CR-Z 1.5 IMA GT 3-door Coupe
already in the petrol-hybrid
market with their new five-door five-
seater Insight 1.3-litre C-segment
hatch and their Civic 1.4-litre four-
door family-sized saloon, have now
gone the sporty radical route and
brought to market their CR-Z 1.5-litre
two-door 2+2 Coupe...
HONDA SAYS THE CR-Z COUPE is designed to be exciting to drive, great
to look at and have a healthy respect for the environment designed and
engineered for modern, urban living. Honda anticipates around 3,500 UK sales
for the sporty CR-Z Coupe in a full year (it went on sale in the UK on 5 June).
Prices start at £16,999 and range up to £21,749 with four levels of trim and
equipment S, Sport, GT and GT Nav.
As the world's first sporty hybrid, the CR-Z's stylish looks stand out from
other affordable 'green' cars on the market and it does offer improved driving
dynamics thanks to an agile chassis, direct steering, a low driving position
and useful boosts of torque from the petrol-electric drivetrain.
It will, of course, be most at home in urban environments but it is quite capable
of coping with motorways and the countryside. Expect city and town dwellers
to be the 'early adopters', especially Londoners, or commuters into the Capital,
because as a hybrid it is currently exempt from the Congestion Charge
although this arrangement may soon change.
Whether the owner is a retail buyer wanting the latest technology wrapped up
in a sporty looking bodyshell, the environmentally concerned driver or the business
driver promoting their company's green credentials, the low 117g/km exhaust
emissions mean cheaper road tax (£0 for the new VED First Year rate and then
£30 a year thereafter). Company car users will also enjoy the 10 per cent Benefit-in-Kind
The CR-Z uses a 1.5-litre petrol unit (taken from the American versions of Honda's
Jazz) in conjunction with a manual gearbox not a CVT auto option as with
other hybrids. Honda says this is to give the new model a sportier driving feel
as well as extra performance. Top speed is a very respectable 124mph, 0-62mph
takes 9.9 seconds and the official Combined Cycle fuel economy is 56.5mpg.
a very brief test drive at the recent Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
media test event held at the Millbrook Proving Ground, my car returned 42.8mpg
and this included plenty of stop-start driving on Millbrook's 'city' route.
Expect more in real-life conditions but remember, this is a sports car
so press the pedal with care!
If you are attracted by
the sporting good looks
of the CR-Z Coupe
you will be
impressed even more
by the futuristic
control and instrument
For technical readers, the CR-Z has a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine
linked with an electric motor using Honda's proven IMA hybrid technology including
energy capture. The engine produces 112bhp at 6,100rpm and the electric motor
13bhp at 1,500rpm; total peak power available is 122bhp at 6,100rpm. As for
torque the 'grunt' that makes the car responsive the petrol engine
has 106lb ft of it at 4,800rpm and the electric motor 57lb ft from just 1,000rpm
giving a total peak useable torque supply of 128lb ft at 1,500rpm.
It's this torque that swiftly moves the CR-Z from standstill and helps during
overtaking at low to medium speeds. The power delivery is pretty seamless and
with a manual gearbox there isn't the normal hybrid issue where the CVT transmission
seems to absorb power and make the engine seem dull and noisy.
The CR-Z driver has the choice of three driving modes selected
by pushbuttons. All three are self explanatory: Sport, Econ, and Norm. There
is also an Eco Assist driving guidance setting which is used in Econ mode where
the 'space-age' controls show the driver, via changing instrument colours, whether
or not they are driving economically.
If you are attracted by the sporting good looks of the CR-Z you will be impressed
even more by its futuristic control and instrument display. It takes time to
learn, but it all works. Like most hybrids, the CR-Z has no driving 'character'
everything feels sanitised; neutral balance, just enough power
boosted under acceleration by the electric motor to allow the word 'sports'
to appear in this editorial and the steering, even in Sport mode, lacks feedback.
On the plus side the CR-Z Coupe has eye-catching, sporty exterior styling. And
it's even better inside a real Starship Enterprise instrument layout.
It's also pleasant, if not fun, to drive and it's cheap to run that said,
I'm not so sure that 'GT' (Grand Tourer) is the correct specification label
for this version. Not so inviting are the very small rear seats and limited
rear and rear-quarter visibility. And it's worth keeping in mind that some new-generation
diesel-powered models offer less CO2 emissions and cost less to buy.
Honda CR-Z 1.5 IMA GT 3-door Coupe | £19,999
Top speed: 124mph | 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds | Overall test MPG: 42.8mpg
Power: 122bhp | Torque: 128lb ft | CO2 117g/km