Honda CR-Z sporty hybrid e-car
Miserly with fuel, entertaining to drive
The CR-Z's 1.5 litre single-overhead camshaft i-VTEC engine is new to Honda in Europe though it is currently used in the North American and Asian model Jazz. Producing 112bhp at 6100 rpm and 107 lb-ft of torque at 4800, it is a huge improvement on the anaemic 1.3 litre engine in the Insight and revs enthusiastically.
The engine has been Jazz'd up
The battery and electric motor are taken directly from the Insight - reviewed here - with the latter producing an identical 13.8bhp (10.3kW) of power and 57lb-ft (77.3Nm) of torque. In Sport mode, that's a combination that will get the CR-Z to 62mph in 9.9s and on to a top speed of 124mph. The battery pack sits further forward and lower down in the chassis than in the Insight to aid balance and lower the car's centre of gravity.
Uniquely for a hybrid, the engine and motor are coupled to a six-speed gearbox which is every bit as good as you'd expect from Honda and lets you wring the most from that free revving engine.
One man went to mode
While the Insight had a two driving modes, Normal and Economy, the CR-Z adds a third, Sport. In this setting the steering power assistance is reduced, the throttle response sharpened and the Integrated Motor Assist electric motor allowed to draw more power from the battery pack for sudden acceleration.