The stiffened chassis, notchy short-throw gear-shift, direct steering and low seating position confirms that the car is not like other hybrids
Despite the reminders, at times it is easy to forget that the Honda CR-Z is a hybrid and not simply a sporty coupe. The firm suspension and taut feeling leaves you in no doubt that the sportiness is more than an impression. The stiffened chassis, notchy short-throw gear-shift, direct steering and low seating position confirms that the car is not like other hybrids and enthusiastic drivers will appreciate the balance and the way that it sticks to the road on fast bends.
In the words of Chief Chassis Engineer, Mr Torikai, "For the fun-to-drive aspect we have benchmarked it against the MINI. For the complete car performance especially in terms of comfort we have chosen also the newly-introduced Volkswagen Scirocco as a benchmark." Good targets - well achieved.
There are four trim levels available for the Honda CR-Z: S, Sport, GT and GT Navigation. All have the same IMA/engine combination, climate control, CD/radio with six speakers, USB iPod connection, six airbags, Hill Start Assist, Vehicle Stability Assist and the start button on the dash.
On top of that, the S adds heated door mirrors, electric windows, the Daytime Running Lights and the SIL (Shift Indicator Light). Sport adds ambient lighting, alloy pedals, cruise control, privacy glass, parking sensors, a multi-functional steering wheel, a USB connection for MP3 players and a 240W premium audio system with a subwoofer in the boot. This latter should be kept on a low volume so that you can hear the throaty exhaust note.
GT models come with leather upholstery, heated front seats, the sunroof, HID xenon lights, hands-free telephone system, automatic lights and wipers, while the GT Navigation is self-explanatory. Honda expects the Sport to be the most popular - taking 60 per cent of the sales.
The Honda CR-Z Sport is priced at £17,999 in a range that varies from a reasonable £16,999 to £21,749. As a comparison, the Honda Insight has a price range of £16,170 and £18,880 and the Honda Civic Hybrid ranges from £18,920 to £21,455. The Honda Insight might be larger than the Honda CR-Z and the Honda Civic has more room but neither of them can offer the tactile pleasure of snicking through the manual gearbox as both have a CVT or Constantly Variable Transmission.
The Honda CR-Z certainly breaks the hybrid mould and there is nothing quite like it on the roads. Not only does it have the power to turn heads but, while it can't compete with the likes of Ferrari, it represents the acceptable face of performance motoring and has already won awards for it.27 July 2010
Honda CR-Z Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Honda CR-Z GT|
|Colour||Premium White Pearl|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||10.1 seconds|
|Top Speed||124 mph|
|Fuel Type||Hybrid - Unleaded / Electric|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||64.2 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 years / 90000 miles|
|Price (when tested on the 27/07/10)||£19,999|