CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Somerset Life today CLICK HERE

Mean and green - Honda's hybrid CR-Z

PUBLISHED: 00:53 28 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:17 20 February 2013

Mean and green - Honda's hybrid CR-Z

Mean and green - Honda's hybrid CR-Z

Honda set out to prove that hybrid cars can be sporty and the CR-Z is the result. Steve Walker reports

Do environmentally friendly vehicles have to forgo any semblance of excitement? Honda says no and backs up its opinion with the CR-Z coup. Back in the annals of Honda history, the CR-X was a fun-packed little sports car that captured the hearts of UK buyers in the 80s and carried more than a passing resemblance to the CR-Z of today. With its compact dimensions, two-door layout and wedge-shaped profile, the CR-Z looks for all the world like a CR-X for the modern era. Honda is pitching the CR-Z as a coup that combines vibrant looks and thrilling handling with affordability and a real green conscience.


The Honda Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid powertrain in the CR-Z is based on a 1.5-litre petrol engine with Hondas free-revving i-VTEC variable valve timing technology and 112bhp. Its assisted by a 14bhp electric motor and together they produce maximum power of 122bhp at 6,000rpm with 174Nm of torque at just 1,500rpm.


Where the CR-Z starts to get really clever, though, is with its 3-Mode Drive System. This is basically a way of adapting the IMA hybrid technology according to the drivers preferences. There are Sport, Normal and Economy modes that are selected through rocker switches next to the steering wheel. They change the parameters of the IMA system, the throttle mapping and the power steering assistance to give greater performance or efficiency as required. The CR-Z is also unusual in that it matches its hybrid powertrain to a six-speed manual gearbox and anyone whos driven a Civic Type-R or an S2000 will appreciate Hondas record when it comes to great manual shifters.


The CR-Z is loosely based on the chassis and drivetrain of the current generation Honda Insight hybrid but with a series of significant changes. Its shorter and lighter but with a wider track and a wheelbase that positions the wheels right out at the corners of the car for extra poise and balance. The suspension features aluminium components and damper settings aimed at achieving a firm ride that doesnt become harsh over the bumps.


The CR-Z is being touted as a 2+2, but the rear seats arent much use to full-grown adults. They work better with their backs folded down to increase the 225 litre boot to 410 litres. The car sits you low down and presents you with an array of instruments that could have been lifted out of a spaceship. Theres a tactile Honda steering wheel and deeply sculpted door linings incorporating chrome pulls and storage bins.
The CR-Z is available in three trim levels, from S, through Sport to GT. Even the basic car gets features like heated mirrors, daytime running lights, climate control, Hondas Vehicle Stability Assist technology and six airbags. At the very top of the range, theres a hands-free telephone kit, a panoramic glass roof, xenon headlights, heated seats and full leather trim.


Volkswagens Scirocco and Peugeots RC-Z are pricier alternatives, while a Mazda MX-5 and Renault Wind are broadly similar in price. The Hondas trump card in attracting buyers will be its hybrid technology and the resulting low running costs.


As well as assisting the petrol engine, the IMA system incorporates regenerative braking to charge the batteries using recaptured kinetic energy. Unlike in some hybrid cars, the braking is always done primarily by the CR-Zs powerful hydraulic brakes with the regenerative braking system assisting. This means no reduction in stopping power or brake feel when the system is operating.


As a compact sports coup that also happens to be a hybrid, the CR-Z represents an intriguing move by Honda that promises to push hybrid technology further towards mainstream acceptance. If you would like the opportunity to test drive the Honda CR-Z, why not take a trip to the Howards Honda showroom in Taunton on 5 June, when they will be launching the model.



FACTS AT A GLANCE
Car: Honda CR-Z
Prices: 16,999-19,999 on the road
Insurance group: 12 [est]
CO2 emissions: 117g/km
Performance: Top speed 124mph/0-60mph 10.1s
Fuel consumption: (combined) 56.5mpg
Standard safety features: Six airbags, VSA
Will it fit in your garage? Length/width/height (mm) 4080/1740/1395

More from Motoring

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Classic cars come to Cheshire

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Gamekeepers and the ‘ton up’ boys learned to live in harmony – and for a time they somehow made it work!

Read more
Thursday, September 6, 2018

Bolesworth Castle was once again home to Carfest North, hosted by Warrington-born Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans.

Read more
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Swansway Garages compares two of the hottest electric cars on the market.

Read more
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Camper vans are fast becoming the preferred way to get away from it all... and Suffolk’s a perfect place to try it | Words: Nick Cottam

Read more
Thursday, June 28, 2018

Dick Lovett Aston Martin Bristol is perfectly placed just up the M5 from Devon so you can easily take an incredible DB11 on a test drive through the beautiful scenery of Dartmoor

Read more
Monday, June 11, 2018

The Royal Cheshire Show is one of the best summer events in the North West and always draws a great crowd. This year, we’ll be there showcasing our fantastic range of motorhomes – come and meet us on Stand B5 Plot 15.

Read more
Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Why you should choose John Banks and why they have been trading successfully for over 42 years

Read more
 
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

subscription ad


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search