Honda CR-Z. By Andrew English
The model name of the 2011 Honda CR-Z could double as a psychological diagnosis. Is it a sport coupé? Is it a fuel-efficient hybrid? After our first drive, we can say for sure that, whereas the two-passenger CR-Z looks like a reincarnated CRX coupé, it doesn’t quite match that car’s frisky behaviour. Residing between the 1,5-litre petrol engine and the six-speed manual or CVT, an electric motor seamlessly assists acceleration, regenerates power while braking and smoothly restarts the engine at traffic lights. Altogether, the powertrain delivers 90 kW and 173 N.m of torque (167 N.m with the optional CVT) to the front wheels, moving the 1 225-kilogram car to 100 km/h in under 10 seconds and to a top speed of 200 km/h. That’s not exactly sporty. Even more disappointing is that it’s not especially fuel-frugal either. Honda estimates economy to be around 7,5 litres/100 km, which is more than the far more practical Civic hybrid. Plus, it’ll cost slightly more than the Insight. Honda’s done a terrific job integrating the hybrid system – the brakes lack the typical hybrid’s numbness – but after our quick spin we were left wondering if Honda’s as confused about this car’s mission as we are.