The interior of the Honda CR-Z concept car proved so popular when it went on show, that many of the elements such as the 3D displays, the neon backlit buttons and dials, have been carried over to the production car.
The fascia is completely driver-focused to the point that you won't find any symmetrically placed air vents. These have been positioned to fit in and around the various panels such as the satellite navigation touch-screen (where fitted) and the instrument nacelle - which at first glance looks complicated but isn't.
Either side of the cowled nacelle are two 'wings'. These are at hand height, so that it is easy to press the buttons without hands having to stray too far from the steering wheel. They also have the advantage of being easily visible, without having to peer around the wheel. On the left-hand side are the climate controls and the panel on the right houses the controls for the door mirrors, headlight washers and 3-Mode Drive System.
The 3D gauge and ambient lighting on the dials is more than decorative as they are affected by the three different driving modes, which I will come back to.
Unlike the US version, the European Honda CR-Z has a 2+2 seating arrangement and while Honda says that there is enough room in the rear of the cabin for a child seat, I have to disagree. Even with a shorter driver in the front, there is not really enough room for a baby carrier or a booster seat for a toddler. The sloping roof is a restriction and there is minimal legroom and so, during the test, the rear seats tended to be used a shelf.
That is not to say that storage is at a premium as there is 225-litres of boot space with a further 19-litres hidden away under the load platform. The rear seat-backs fold flat, which takes the capacity up to 401-litres, measured to the windowline and that is on a par many small hatchbacks.
The shortage of rear passenger room is not something that the Honda CR-Z driver will dwell on. Nicely ensconced in the hip-hugging, leather-clad, sports seats, all the attention is turned to the wrap-around dash and the instrument display, as well as the road.
The 3-Mode Driving System comprises Sport, Normal and Eco buttons. The different settings affect the throttle, power steering, idle stop timing and how much boost is borrowed from the Integrated Motor Assist. What I liked about it was that around town or when encountering a traffic problem, it is easy to drop from Normal to Eco at just the press of a button. The Eco setting leans more towards fuel economy in the use of the drive-by-wire throttle, the air conditioning and the power steering.
Alternatively if you find an enjoyable twisty piece of road, pressing Sport has an immediate effect; the throttle responses are sharpened and the IMA hybrid system offers more boost, while the weight of the power steering is increased for more feel. The changes are all but instantaneous and can be selected to suit both mood and driving conditions at just the press of a button.
This is a 11-year+ news article, from our Honda archive, which dates back to the year 2000.
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