-Z coupe has been designed to be both green and fun.
The CR-Z has a wide and low stance, enhanced at the front end by the unusual one piece grille, which extends above and below the front bumper line. Other features of note are the split rear screen – a concept taken from the sporty 1980s CR-X coupe, 1999 Insight and FCX Clarity models.
The sharp looks are more than mere cosmetics: CR-Z has been designed with aerodynamics in mind, the combination of low nose, long roof and vertically cut tail result in drag co-efficient of 0.30 Cd.
In the cabin:
Stepping into the CR-Z is quite a different experience from a regular hatchback. The driver-focussed dashboard, low seating position and supportive seats gives it a sporting feel. The dash centres around the driver, with all key controls within easy reach. Digital displays and a generous helping of buttons create a hi-tech ambience.
Despite having a rear bench, in reality the CR-Z is a 2+2 at a push. Even by these standards the rear accommodation is extremely limited, with only the smallest of children likely to squeeze in. As a spacious 2 seater, CR-Z makes more sense, the folding rear seats increasing the cargo area from 225 to 401 litres. There’s a generous supply of cubby holes dotted around the cabin, too.
A bugbear with the CR-Z’s cabin is the severely restricted rear vision – caused by the horizontal beam separating the slopped glass from vertical panel. Here is a car that is crying out for a rear reversing camera. Otherwise equipment levels on the CR-Z are generous, with all grades benefitting from 6 airbags, active headrests, Vehicle Stability Assist and Hill Start Assist. Features on this fully-loaded GT-T spec car include: cruise control, 240W premium audio system, ambient lighting, alloy pedals, leather upholstery and heated front seats, panoramic glass roof, HID Xenon headlights, Hands-Free Telephone and automatic headlights and wipers.[portfolio_slideshow exclude=”24422″]
On the road:
According to Honda, driver enjoyment was a core part of the design brief and the CR-Z’s chassis plays a key role in creating the character of the car. The platform shares some components with the Insight, but the wheelbase, track width and set-up are all bespoke for the coupe hybrid. The ride is secure and accurate, bordering on the firm side, without being uncomfortable. Wind noise is well suppressed but tyre roar does intrude at higher motorway speeds.
A combination of direct steering sharp turn-in, agile chassis and high grip levels make the CR-Z a capable B-road blaster. Factor in a precise short-throw gearbox and sporty sounding exhaust note and you have a fun driver’s car… but not a fast one. The Jazz-sourced 1.5 iVTEC lacks the high revving nature of Honda’s high performance VTEC engines and even with electric motor assistance there’s a modest 137 PS and 190 Nm torque to play with – although the trade off is a low 122g/km CO2 output.
The CR-Z feels substantially quicker than the quoted figures, thanks to a huge dollop of torque from the electric motor being on hand from as low as 1000 rpm, affording generous low-down pulling power and tractability.
Three different driving modes change the CRZ’s driving style. Normal mode aims to offer the best mix of performance and economy, whilst sport mode sharpens throttle response and steering, utilising more electric motor assistance for maximum performance. At the other end of the spectrum is Econ mode, which uses the hybrid system, throttle response and air conditioning to prioritise fuel. But even in this setting the CR-Z fails to be significantly more economical than an average 2.0 litre diesel. We only managed to return 47 mpg from everyday mixed route driving, quite a way off the claimed 54.3 mpg, although using Eco Assist mode (real-time instrumentation advising the driver on how to alter driving style for greater economy) would undoubtedly see 50 mpg.
The CRZ- is a highly sophisticated and uniquely different car. Added to that are striking looks and a sharp drive, coupled with everyday usability and affordable running costs, although its quirks mean it will probably remain of niche appeal.
Honda CR-Z GT-T
OTR PRICE: £24,045
Max Power: 137 PS
Max combined Torque: 190 Nm
Top speed: 124 mph
0-62 mph: 9.5 seconds
CO2 emissions: (g/km) 122
Combined mpg: (claimed) 54.3
Tax Band: D
Read More Honda articles at Drive.co.uk/HONDA To Search for Used and Nearly New Honda CR-Z Scroll Down
No items found, please search again.