2.6.2010 Honda CR-Z GT Coupe review
While looks and price are going to sell the CR-Z, Honda's sporty looking coupe doesn't have the performance to match. Driven carefully this petrol-electric hybrid is as economical as a diesel, but push harder and you are quickly in the low 30's. Honda claims the Lotus Elise (34 to 45mpg) was a 'constant inspiration'. For what one has to ask? Keen pricing, from £17,000 and proven quality will help the Honda find buyers but they won't be the young ones the company craves.
Review by Russell Bray for WhatGreenCar.com
Because of how the 1.5 litre 112bhp petrol engine and 14bhp electric motor blend in and out the maximum power is 122bhp (not 126bhp) at 6100rpm. Both 'motors' are as smooth as sewing machines and if it wasn't for the usual hybrid sport-comfort-economy buttons (and growing tree graphics!) you could think it just had a bigger engine. Max torque of 128 lbs ft at 1500rpm helps the CR-Z to 62mph in 10 seconds. Reasonable, but slightly artificial engine note. Top speed is 124mph. Electric assist shows with 117g/km CO2 figure.
Better than the Insight/Jazz on which it's based thanks to wider track, shorter length and retuned suspension but woolly and soft if you push it more than 80%. You can sense the extra weight of the batteries and electric motor. Cornering attitude not adjustable on the throttle and lacks the driver adjustable suspension of VW's Scirocco to cope with different roads and driver mood. Brakes, steering, gear change eerily light at times. Feels like car out of the Gran Turismo computer game.
Racy distinctive looks - why do Hondas always look good in white? - with futuristic cabin touches and instruments. Big doors make front seat access easy but the rear is a struggle and there's not much room once you get there. Though you sit low, rear vision is good thanks to a vertical rear window as well as a higher sloping one. Length 4080mm. Width 1740mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Six-speed manual gearbox indicates this petrol-electric hybrid expects more driver input than the usual auto gearbox models. Gearchange is the cliched knife through butter and being a Honda your granny could drive the CR-Z. Cruise control standard on top two models for an even easier life.
Car feels best in 'sport' mode and weak to dead in 'comfort' or 'economy'. Instruments are rather Tokyo by night bright and confusing at first. Build materials feel light yet good quality. Rear seats are only big enough for children.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Official fuel economy - urban 46.3mpg, extra urban 64.2mpg, combined 56.5mpg. Carbon dioxide emissions of 117g/km slot the Honda CR-Z into band C. Annual road tax is £30. Insurance group 17. Warranty covers three years/90,000 miles.
Stop-start technology shuts off the engine in traffic to save fuel. Three mode drive system lets the driver enjoy a favourite road, maximise economy, or strike a balance in between by altering the responses of the throttle, steering, idle stop timing, climate control and assistance provided by the integrated motor assist system. Speedometer lighting changes colour to help you drive more economically. Regenerative braking charges the car's nickel metal hydride batteries. Streamlined body reduces air drag so saving fuel. The hybrid powertrain contributes towards a Next Green Car Rating of 37.
Mostly what you'd want with power steering, climate control, electric front windows and mirrors, spilt/fold rear seats, RDS radio and CD player, central locking, alarm, immobiliser and electronic stability control. GT adds glass sunroof, leather seats, cruise control and rear parking sensors but metallic paint is £430 and satellite navigation an extra £1,750.
Model tested: Honda CR-Z GT Coupe
Body-style: Three-door coupe
Engine/CO2: 122bhp for 1.5 litre (petrol and electric combined)
Trim grades: S, Sport, GT
On-road price: From £16,999. Test car £22,179
Warranty: Three years/90,000 miles
In the showroom: June 2010
Review rating: 3.5 STARS
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