Our cars: Honda CR-Z - April 2012

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Honda CR-Z
Honda CR-Z
Honda CR-Z 1.5 i-VTEC Sport

Week ending April 27
Mileage 11,936
Driven this week: 308 miles

Honda CR-Z review

I usually like to set the air-con for 18 degrees, whereas my other half prefers it at about 28, so we’re big fans of dual-zone climate control. Unfortunately, this isn’t fitted to the CR-Z.

To make matters worse, you can’t even stop the airflow on one side of the car; there are two vents on each side, but while the outer ones can be closed, the inner ones can’t.

I’ve tried angling both the inner vents away from me, but this doesn’t stop me feeling the air because the stylish dashboard is so clearly divided into a driver’s side and a passenger’s side.


Week ending April 20
Mileage 11,628
Driven this week 382 miles

This week, I’ve been testing at MIRA (the Motor Industry Research Association) in Nuneaton for What Car?’s annual Towcar Awards, and the trip showed the CR-Z at its best and worst.

For starters, it had to get me there, which meant a 102-mile blast up the M1. Unfortunately, the CR-Z is far from ideal for this sort of journey, because it feels nervous when cruising at speed and you’re bombarded with wind- and road noise.

It’s fair to say that the drive was a tiring one, then, but the CR-Z performed far better when I arrived at MIRA and asked it to serve as my mobile office; used for everything from catching up with work on my laptop to storing kit. Not only is there lots of space upfront, but the numerous cabin cubbies meant I could stash everything from score sheets to mugs of tea, and the boot swallowed everything I needed it to.

I also looked forward to the daily drive from the test track to my hotel. This involved 14 miles of twisty country roads, where I could stick the CR-Z in its Sport mode and make the most of the darty handling and rev-hungry engine. In fact, I was probably having a bit too much fun, because my average fuel economy regularly dropped below 40mpg.


Week ending April 13
Current mileage 11,246
Driven this week: 134 miles

We now have two Hondas on the What Car? fleet – my CR-Z and colleague Leo Wilkinson's Civic – both of which have split rear screens, with a bar that cuts right across your line of sight.

Somehow, I find this design flaw more forgivable in a sporty coupe such as my CR-Z than a practical hatchback such as the Civic. That said, I am envious of the Civic’s rear wiper.

This isn’t even an option on the CR-Z, and I regularly have to get out and clean off the dirt that has collected on the upper part of the screen if I want to see anything out the back.


Week ending April 6
Current mileage 11,112
Driven this week: 124 miles

I've spent this week in our long-term CR-Z, rather than my usual car, our long-term Honda Civic.

It's provided an interesting comparison. The two cars are quite different in character, with one a diesel five-door hatchback and the other a sporty, three-door petrol hybrid.

There are a few similarities, however: both have rather compromised ergonomics, including driver's seats that could do with a much wider range of adjustment.

Both the Civic and CR-Z have an 'econ' mode, too, which alters the air-con and throttle response settings to maximise fuel economy. It doesn't seem to have much effect in the Civic, but it makes the CR-Z feel far less responsive, so you end up accelerating harder as a result.

The CR-Z's 'sport' mode has the opposite effect and it's my default mode when I drive it. You get the most out of the hybrid powertrain, so it feels usefully brisk, and I don't think you end up using much more fuel, either.


Our cars: Honda CR-Z - March 2012


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