The Honda CR-Z Hybrid is probably still one of the very few cars seen on our roads today. I don’t know what it is, but it seems that South Africans are still afraid of going green. I don’t blame them as it’s not a big trend which is pushed here. And at the other end of the scale, they are missing out.
The CR-Z, first launched here in 2010, has been rather exclusive to our roads. This isn’t a bad thing though, because strangely it’s one of those cars which actually attract a lot of attention when it does pop its head up. The new model, with a revised front bumper, bigger wheels and a new rear diffuser is even better looking than that of the original car. It just seems to sit lower, looks better and feels racier.
Things have not stopped there; the new model, with its slight upgrade in power due to a revised I-vtec system, offering from 84 to 89kw on the 1.5l engine, really turns it into a bit of a screamer. The exhaust note has a slight burble in it and sounds very much like the older generation Honda Civic V-tec from the late 90’s. The power is also similarly delivered, but with an exception, where the IMA system now delivers more torque, with 190nm in total, which is 9.2% higher than the older model. Total power has increased to 101kw and has also brought the 0-100kmh sprint down from 9.7s to 9.0 flat. The top speed is still a rather impressive 200kmh.
One of the newest features is the +Sport button located on the steering wheel. This mode enables a sudden burst of power from the IMA system, in any mode (Eco/Normal/Sport). This makes the throttle response quicker and there is a definite notice in power up until the battery runs dry. Normal mode seems to be the best one to drive in from a day to day point of view as it delivers good throttle response with good fuel economy. In Sport mode the throttle response is very sensitive and could be used when you find yourself in a more enthusiastic mood. While the Eco has one goal and one goal only, it does make the car feel vague and very dull. Throttle response is about half of the Normal setting and the steering feedback feels a little too numb for my liking. It does perfectly well at what it was designed for and we recorded 4.7l/100km on our test. Driving with a bit more enthusiasm ran this up to 6.8l/100km. Still mighty good by any standard and you can expect about 500km + off a 40l tank. The 205/45/17 wheels, which have now replaced the previous 16inch, give a firmer ride but add a lot of confidence in the turns. I’m near certain the damper and springs have been changed, too. The spare wheel remains to be a space saver.
Interior space is not the point of the CR-Z. It’s a sport coupe and you would be really fooled to think you can fit a family of 4 in it. Driver and passenger have more than enough space and even my 1.9m frame fits without any trouble of discomfort. In fact, I’ve been less comfortable in some SUV’s, believe it or not.
The rear seats could be seen as a boot extension, unless you are 1.6m tall and have the seat all the way to the front but, to be really honest, I can’t see an average South African fitting comfortable behind the driver seat in any shape or form. The boot space is a rather small 175l, but can be extended to 363l with the rear seats down. There is a sliding boot cover, which should keep peering eyes off your luggage.
The CR-Z is a completely unique car, I can’t help but love it for what it is. The sporty coupe lines, with an aggressive front bumper, coupled with integrated daylight running lamps in the HID headlights, through to the newly revised wheels, panoramic glass roof and the great looking rear diffuser, it’s a car that offers so much in the small sport coupe section of the market. There is no other hybrid like it, especially not at the price of R332 800. This includes a three year 100 000km warranty and a five year 90 000km service plan with a one year AA road side assist plan.
For more info, head over to Honda.co.za