The Honda CR-Z is a hybrid that combines the compact 2+2 coupe and an electric motor that works with the 1.5-litre petrol engine. The CR-Z was released as part of Honda’s aspiration to provide more hybrids around the world, joining the ranks of the Insight, Civic Hybrid, and the hybrid Jazz. Keen pricing is maintained care of platform sharing among the Sport, S Level, GT and GT Nav. But how does the CR-Z deliver as a hybrid and as a reliable vehicle?
The 112bhp 1.5-litre engine and the electric motor work together to produce 14bhp and deliver its 122bhp output and 128lb ft in torque. The petrol engine was derived from the Jazz VTEC, but has been reconfigured to deactive intake valve during low revs. As an effect, the CR-Z’s engine delivers a fuel-saving swirl. The Honda Civic six-speed manual gearbox works hand in hand with the unit, along with a short-throw shift.
Honda had some problems making the vehicle’s bonnet appear as sleek and low in appearance, but it has successfully complied with pedestrian impact regulations. European models of the CR-Z include eight LEDs and a rearward sweep on the headlights. There’s also a wiper on the horizontal upper rear screen. Lower drag is achieved through the CR-Z’s long roof, low nose, and vertical cut tail. As a result the drag co-efficient is at 0.30.
The CR-Z’s cabin is just as impressive as its exterior. Turn on the ignition and your eyes are treated to an array of colors from the 3D instrument pack. The display colours are a seamless blend of blue to green; in the Sport it turns read. Other instrumentation tools are the eco-drive bar, the fuel gauge, an energy path display, an econometer, and the journey statistics. You could also double check how much fuel has been consumed on average in the last three trips. There’s even a gearchange shift light, readouts and all sorts of controls, and minor switches flanking the steering column.
Compared to the Insight, you sit much lower but there’s enough room for two all around. The boot is also quite large at 225 litres when the rear seats are left up.
The CR-Z may not be a high-performance coupe but it does give an enjoyable ride once you initiate the Sport mode. The hybrid drive delivers more torque from the electric motor, enhances steering effort, and sharpens the throttle. Tuned exhaust is able to generate lighter noises.
The interior tends to be cluttered due to its many functions. Although the boot is large, potential space is lost due to a foam tool tray under the floor. No spare wheel is included either in the boot. The leather-rimmed steering wheel does give the cabin an attractive feel, but is off set by the other parts made of unwelcoming and hard looking plastics.
The CR-Z is able to provide better body control, avoid body roll, and change direction with ease compared to the Insight, but it still lacks the sister vehicle’s inert chassis character. The same enthusiasm it could have provided is lost due to the lack of response from the steering and its weighted feel.
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