Although hybrids have been around for a while, some consider they're still in the incipient stage and there's more work to do for them to reach the maximum possible efficiency level. However, they've evolved a lot and, from the gadget point of view, a hybrid vehicle is actually a gadget per se, with tons of devices and features that set them apart from the rest of the industry.
The CR-Z makes no exception and you get that as soon as you jump into one. The dashboard, the gauges' background light, the battery and the whole IMA system are actually top-notch devices, each of them having a more or less significant contribution to the final vehicle performance.
The color of the central gauge surrounding changes depending on the selected mode, in the same way as on the Insight: red for Sport, blue for Normal, and blue to full green for ECON (depending on how economically the driver handles the car). Just like on the Insight, there's a small plant icon that grows leaves to indicate the driver's eco progress. In the end, if the performance achieved by the driver is perfect (Honda's very own words), a flower takes shape.
The Multi-Information Display shows all kinds of information, statistics and graphs related to the driver's eco results, but also provides vital data such as fuel level and the travelled distance.
The eco driving is also supported by the so-called Shift Indicator Light (SIL) that displays a visual notification whenever the driver is recommended to shift up or down in order to get the lowest fuel consumption. According to the Japanese company, such a system, combined with Honda's Eco Assist, can improve fuel consumption by up to 10%, but would dramatically reduce performance, as we mentioned in the "City" section.
The Cruise Control feature is also adapted to support efficiency. With an Insight-like behavior, the system automatically softens the response when in ECON mode, allowing minor speed variations for smoother accelerations or decelerations.
Leaving all the hybrid goodies aside, the CR-Z also features a pretty decent audio configuration that supports both MP3 and WMA files. It comprises two front-door speakers, two front tweeters, two rear speakers plus a subwoofer mounted in the trunk. An auxiliary port is available right on the center console, plus an USB port in one of the storage compartments at the bottom of the console.
Probably the only issue here is caused by the parking sensors. Pretty useful to be honest, but almost useless if you're trying to park with air conditioning or music turned on. The volume of the sensors is annoyingly low and, after taking a peek at the owner's manual and on the Internet, we found out that there's no way to fix that. Unless you're willing to pay a visit to your closest Honda service center.Continue reading