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Japanese Magazine Test Drive Review

The production version of the 2011 Honda CR-Z was just introduced at the 2010 Detroit Auto show, but a magazine in Japan has already taken a test drive on a closed course. Here's a translated version of their thoughts on the car.

"The production version of the car looks sharp sitting on the track thanks to well balanced proportions. The character line that runs down the side of the car looks more pronounced on the silver paint than it does on a red or blue color. The tires and wheels are noticeably less spectacular then the ones from the show car as the wheels are only 16-inches in diameter with 195/55R16 tires. That said, the wheels look of high quality and don't make the car look cheap.

Now we climb into the cabin. The tachometer sits at the center of the instrument cluster with a digital speedometer readout located immediately beneath it. The entire dashboard layout has a distinct sporty look and feel to it, leaving no doubt in the driver's mind that he's sitting in a performance-oriented car. Despite the car being labeled a 4-seater, the rear seats are quite cramped and look just large enough to fit two children.

The shift knob of the 6-speed manual transmission slides into each gear with a resounding click. We throw the lever into 1st gear and launch. The car leaves the line spritely, but accelerates in a milder way than anticipated. You can feel the presence of the electric motor, but it's quite subtle almost transparent.

It doesn't kick in like a turbocharger or supercharger giving you that sudden forward surge. From the seat of the pants, the car feels like it's powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.2- to 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. While we would have preferred more kick from the electric motor, the CR-Z doesn't feel slow by any means, just smooth.

So is it quick like a lightweight sports car? Not really. Our Honda representatives informed us that the car runs from zero to 62mph in 9.7 seconds, which makes it a full second quicker than a Toyota Prius. What's noteworthy about the CR-Z is how smooth it gets to cruising speed. It does so in a very linear manner just like a traditional gas-powered car.

While the car's acceleration character is quite similar to that of its hybrid stablemate, the Insight, the CR-Z's handling is in an entirely different class. In this department, the car truly feels worthy of the sporty-car label.

The biggest difference is how the rear end feels through corners. Unlike rear suspension in the Fit or the Insight, the stroke of the rear dampers have been increased, resulting in increased stability through corners and over bumps. And thanks the to the CR-Z's wider track, the car exhibits less body roll and better overall balance than either the Fit or the Insight, making it a delight to drive through turns. And despite possessing firmer dampers and springs than the Insight, it rides just as smoothly.

We also sampled the CVT-equipped CR-Z, and while we prefer the 6-speed manual, the CVT can be quite fun because of its manual mode. It allows you to manually choose gears via paddles behind the steering wheel. For economy-minded motorists, the CVT is definitely the choice because it allows the car to sip less fuel. The manual-gearbox CR-Z gets 22.5 km per liter in Japan's 10-15 mode, while the CVT returns 25.0 km per liter.
Japanese Mag Takes Honda CR-Z For a Drive; Says It's Slow, But Handles Well

Thoughts??
 

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after reading the article again... i'm confused about this part...

The manual-gearbox CR-Z gets 22.5 km per liter in Japan's 10-15 mode, while the CVT returns 25.0 km per liter.
according to my calculations that comes out to:
6MT - 52mpg
CVT - 57mpg

Honda's estimated mpg:
6MT - 31/37
CVT - 36/38

now i did a straight conversion of this to get these numbers... not sure how accurate it is, if at all... i searched to find a more accurate measure of conversion but even on another site i found very similar results (actually slightly higher mpg at 53/59)...

can anyone shed light on the proper conversion method or why these figures add up like this...
 

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My 89' CRX isn't fast, but it sure is fun to whip down a tight twisty road in. I got the stock D16A6 with just i/h/e.

If this thing handles great then it could make up for its sloth like powers on a straight away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i like what i read from that article... i knew it wouldn't be a rocket out the gate... but i had a good idea of how good it will handle... even with all those people online saying "it's not independent rear... it's torsion beam..." blah blah blah... i guess they forgot to take in the fact that springs and damper are stiffer than the cars they were comparing the CR-Z to...

i wish the article had more "performance" stats... ie: 0-60 time, 1/4mile time, 60-0 braking, slalom speed, etc...
 

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"Our Honda representatives informed us that the car runs from zero to 62mph in 9.7 seconds"

There are no actual stats, just driving impressions. They later mention they "sampled the CVT" but don't give any impression as to how different the acceleration is relative to the 6-MT. In addition, absolutely nothing is mentioned about the 3-mode system and the difference in MPG or performance in any of the modes.

I know this was posted on Edmunds which is a reputable site, but the writing of the "Janapense Magazine" should be taken with a grain of salt. In the realm of automotive journalism, this is a great example of what's considered "crap."

Still, better this than no article at all.
 

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after reading the article again... i'm confused about this part...



according to my calculations that comes out to:
6MT - 52mpg
CVT - 57mpg

Honda's estimated mpg:
6MT - 31/37
CVT - 36/38

now i did a straight conversion of this to get these numbers... not sure how accurate it is, if at all... i searched to find a more accurate measure of conversion but even on another site i found very similar results (actually slightly higher mpg at 53/59)...

can anyone shed light on the proper conversion method or why these figures add up like this...
Those are the Japanese fuel economy estimates, they use a different formula/scale than we do. Basically it still converts into EPA numbers on par with the Honda reported figures for American models. Those are also basically the same reported figures from Honda through the leaked Japanese brochure. I don't think this review really did much of anything except serve as an advertisement, no stats/figures, and it only echoes what we already knew from Detroit and the leaked Japanese brochure.
 

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Not impressed.

Unless Honda is really off the ball with the mpg figures this car doesn't make much sense unless you specifically wants a hybrid 2-seater. Fiesta beats it mpg wise without any batteries, 2012 ecoboost Fiesta will beat it even more. If the Aveo comes stateside in RS trim then its another blow. CR-Z seems like its going to lose relevance fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Not impressed.

Unless Honda is really off the ball with the mpg figures this car doesn't make much sense unless you specifically wants a hybrid 2-seater. Fiesta beats it mpg wise without any batteries, 2012 ecoboost Fiesta will beat it even more. If the Aveo comes stateside in RS trim then its another blow. CR-Z seems like its going to lose relevance fast.
wow, the Fiesta is AT-PZEV? i didn't know that /sarcasm

does everyone really think honda can't produce an engine that makes power and gets great fuel economy that isn't AT-PZEV?? c'mon look at the R18; 140hp 36hwy mpg and is ULEV... even the Si with it's K20Z3 that makes 197hp is rated LEV... the Fiesta is rated LEV, in case anyone is curious and only makes 119hp out of the 1.6L engine...



btw... i think i fall in the category of Hybrid 2-seater...
 

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wow, the Fiesta is AT-PZEV? i didn't know that /sarcasm

does everyone really think honda can't produce an engine that makes power and gets great fuel economy that isn't AT-PZEV?? c'mon look at the R18; 140hp 36hwy mpg and is ULEV... even the Si with it's K20Z3 that makes 197hp is rated LEV... the Fiesta is rated LEV, in case anyone is curious and only makes 119hp out of the 1.6L engine...



btw... i think i fall in the category of Hybrid 2-seater...
The emissions status doesn't bother me. However I don't see why Honda finds it so difficult to offer several engine options. Obviously in Japan and likely Europe the decreased emissions combined with the higher rated test cycle might make this an attractive purchase because it will save you taxes, tolls, more taxes.

Stateside..... I don't see it. It's a marginally faster, less useful Fit. Considering the plunge in sales subcompacts have seen once gas prices dropped I don't expect to see the CR-Z much. More power to buyers then but its still sad.

The Honda I knew pushed the envelope on things. This like the Crosstour seems to be just yet another niche vehicle meant to pad the Honda line. Seem they are almost trying to play BMW using shared platforms to build a vehicle to every possible small market.
 

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well, you could also call it a slightly faster but much less useful Prius. They said it got a whole second faster than the prius.... how is this "performance" anything?

Honda pulled me in with the initial marketing. The way that the concepts looked, the fact that they were saying this would be a performance hybrid that would pull more people into the idea of hybrid cars. that driving hybrids could be fun. Yet now, every time i go searching on the web hoping for a review that was going to say that its performance matches its looks I am sadly disappointed. I dont mean to be too harsh but i am not sure who they are expecting to pull into hybrids with this. It looks good, but just about any standard compact vehicle (cobalt, mazda 3, civic, etc etc) will still be able to run circles around this car. If you pull in one of the "performance" versions of those cars.... say a civic si.... and it will become a joke.... i saw a point to a true performance hybrid.... when they made it seem like it would be the same performance as some of the compact cars that i mentioned above only with a bit better gas mileage.... but this..... i just dont see the point anymore..... A prius with less room, a smidge more power, and a sportier suspension with worse gas mileage?? :huh::unsure:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
funny how i can't find ONE "real world" testing of this car... but somehow you've been able to find it all over the web and make your assessment of this vehicles performance based on those "reviews"

please link us to what you've found... i'd love to read these reviews as well... oh btw, please don't link to things we know already like the "estimated" numbers Honda is throwing around... i'm talking real world numbers from reputable sources...

lastly it's labeled "Sporty Hybrid" not "performance"
 

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I agree 100% and I was the same way. I was looking for matching performance or very close to it and better mileage. Add to that fact that the US model seems to be more then a little stripped down it is on the verge of dropping off of my buy list. From the first and even the second concepts I was a buy on day one. Now I am looking for reasons to wait for it to come to market and not go buy something else.
 

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Motor Trend Feature of CR-Z

The March 2010 issue of Motor Trend has a "first look" article titled:

awholenewCRaZe?

Subtitled: Honda defines the sport
compact segment, again.(pg.55)

Besides some nice photos of a red CR-Z, the data block shows a 0-60 time of 8.3 (est). Since Motor Trend didn't get to test drive that pre-production prototype, that estimate had to come from American Honda. And we know how conservative American Honda is when it comes to performance (i.e. "S2000 under six seconds" vs. real-life tests of 5.3.

This looks good for the CR-Z. Could we see a 0-60 time under 8 seconds after all?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
great to hear that... can you upload a scan or link to the article oldchap?? thanks :thumbsup:

*edit* I found the PDF online and i'm uploading the article now ;)

From this issue of Motor Trend...




MotorTrend Magazine said:
THE LETTERS stand for Compact Renaissance Zero and announce Honda's goal of transforming the automotive landscape with a compact car that produces negligible emissions. As implied by renaissance, Honda has been down this road before: In name and silhouette, the CR-Z is clearly meant to trigger fond memories of the original Honda CRX. That little coupe helped foster and legitimize the Japanese, front-drive sport-compact craze. Light and snappy handling, the CRX proved a high water mark for the era, especially in canyon-carving Si trim. Heck, we picked the CRX as out Import Car of the Year in 1988. But the CRX's most enduring legacy might come from the high-fuel-efficiency HF model, which managed an impressive 50 city and 56 highway mpg on the old EPA cycle (41/50 mpg adjusted to 2008 standards). No surprise that Honda cites that gas sipper as the impetus for the 2000 Insight, the first hybrid car sold in North America.

Though 15.9 inches longer (9.3 inches of that between the wheels), 4.6 inches wider, and 4.1 inches taller than the original CRX, the CR-Z shares many characteristics with that car and the tadpole-shaped first-generation Insight. All are two seat (2+2 in Japan and Europe), front-drive coupes with wind-cheating Kamm-back profiles and vertical rear-deck windows. All come equipped with tiny four-cylinder engines and manual transmissions, though only the Insight and CR-Z have the hybrid raison d'etre, Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system.

This powertrain is the sixth and latest iteration of the one in Honda's other two hybrids, the Civic Hybrid and Insight, and pairs a small displacement, four-cylinder engine, in this case a 1.5-liter, 16-valve single-cammer, with a brushless DC motor positioned in place of the flywheel. The 10-kilowatt motor/generator pulls double duty, helping accelerate the CR-Z and capturing kinetic energy in a 100-volt nickel metal hydride battery during braking and coasting. Engine and motor combine to deliver 122 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque (123 pound-feet on CVT-equipped models), making the CR-Z the most powerful hybrid in Honda's lineup, but also its least fuel efficient. With the standard six-speed manual, Honda estimates the CR-Z will achieve an EPA rating of 31 city and 37 highway mpg. With the optional continuously variable transmission, mileage improves to 36 city/38 highway mpg, but that's not great for a hybrid, especially one sprung from the loins of the original Insight, which managed a staggering 70 highway mpg (61 in 2008 parlance).

So the CR-Z is a massive step backward? No. Recall the last part of the mission statement buried in those three letters. Z stands for zero and that's exactly how the California Air Resources Board rates the CR-Z. CARB has bestowed the CR-Z with its own snappy acronym, AT-PZEV, which means Alternative Technology-Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle. This is the cleanest rating given to vehicles with internal-combustion engines and means no unburned fuel escapes into the atmosphere. In comparison, the original Insight managed a nice, but still slightly dirty Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle status. But dwelling on mpg and emissions misses the other key element of the CR-Z: Honda claims it will be sporty and fun to drive.

Think that's just not possible with the CR-Z's output? Remember, the 1988 CRX Si managed to make a lot of hay with only 1.6 liters and 108 horsepower. True, at roughly 2500 pound, the CR-Z is significantly heavier, but it also has more power and torque. We estimate its 0-to-60-mph time at about 8.3 seconds.

Not fast, but neither was that CRX, much less the original Insight. In truth, the fun-to-drive element should come from the handling department--a traditional Honda strength. THough the CR-Z trades the CRX's control-arm suspension for sport tuned MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam in the rear, our expectations are high. The setup is similar to that on the slow, but imminently tossable Honda Fit.

For additional sportiness, Honda has given the CR-Z vented-front and solid-rear disc brakes (the Insight uses rear drums), as well as a new three-mode powertrain controller that allows the driver to select among sport, normal, and economy driving modes. The last two modes are familiar to anyone who has driven the current Insight. Normal mode provides baseline settings for engine response, electric motor assist, air conditioning, and the electrically assisted rack-and-pinion steering. Economy mode tweaks all of these, except steering, for maximum efficiency and economy while sport mode sharpens throttle response, steering effort, and electric motor-assist strategy in the name of performance. For CVT-equipped CR-Zs, paddle shifters provide a bit of additional sportiness; sport mode holds the selected ratio without "shifting." The selected mode also determines the glow of the tachometer's inner ring: blue for normal, red for sport, and between blue and green in economy mode depending how you drive. To encourage green driving, the CR-Z offers the Eco Guide and Eco scoring feature also found on the Insight.

Standard features on the CR-Z include the six-speed manual with hill-hold assist, stability control, a six speaker audio system, automatic climate control, power windows/door locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control, and 16-inch alloy wheels. EX trim adds such conveniences as auto on/off HID headlights, foglights, 360-watt premium audio, Bluetooth connectivity, perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel, an armrest/storage bin center console, and available satellite-based navigation.
So, is Honda the first to offer a sporty fun-to-drive, (near)-zero-emissions vehicle? No. Tesla and its electric roadster already have that trophy in the bag. Where Honda breaks ground is that that CR-Z will be available to the masses. Pricing has yet to be released, but Honda plans to slot the CR-Z between the Insight and Civic Hybrid--likely in the mid $20,000 range for a well-equipped EX version.

Sporty, affordable, and environmentally friendly? Let's hope this really is the start of a whole new craze.
and this was at the end of the article... everything but the base price sounds good to me ;)
 

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Did not mean to be too opinionated. I was just venting my frustration over what all of the initial numbers seem to be saying. I drank the kool-aid on their initial marketing, and gave me very high hopes for the car. the fact that they were saying it would show people that hybrids could be fun made me think that it was going to be a fairly fast sports car that would get better gas mileage when compared to similar sports cars.

Though, this latest article does look promising. It deffinitly made my ears purk up when they mentioned that 8.3 seconds.

One question though. Motortrend did throw in certain phrases like the CRZ's suspension SHOULD make the car fun to drive since handling is Honda's strong point. Using a word like "should" to descripe its handling.... does that mean that they didnt actually drive the car? and if not, then how did they come up with that 8.3 second 0-60 number???
 

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No, Motor Trend didn't test drive the CR-Z. All the info came from a "First Look" photo session. The zero to 60 estimate had to be supplied by Honda, who typically provides conservative numbers that are easily beaten by the automotive press during the "First Drive" reports, when cars become available.
 
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