So, what we have here is the so-called sports hybrid coupe. Who has ever heard of such a thing? A hybrid, designed to be extremely efficient, is now able to make you feel like driving a race car. But does it really manage to live up to expectations?
It's difficult to say if the CR-Z is more appropriate for city driving or longer journeys but, taking into account its hybrid powertrain, we'd be tempted to say that urban cruising is the only place that feels like home for the CR-Z. But we'd be wrong. And you'll understand why in a minute.
Hybrids are usually synonymous with fuel efficiency and low emissions, but Honda tried to do things a bit different this time. Featuring a 1.5-liter engine and a manual transmission, the car was supposed to bring the hybrid concept to a new level, the one where performance meets efficiency under a nice, appealing and sporty design.
Driving the CR-Z on the crowded streets of our city was extremely useful, mostly thanks to its fairly small dimensions and superior handling. And although most people would go for an automatic transmission, the manual configuration is clearly above the average we see in today's automotive industry, providing a lot more control to the driver, regardless if we're talking about eco driving or sportiness.
The driving experience can be different, depending on the selected mode. The difference between ECON and Sport is enormous from the point of view of both efficiency and performance.
In ECON mode, the car is a lot slower and, if you're willing to drive by the Shift Indicator Light (SIL), you might get the fuel consumption figures closer to the official ones. But don't expect a thrilling ride; it's like having your 90-year-old grandpa behind the wheel. Honda says fuel consumption should be around 6.1 l/100km (38.5 mpg) in urban conditions, but we couldn't drop below 7.9 l/100km (29.7 mpg) during a morning rush hour. A thing worth mentioning is that the SIL needs premature shifting, with the sixth gear requested at around 55 to 60 km/h.
But this is not at all a bad thing. It actually emphasizes the engine's flexibility as gear ratios will be entirely different in Sport mode. And so will fuel consumption.
The Sport mode offers a sharper throttle response, but also modifies the behavior of the hybrid system and the power steering assistance. In real conditions, you might feel the car a bit faster than it actually is and the 9.9- second official time required to go from naught to sixty two would seem exaggerated.
It might take a while for the driver to get used to the start-stop system. It automatically idles the engine when not in motion and restarts it after the driver depresses the clutch, looking for first gear. In extreme traffic conditions however, the system is a little annoying and there's no way to disable it, unless driving in Sport mode. Plus, depending on a number of factors, including the current state of the battery, engine idling also turns off air conditioning, seriously affecting comfort, especially during hot days.Continue reading
Hold on, Lou Cheeka would like to say something...
Oh Jesus, these guys at Honda seem to be keen to continue with their bulls**t... It's just sad to see how a big company that had a shot at becoming a real challenger for the Germans ruins all its efforts with this kind of rolling cans...
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