Honda CR-Z car review
- We like...Fun to drive
- We don't...Silly rear seats
Check out the CR-Z in the photos here. Does it look like an ‘eco-saver’ to you? Prepare to be surprised. What we have here is Honda’s very modern take on its CRX, a crazy-quick small coupe it built back in the 1980s. In step with the mood of the moment, this is a hybrid, meaning that it has a small petrol engine helped along by an electric motor. Working together, they kick out 122bhp. Reckon that’s poor for a modern sporty car? Maybe. But it’s a fizzer of a car to drive, spinning easily through each of its six manually-picked gears. Its 0-60 time of 9.9sec means that it is brisk, not quick, but on the road is feels to have enough power.
Although it uses a shortened version of the chassis from Honda’s existing Insight hybrid, it’s short and front occupants sit low in big, huggy chairs. But don’t even think of sitting anyone in the back. Though there are seats and belt harnesses, even kids would be cramped. It’s better to drop the tiny seat back and extend the boot.
The dash is love-or-hate. It bristles with dials and gauges. A digital read-out in the centre shows your speed, while a surrounding it changes colour depending on how you drive: ‘red’ when it’s in Sport mode, ‘blue’ when you’re accelerating in ‘Normal’ and ‘green’ when you’re hanging back. The dash will even ‘grow’ a little tree graphic that reflects how economically you drive. We love it, while the light colours of the dash and cabin materials and the intriguing shapes on the dash make for a handsome, even chic, place to spend time.
Like other hybrids its electric batteries charge as you drive and will claw back power whenever it can – if you brake, for instance. And, if you want, a dash read-out can show moment by moment where the car’s power is coming from. It’ll turn itself off when you reach a halt in traffic and you can feel the electric motor chipping in if you give the CR-Z full pelt. But otherwise it feels conventional to drive: that 1.5-litre motor is revvy as Honda engines tend to be and it even burbles nicely once you work it.
Switch from ‘Normal’ to ‘Sport’ and the steering firms and the throttle response improves. It’s where the car feels happiest, even if isn’t the place where it’ll work most efficiently. It’s such fun to drive that you’ll routinely make the best of its modest power. So, if you’re like us, you’ll be too eager- footed to get anywhere close to its published fuel economy figures. Which kinda defeats the object, we know.
It’s an interesting car, and very good value if you go for the cheapest model over our top of the line GT, as pictured. Its fuel economy, even if you can achieve anything like the published figures is good, not great. And while its hybrid motors allow exemption from the London congestion charge, the CO2 output is unremarkable.
Should you buy one? It looks good, drives sharply and will ease your eco-conscience. We predict that it will lose value slowly when second-hand, too. Reasons plenty to write that deposit cheque.
- Engines1.5 petrol; 14bhp
- 0-60 mph9.9secs
- Insurance groups
Motors.co.uk value verdict: