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Old 08-20-2010, 04:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default OFFICIAL: Driving Impressions/Review

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Originally Posted by bizzybear View Post
This is the official "driving impressions" thread... So whether it's a test drive or you're an owner and wanted to leave your impressions, post them in here.

SN: I know it might be hard with all the CR-Z-lovers on here, but please do not bash anyone if their review wasn't what you expected. Just keep it civil

To make a long story short, the CR-Z is nice but it isn't for me. I have no doubt that there will be many happy people driving their CR-Z's, but for me, the steering is too biased towards mileage rather than handling. It will be interesting to see what the aftermarket does to sharpen the car's steering behavior, though.

I drove a silver EX CVT with navi. Since I know my local dealer well I was able to give the car a pretty long drive, including in-town as well as highway. The CR-Z is very impressive in terms of noise/vibration/harshness during acceleration as well as highway cruising - especially when one considers the CR-Z's compact dimensions. Interior materials are better than on the Insight. Sport mode, as you all know, does indeed sharpen throttle response to an impressive level for a hybrid. Visibility wasn't as bad as I had feared, although there's a pretty big blind spot.

It is not my intention to rip on the CR-Z or those that choose to buy one. Frankly, I want Honda to do well with this car, so we'll see more small, high-mileage, affordable, fun cars. Overall, the CR-Z is a very nice, quality small car with plenty of style. I would hesitate to include "sporty" in the description, though. Approach your test drives with reasonable expectations and you'll be quite pleased with how the CR-Z performs.

Just trying to provide one person's unbiased opinion...

Last edited by bizzybear; 08-23-2010 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 08-22-2010, 02:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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"the steering is too biased towards mileage rather than handling."?? I'm not sure what that is supposed to mean. I would say that the steering is slightly over boosted and needs more road feel. There seems to be a lack of on center feel that a possible wheel alignment could help.
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Good Idea starting a Test Drive Impressions thread. I had posted my review in a different thread, but I copied it below since this thread is a better place for it.

I'm comparing this to 2 years ownership of my S2000, and 10 years ownership of my 1991 CRX Si, so I'm using some pretty good benchmarks; @Goose and anyone else, I would strongly encourage you to test a 6mt. I've driven Honda CVT before and it shouldn't be in any "sporty" car. The 0-60 is about 1.5 s SLOWER with the CVT, not to mention rowing of gears is a big part of wat makes any "sporty" car feel "sporty" See Below:

EX Navi 6MT Blue Driving Impressions:
Stopped out earlier to test drive. I was initially very unimpressed with the car while driving. Disappoined actually. It felt like a dog right off the bat, but when I placed it in sport mode and turned off the A/C it came to life.

I tried Econ mode very briefly on the highway with the cruise control and it was no different than any other car. Got closer to home and jumped into some roundabouts. The first 2 runs felt like a Fit Sport. Tires crawled a bit, felt like they weren't enough tire for the car. I realize all tires have a 100 mile break-in period, so I figured that had to be part of it. I drove it a bit more and went back to the roundabouts after the odo read 38 miles, and it seemed like a night and day difference. I was able to transition my steering right to left and go straight through effortlessly, and with no tire noise.

I took it to my favorite sweeper (the section of southbound Riverside Dr that passes under 161) and the car took it so fast I could have sworn I was in my S2000. That was actually the most impressed I was during the entire drive.. If you have some favorite tight 40-60MPH sweepers then you need to get this car!

I took my wife for a drive in the car, and she kept commenting on how cool the interior was. I could tell she was thoroughly impressed, then she asked how much the car costs: I told her "this is top of the line but around $23k" to which she responded "that's all?!" She absolutely loved it, and thought it was a much more expensive car.

Complaints: The stock tires suck. After getting some miles on them the car handled VERY well, but the tires were still noticably inadequate. I'd imagine the HFP 17" with summer tires would transform the already excellent handling. Additionally, the passenger seat sits very low and has no height adjustment.

Positives: Awesome handling, smooth and effortless clutch and shifter, isolates and absorbs bumps very well, feels like 50/50 balance when cornering, exhaust note is rowdy when you push it but almost nonexistent when you are cruising, AVERAGED 37.2 MPG over 67 Miles of mixed driving ALL Sport Mode spirited driving

ALSO NOTE: I've read reviews where they averaged 25mpg, and where they were able to deplete the battery in Sport Mode, etc.. The reality is - unless you are on a racetrack - you eventually get stuck behind someone, you oftentimes obey the speed limit, and your spirited driving happens in short bursts.. This resulted, for me, in a battery pack that was NEVER less than 3/4 charged, 37+ MPG average, and a big fat smile on my face.

Bottom Line: The performance and technology are perfectly in line with the pricing structure, and there's arguably not a better car available for someone who needs a FUN commuter car. Initially disappointed, now I'm in love with this car.

Enjoy your test drives!
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I wrote so much that I doubt if most will actually read the whole thing, so here's a summary after 122 total Miles behind the wheel: Car handles AMAZING once the tires are broken in, awesome exhaust note, perfect clutch and gearbox, great styling both inside and out. Sporty, Fun, good on gas, all for $20k. Disappointed after 2 miles, thoroughly impressed after 122 miles. 2 thumbs way up.
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Test drove one this week. Brand new with 2 miles on her so as said above there may be some break in period. Gray EX non-navi CVT.

Love the interior, especially with how your speed is displayed in floating digits. A proper evolution of the original s2000 digital dash.

Drove the CVT car. Wasn't really impressed with acceleration. I know my Civic Hybrid is a couple seconds slower 0-60 (an eternity in the auto world) yet the CR-Z with the CVT felt more like trying to accelerate a boat. It was nowhere as fast as the growling engine note would lead you to believe. Tap down on the paddles and all the car does it go louder without any sort of performance to back it up. The dealer is also asking almost 24K for this car for the out the door price.

Of course this could all just be the quirks of a car that has only seen 2 miles.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by GoHuskies View Post
Test drove one this week. Brand new with 2 miles on her so as said above there may be some break in period. Gray EX non-navi CVT.

Love the interior, especially with how your speed is displayed in floating digits. A proper evolution of the original s2000 digital dash.

Drove the CVT car. Wasn't really impressed with acceleration. I know my Civic Hybrid is a couple seconds slower 0-60 (an eternity in the auto world) yet the CR-Z with the CVT felt more like trying to accelerate a boat. It was nowhere as fast as the growling engine note would lead you to believe. Tap down on the paddles and all the car does it go louder without any sort of performance to back it up. The dealer is also asking almost 24K for this car for the out the door price.

Of course this could all just be the quirks of a car that has only seen 2 miles.
Couldn't agree with you more. I tested a CR-Z EX CVT with navi and was disappointed. The styling and handling seemed right, but the transmission on this car was wrong. Unfortunately, my dealer has only CVTs at the moment. I'll need to try a 6-speed. Granted, the car was far from "broken in" and I didn't flog it on the brief drive. After the test, jumping back into my humble 2008 Civic EX 5-speed for a spirited drive back home only served to emphasize my distress. I, too, want this car to work for Honda - and me.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I really do think that the CR-Z is nice car - just wanted to point out a few things that I noticed on my drive. Smfspeed, you're right to question my cryptic description. Sorry about that. Here's a bit more on my impressions. These observations are simply to help others when they evaluate the car.

My obsession is with how a car reacts to steering input, especially one that claims to being "sporty". One of the most critical elements of suspension design is steering geometry, and it's a bit of a "black art" as the saying goes. My definition of a steering "mileage" bias refers to compromises that blunt reactions and compromise straight-line tracking in favor of rolling resistance and reduced steering effort. Increases in negative toe as well as changes in caster angle can produce very responsive steering, but usually at increased rolling resistance, tire scrub, steering effort and sensitivity.

I'll admit that most folks won't worry about this issue and be very happy with their CR-Z's. Again, I think the CR-Z is very nice car overall.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smfspeed View Post
"the steering is too biased towards mileage rather than handling."?? I'm not sure what that is supposed to mean. I would say that the steering is slightly over boosted and needs more road feel. There seems to be a lack of on center feel that a possible wheel alignment could help.
i agree with this... but i question if anyone actually felt the difference in steering "feel" when in Sport mode b/c i surely did... they car seems to have similar feeling as my '06 Si did... and even tho i wasn't able to get to highway speeds i'm sure, like the Si, the steering stiffens at higher speeds which is appropriate feel i think...
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Old 08-22-2010, 01:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Good idea for a thread... and seems to be a better place for this lol... but since i also reviewed in another thread, i'll copy/paste it here

sn: if you click on the it will take you to that thread where i also posted quite a few pictures

Quote:
Originally Posted by bizzybear View Post
Here's my "Review" of the CR-Z:

So i pass by the local Honda and they had 2 CR-Z's... a sliver EX-Nav CVT and a black EX 6MT... i was on my way down to Ft Lauderdale so i didn't really have time to wait for someone to let me test drive it

Luckily on my way to FTL, i called the local dealer down there and the had a BLUE CVT EX... i really wanted to see the blue one in person so i was excited even if it was CVT

First impressions of the car was "man this car is TINY!" second thought was "wow, pictures really don't do it justice at all." the thing i was shocked about the most was when i sat in it, the dash was amazing looking... i heard in different reviews that it was "3D" and i thought they were talking about the layout or the way the gauge pops out a bit... but the speedo is actually 3D!! it's something that you won't be able to see in pictures... i sorta got it in video (by accident) but you really have to see it in person to see what i mean about it... it's really cool looking... and the colors are perfect!! (again, i love blue haha)... anothing awesome feature is the surrounding trim has a blue/purple/red pearl on it which gives it a really great look when the sun hits it... the COOLEST (no pun intended lol) thing i found out, which NOBODY has seemed to mention idk if it's b/c they don't know or b/c it's not offered in the EDM/JDM models (i doubt it)... in the glove box, there's this pull/push thingy that closes/opens an air vent that works with the A/C... whiles it's not a cooler, it can keep things cool if you wanted... i'm really not sure what you would want to keep cool, but it's something neat to show off haha... please JDM/EDM owners confirm if this is on your cars...

overall driving impressions were that the car starts really smooth and in a parking lot almost feels like it's running in EV mode... it's smooth and quiet... on the street it remains smooth... smoother than the Civic i think... acceleration is swift as well... the thing i was impressed with was the 3-Modes... you can CLEARLY tell the difference between each mode... though i thought Econ would be more sluggish as in previous reviews... it actually wasn't as bad as i thought it would be... Normal really is Normal lol but still a better drive than the Civic i think... and SPORT is really where it's at, shift from Norm/Eco to Sport and the car INSTANTLY gets a boost... though i couldn't explore this in detail not just b/c of my short trip with the car, but mainly b/c it was the CVT model and its rather limited control for my liking... the paddle shifters worked nicely, nothing like a sequential gearbox on the GT-R or M6/3's that i've driven extesively... but definitely quick enough to make a lane change with somewhat control over the speed... another thing i liked was in Sport the gears won't change unless you hit the limiter... meaning you can hold the gear at almost any rpm you desire and with 7 similated gears, there's plenty of switching/holding if yo u prefer...

i've seen the Black, Silver, and Blue in person... while i can't say how good the Red or White looks... any of these colors are definitely a WIN! I also can't say that about every car... most cars have A color it looks good in and the rest are either bland or look ok... i've found that the CR-Z's styling really hits the nail on the head and is amazing in ANY color...

Sound review:

i had a CD of music i listen to (Trance b/c it has great highs, mids and good-decent lows at times) and wanted to see how it sounded in the CR-Z EX so i put it in and adjusted the settings accordingly i was REALLY impressed by the sound quality of the speakers + subwoofer... i honestly wouldn't change it at all... i guess b/c the shape of the cabin, it allows for the sound to travel in all the right places at the right time... the subwoofer really impressed me as it provided a very nice low sound and even with quite a bit vibration when the setting is turned up... in terms of quality, the sound REALLY does rival some of the top sounds like Bose that is installed on higher-end vehicles... my friend has a +700 watt Premium sound system in his 2011 M3 Convertible and even with it's 360watt system the CR-Z sounds quite similar... the M3 beats it in terms of mid-range sound and since it has 2 factory subs it also packs more of a punch... but hell, that's a $1900 factory sound upgrade on an already $75,000 car...

overall sound impression:
Great high-frequency
Good mid-frequency (possibly first/only upgrade)
Great low-frequency

in case anyone was curious these were the settings i used on the radio which i found to be best for most music...
Bass +2
Treble +6
F/R Center
L/R Center
Subwoofer +6
SVC Low

i used to listen to the volume at 32 on my Si (Max on the radio is 40) anything past 32 and the sound would get distorted... i only turned it up to 27 and that was plenty loud for me and very very clear...
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Old 08-22-2010, 04:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, I am very impressed with how Honda has built this car. But, I was coming out of A Nissan Frontier, and my last Honda was a 1992 Civic DX lol.

Anyway, I like how there is a noticeable difference between sport and eco. It almost seems like Eco makes the exhaust quieter (Anyone else? Or am I being weird?). The suspension is very good. I was able to take a corner at 35 over the recommended speed (65 around a suggested 30), and the suspension is VERY communicative. I can't wait to take this to an autocross where I can really get into it. I would equate the suspension as being comparable to a Mini, just softer. There is a bit of road noise transmitted through, but given the nature of the car, nothing unacceptable. The layout of the interior is very easy to use, buttons are nice. The shifter feels very satisfying. Has very positive feel, and the clutch is very smooth and progessive

My only real complaint is the drivers side rear window - It may as well not be there for the size of the blind spot created
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