Honda CR-Z review 2019

Find out more about the Honda CR-Z in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • - Clever hybrid tech
  • - Cheap to run
  • - Quirky looks

Cons

  • - Compromised practicality
  • - Limited visibility
  • - Not as sporty as it looks
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Model Review

Honda has always been a fun and interesting manufacturer — it is the firm with the ‘Power of Dreams’ after all. While many carmakers are just venturing into the world of hybrid models, Honda has been in this territory for some time, with the Insight coupe being the model to head-up the firm’s interesting look into hybrid cars. The spiritual successor to the Insight was the CR-Z.

Honda promised sporty looks and agile handling, but also a car that was cheaper to run than typical performance models. Unlike most hybrid models which make do with a CVT automatic gearbox, Honda — being the only manufacturer to do so — fits the CR-Z with a six-speed manual transmission, which aims to achieve a more engaging and involving driving experience than typically found with hybrid models.

The CR-Z uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine couples to an IMA hybrid system, and also offers a flexible 2+2 seating arrangement, even if it might be somewhat compromised.  Sales for the CR-Z started in the summer of 2010.

Latest model

The CR-Z enjoyed a rather short production run, although several changes were made to the line-up in that time.

Honda experimented with tuning firm Mugen to bring a CR-Z Mugen to market a higher-performance offering, though the supercharged model was never officially sold in the UK. A special Mugen ‘RZ’ was later sold in Japan and limited to just 300 units.

An updated CR-Z reached showrooms in 2013, with a slight increase in performance from a new IMA hybrid system and revised engine, amounting to an extra 13bhp, which helped to cut nearly a second off the 0-60mph time, but without comprising on efficiency. New colours, a revised front bumper and a revised front grille also featured on the model.

The CR-Z was discontinued globally in 2016, although the model was taken off sale in the UK in 2015.

Value for money

At launch, the CR-Z proved to be quite an affordable option, with models starting from £16,999 and ranging to £19,999 for the top-spec GT. Standard equipment was also commendable, with all variants getting climate control, keyless start and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror as standard, with top-spec GT versions benefitting from luxuries such as leather seats, Xenon headlights and a panoramic glass roof.

Despite the CR-Z being an appealing prospect, it’s never been a particularly popular car. That means there isn’t that much choice on the used market, but there are some very well-priced models available. The cheapest we could find was priced at £4,250 for a 2011 car in good condition, with full-service history and 125,000 miles, which is a few too many to be ideal. Around £5,500 will pay for a something with far less miles on the clock, with more desirable, low-mileage GT cars costing from around £6,500.

Looks and image

Even nearly a decade after it was first unveiled, the CR-Z is still a hugely appealing model, with its dramatic and distinguishable design. Highlights include a low bonnet line, a wide stance and overall it succeeds in looking sporty. Standard LED daytime running lights were also quite advanced for 2010 — when the CR-Z was first on sale. Stylish alloy wheels also complement the design, which still looks good, despite the car’s age.

While interiors have moved on dramatically in recent years, the CR-Z’s has aged better than other models. The two-tone look helps bring out the colourful and modern design of the interior, while digital dials and a touchscreen make the CR-Z’s cabin look newer than it is. There is a few too many cheap plastics being used throughout the cabin, but in typical Honda fashion, it feels superbly built. High-spec GT models also benefit from luxuries such as leather upholstery, heated seats and a panoramic glass roof, too.

For all its sporty looks though, the CR-Z’s driving experience doesn’t deliver the thrills you might expect. It’s not helped by an underpowered hybrid system, which offered just 112bhp, or 119bhp in the case of later. This meant it never delivered the buzz you hoped for. However, it’s actually more fun to drive than these figures suggest, with a unique driving experience delivered by the hybrid system. It delivers decent acceleration and offers an involving and dynamic driving experience however, it’s by no means a sports car — as Honda might have wanted you to think — but does a decent job of ensuring thrills, even with limited power.

Space and practicality

Honda is perhaps being generous when it markets the CR-Z as a ‘2+2’, as despite having rear seats, they’re exceptionally cramped and are only suited to children on short trips or as additional luggage space. Despite this, the front seats are accommodating and up front it feels reasonably airy, particularly with lighter interior finishes.

The boot, even for a coupe, is quite meagre — with just 225 litres on offer, which isn’t much more than most city cars. Folding the seat backs down, which is a handy touch, increases the space on offer to 401 litres, but it still leaves the CR-Z feeling a bit short-changed with practicality. The styling also doesn’t help rear visibility, which is partially blocked by the rear spoiler. A reversing camera was a worthy extra on new models, and it’s worth digging out a used car with this feature.

Unlike many other coupes, Honda did subject its CR-Z to Euro NCAP safety testing, where it scored an impressive five-star rating. It received high praise for its adult occupancy protection, as well as for coming with features such as emergency braking assistance, hill-start assist and electronic stability control.

 

Engines

Just one engine is offered on the CR-Z and that’s a four-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol unit paired to a Honda IMA hybrid. Despite the electric motor offering just 14bhp, it’s torque where it contributes the most — adding an additional 78Nm to the car’s total output. This allows for a combined 122bhp and 174Nm of torque. It results in a 0-60mph time of 9.8 seconds, and a top speed of 124mph.

In 2013, the powertrain was enhanced with engine changes and the use of a lithium ion battery helping to increase power. This meant the revised CR-Z produced 135bhp and 190Nm of torque, which helped to reduce the 0-60mph time to 8.9 seconds.

Power is delivered to the front wheels by a six-speed manual transmission, which was the first gearbox of its kind to be paired to a hybrid powertrain.

 

Running costs

The hybrid powertrain has plenty of benefits, and running costs is one of them. Honda claims the CR-Z is capable of a claimed 56.5mpg fuel economy figure, with CO2 emissions of between 116 and 122g/km. This is impressive on a sporty coupe – particularly for its 2010 release date. Despite its complex powertrain, it should be no more expensive to maintain than a standard petrol or diesel car.

Insurance groups range between 16 and 17, depending on trim level, which means the CR-Z should also be affordable to insure.

Things to look out for

Despite all the CR-Z’s complexities, it’s proven to be a hugely reliable car, as is the case with most Hondas. The only issue reported with it is an isolated case of a leaking passenger footwell. The powertrain has also been faultlessly used in the Insight and Civic Hybrid, so there is very little to worry about where reliability is concerned.

Rivals

The CR-Z has always been a model with limited appeal, so it’s little surprise to learn that it sits in a class of its own as the only hybrid coupe. If you’re wanting something sporty-looking in a similar price range, other worthwhile options to look at are the Volkswagen Scirocco, BMW 1 Series Coupe and Renault Megane Coupe, although neither of these options share much in common with the CR-Z.

Depreciation

With the CR-Z being on sale for a number of years, it’s little surprise to learn that the model has depreciated quite heavily. However, because the model has built up quite a loyal following, prices are still some way off hitting rock-bottom. Expect to pay around £5,500 for a well-maintained, low mileage example.

Summary

  1. Distinctive and quirky looks
  2. Aged remarkably well
  3. Lots of standard equipment
  4. Good used appeal
  5. Five-star Euro NCAP safety rating
  6. Efficient powertrain
  7. The first hybrid to use a six-speed manual gearbox
  8. Not as fast as looks and marketing would suggest
  9. Limited interior and boot space
  10. A likeable and cheap-to-run hybrid coupe

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