Honda CRZ hybrid (2010) CAR review Road Testing Reviews Car Magazine Online

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Honda CR-Z Electric Cars

Honda CR-Z hybrid (2010) CAR review

First Drives

19 May 2010 11:56

This isn’t what I’d been led to expect. The new 2010 Honda CR-Z hybrid coupe is billed as ‘the world’s first sporty hybrid’, so I’d anticipated something a bit more electric and 21st century; something weird, whooshy, torquey and maybe a bit aloof. But instead of being fast-forwarded a decade, it’s all gone a bit Life on Mars.

The new CR-Z hybrid feels a bit retro.

I’m driving something that – cockpit visuals aside – shows absolutely no evidence of being a hybrid, but instead feels every bit the ’80s hot hatch; a great exhaust note that promises more than the engine delivers in raw grunt, but the steering, body control and brakes to make the most of it. The Honda CR-Z feels like the sort of car we thought the car makers didn’t – or couldn’t – make any more.

So is the new CR-Z the future, or a throwback to the past?

Honda CR-Z Electric Cars

What it is – in engineering terms – is a two-door, 2+2 small coupe built on a very heavily made-over Insight platform with 115mm chopped out of the wheelbase to get the length down to just over 4m, and 25mm added to the track. The new layout ought to improve handling, but it definitely helps the stance; the mad origami styling is original and entirely modern but references Honda’s sharp, ’80s CR-X baby coupe and the original 1999 Insight; also a hybrid coupe, but far from sporty.

The engine is a 1497cc, 16-valve VTEC petrol pinched from the US-market Jazz, offered for the first time in Europe and fitted with Honda’s IMA integrated motor assist hybrid system, in which an electric motor sits between the engine and gearbox and helps out when there’s enough charge in the nickel metal-hydride batteries housed under the boot. The petrol engine alone makes 113bhp at 6100rpm and 107lb ft at 4800rpm, but total system output from both motors is 124bhp and 128lb ft between just 1000-1500rpm.

Not, frankly, figures you’d associate with a modern hot hatch, now that Clios come with 200bhp. Nor will Honda’s IMA system power itself electrically with the engine entirely stopped, as a Prius will. And its environmental credentials – a claimed 56.5mpg and 117g/km – are comprehensively outstripped by some conventionally powered, eco-tweaked hatches, like a Golf Bluemotion or a BMW 116d, and well behind the 64.2mpg and 101g/km of the Insight.

Yes, read the numbers alone and you’re left thinking that the Honda CR-Z will have to do a lot on the road to justify its sporty hybrid claims, and left wondering if it possibly can when the related Insight and Civic IMA are such blanks dynamically.

Click ‘Next’ to read more of CAR’s first drive review of the Honda CR-Z

Honda CR-Z Electric Cars
Honda CR-Z Electric Cars
Honda CR-Z Electric Cars
Honda CR-Z Electric Cars
Honda CR-Z Electric Cars

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