What’s it like to drive?
Anyone on the lookout for a successor to the late great VTEC CR-X of 1989-92 vintage will be in for a disappointment. The CR-Z is not that hardcore. Instead, Honda has built a more refined, hi-tech car for the modern eco age, with a level of all-round sophistication the CR-X could only dream of.
With a shorter wheelbase, stiffened body and lighter and more rigid suspension (plus that bigger engine), the CR-Z is infinitely sharper and driver-centric than the Insight. As it should be. When the electric-assist motor is silently but effectively boosting torque, the CR-Z does actually feel decently lively. There’s good, taut body and suspension control, keen steering and a clean, tidy way to the way it attacks corners.
But it’s no sports car. The engine soon runs out of steam, while the handling bias is linear and safe but, for the keen driver, ultimately not that intuitive or rewarding and there’s plenty of roll and understeer on the limit.
How does it compare?
For the time being, Honda has the market for sporty 1.5-litre hybrid coupes all to itself, but comparisons with the base 1.4 VW Scirocco are sure to be made. For quality, looks and badge appeal, the VW will likely give the CR-Z a pretty hard time. The Honda will win for things like C02, fuel economy and tech factor.
Find out how the CR-Z measures up to its key rivals in the June issue of evo, on sale Wednesday April 28.