Honda CR-Z EX in Toronto, Canada, eh!
Having a 1988 Red Honda Civic hatchback and always envying the CRX, for years I've been waiting for the CRZ to finally arrive in Canada. On Saturday July 10th, at a Mercedes meet at Sunnybrook park, a Honda Canada employee who just got an automatic CRZ EX the day before was passing by and checked out our Mercedes meet and offered me a test drive. This CRZ from Honda Canada is probably the demonstrator for the Canadian media car reviewers. Knowing that the Honda dealer won't even get the CRZ until late August or early September,.... Where would I drive this CRZ to? A Honda Dealership! And of course, some of the staff came out in awe.
Keep in mind, I'm not a professional car reviewer.
Under the hood, I'm amazed so much technology fits in such a small engine! The Honda Dealership staff were amazed the battery was so small.
In the CRZ,... you don't sit as low as that old generation of 1988-91 Civic/CRX. Seats are comfortable with good support. Here in North America, the back seat area is for storage only whereas in Asia there are real back seats there,... same scenario as the 1988-91 CRX. The back seat area of the CRX & CRZ isn't big enough to fit the average North American butt! Like the CRX, the CRZ has a nice large back glass area on the hatch for visibility when reversing. But now we have two decades of technology available,... parktronic sensors and reverse camera,... sadly neither of these are available on CRZ.
Blind spot visibility is many times worst than on the CRX. CRZ blind spot visibility is scary. You'll need to pray every time you change lane.
Handling is signature Honda,... it feels like a Honda. Quite smooth and corners well. Decent braking.
Acceleration is preppy. I didn't feel much of a difference in driving between Econ and Normal mode. When driving in Sport mode, there's definitely an added punch and you feel and hear the engine revving more. While a common comment (usually from those who never drove a CRZ) is that it's underpowered. The CRZ is definitely more responsive and ready for action in Sport mode and feels a bit more powerful than it really is,... and I don't see why anyone would take it off Sport mode.
Relatively small leather covered steering wheel that give a nice racy feel. Finger tip steering wheel mounted shifters. Nice assortment of steering wheel mounted buttons that'll take some getting used to. Lots of plastic.
Dash is sporty with well placed buttons and controls but lighted instrument clusters are a bit too flashy. Oh, and I really love the mile/hr & km/hr conversion buttom,... make cross border trips much easier. Seems to target youth drivers. I'm early 40's and having a Mercedes C-class, I'm used to certain luxuries like leather seats and panorama glass sunroof.
The original CRX came with a glass roof in Japan but not in North America. North American CRX Si got basic non-glass sunroof. North American CRZ doesn't even come sunroof,... and definitely no glass roof.
Way back in the late 80's and early 90's when the CRX was so popular,... the CRX drivers were in their 20's. Well, we've been waiting almost 20 year for the CRX to return and now we're in our 40's,... and we don't want a low trim car for 20 year olds. We've driven and owned many cars since our 20's and we're now accustom to finer trim levels and features. Add heated leather seats and all glass roof and the CRZ will appeal to that large crowd of CRX lovers who have grown up and acquired more finer automotive taste but long to cruise down Main Street on a Saturday night cranking up Depeche Mode. Ahhh,... glory days.
Overall, the CRZ feels a bit like the old CRX,... but rather feels more like the CRX successor, the Del Sol. If you ever driven a Del Sol with Vtec and feel that extra spunk when the Vtec kicked in,... turn it down a notch or two and you have what it feels like to drive the CRZ.
As is Honda Canada's habit of adding features once sales are less than expected,... any serious CRZ buyer should wait it out. Wait until after the initial first year sales. See if Honda Canada starts importing a more feature rich CRZ,... with heated leather seats, all glass roof, LED headlights trims and back seats.
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