The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Honda CR-Z has a sporty, eco-friendly engine which makes it the perfect choice for those seeking a sporting drive with genuine green credentials.
Reasons to buy:
- Sporting good looks
- Rewarding drive
- Low running costs
How good does it look?
The Honda CR-Z cuts a real dash on the street, but Honda missed an opportunity to build something truly outstanding. There are plenty of nice touches though: the blue-tinted headlights, LED daytime running lights, racy front bumper and a concept-car like side profile. The shark fin-like aerial is oddly located in the middle of the roof, rather than towards the rear.
What's the interior like?
The futuristic theme continues inside, with a number of different instrument displays, most of which are digital. The speedo is like a digital watch, and is beamed into what looks like a black hole, while a glow from behind turns from blue to green depending on how economically the car is driven. While there’s a symmetrical beauty to the main instrument display, the rest of the dashboard disappoints, the large sat-nav and audio system looks like an afterthought, and there are some flimsy feeling, hard plastics particularly around the cubby holes.
How practical is it?
The Honda CR-Z is officially a 2+2, although the rears are unusable for adults, and even older children will find it cramped for more than a short journey. But think of the CR-Z as a two seater with space in the back for luggage and it makes more sense. Valuables in the 225 litre boot are kept hidden by a tonneau cover which pulls out like a blind, and the’res enough luggage room for a weekend away. The boot itself has good access, although a high lip means luggage needs to be lifted up and over.
What's it like to drive?
Here, more than in any other respect, the CR-Z lives up to its billing as a sports car. The steering is direct, offering the right blend of power assistance and feel through the bends. The suspension is firm enough to keep the car stable through fast corners, but soft enough to absorb the worst road imperfections. The driver sits low enough in the cabin to make the most of these sports car attributes too.
How powerful is it?
The Honda CR-Z offers decent performance. It features a 1.5-litre engine, which produces 114bhp, working with a 14bhp electric motor. Like the Honda Insight, the CR-Z sees the engine and motor working simultaneously for some impressive performance. Three drive modes are on offer – ‘Econ’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport’. In ‘Sport’ mode, the CR-Z will accelerate to 62mph in 9.9 seconds before reaching a top speed of 124mph. The way the engine delivers its go is entertaining too, with power increasing the harder the engine works. The CR-Z is fitted with a manual gearbox, which is slick and a joy to use.
How much will it cost me?
Priced from around £17,000, the Honda CR-Z is good value for a fun, quirky sportscar. CO2 emissions of 117g/km means cheap road tax, although it’s not free to tax like most other hybrids, and while our test average of 47mpg couldn’t match Honda’s claimed 56.5mpg, it’s still excellent for a sports car. Insurance groups of 16 and 17 are reasonable.
How reliable is it?
Honda has an impressive reputation for reliability, and much of the technology used in the CR-Z has previously appeared in the Insight and Civic IMA hybrid models. Only some cheap-feeling interior plastics cause concern.
How safe is it?
The CR-Z scored an excellent rating in the Euro NCAP crash test programme, achieving a full five-star rating. Standard equipment comes with whiplash-reducing headrests, front, side and curtain airbags; Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and a passenger airbag deactivation switch.
How much equipment do I get?
Four grades of CR-Z are available: S, Sport, GT and GT Navigation, and all bar the entry level S model feature a very high level of equipment. The basic S model features alloy wheels, a trip computer, climate control and a socket to connect an MP3 player. The Sport model adds rear park sensors, cruise control, tinted windows, an upgraded stereo with USB input and electric folding and heated door mirrors. GT models also come with heated leather seats, a glass roof, Bluetooth phone connection and automatic headlights and wipers. GT Nav adds sat-nav.
It’s the sports car that could save the planet, but many buyers will be tempted by its good looks and ability to excite its driver.