An Affordable Sporty Hybrid?
Hybrids and electric cars are better for the environment and our wallets. They mostly drive well, they are cheap to run, some have decent performance and prices for used examples are available for most budgets. But most are also a bit dull to look at and are about as sporty as a game of tiddly winks - except one: The Honda CR-Z. Read on...
Hybrid and electric cars are designed for efficiency. Having a frugal electric motor and/or a tiny petrol engine that sips the go-juice is not enough for most manufacturers as it’s all about the headline fuel economy figure. That’s why we buy them, right? Well yes, but if you stuck a hybrid powertrain in a Ford Falcon many people would be happier and still reap the benefits of lower fuel consumption and servicing costs. But for the most part, we are stuck with wind tunnel designed cars with little to no personality or performance.
However, back in 2010 Honda released its CR-Z hybrid sports car, a car who’s styling echoed the popular CRX sports hatch and may have been the first hybrid to turn heads as you drove down the street. The interior is also a bit space-age and the driving experience is fun, if not exhilarating.
Now, as sports cars go the CR-Z isn’t going to win much in a game of top trumps. In sports mode, it squeaks out just over 120hp with a 0-100 time of just under 10 seconds. It’s neither fast nor slow and the same can be said of its fuel economy which is hardly class-leading for a hybrid but better than a conventionally powered small sports hatch. Essentially the CR-Z has a foot in both camps and as such never really found a market back when it was released in the early hybrid days.
Today the CR-Z might make more sense for those of us that want a fun, quick car that doesn’t cost a fortune to buy but saves money at the pump. And because it was less than successful a decade ago it’s fairly rare to see it on our roads today. This is good as the CR-Z still looks fresh, still turns heads and it carries an air of sporting exclusivity.
In a sea of featureless commuter cars that get lost in supermarket car-parks the CR-Z stands out. It’s neither the sportiest nor the most fuel-efficient car but it does well enough at both to almost be the best of both worlds.
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