What Car? Green Awards 2010 - Sports cars
Green sports car. It sounds like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it? Sports cars need to be fast, which usually means a big V6 or V8 engine or, at the very least, a meaty four-cylinder turbo, and there’s nothing very green about that. Yet when you’ve got the big-engined car you find that, in the UK at least, there’s nowhere you can exploit it. So why not just buy something that delivers the same enjoyment at half the pace?
Read our review of the Honda CR-Z 1.5 i-VTEC Sport 3dr
Which brings us to the Honda CR-Z. It’s not particularly fast – a top speed of 124mph and 0-60mph in just under 10 seconds can be matched or beaten by any number of superminis these days – but you’ll be able to use a greater percentage of its capabilities for more of the time than with any CO2-belching exotica.
What’s more, the hybrid Honda just looks right – a squat little two-plus-two that draws inspiration from the CR-X, the brilliant hot hatch from the late 1980s. Then you talk to the engineers and discover the cars they had in mind when setting up the CR-Z were the Lotus Elise, the Mini and the Volkswagen Scirocco. It all starts to look very promising.
Delivers on promises
The CR-Z delivers on those promises, too. It weighs less than 1200kg, so the 112bhp produced by the combination of its 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor never has to work too hard, and there’s 128lb ft of torque at just 1500rpm, so it scoots away from a standstill. Meanwhile, an engine stop-start system ensures that it pumps out no emissions when it’s at rest.
The real fun comes from the way it drives, though. It has a slick manual gearbox – a first in a hybrid car – sharp steering, great handling and the kind of low-slung driving position you expect in a sports car. It even has a sports car’s awful rear visibility.
It can’t turn a wheel on electric power alone, so it’s a ‘mild’ rather than a full hybrid, but there are three driving modes – eco, sport and normal – which you can jump between depending on how much your green conscience is troubling you. The instruments are backlit in different colours to remind you of which mode you’re in, and there’s an eco guide to help you drive as economically as possible.
The important figures, with HM Revenue & Customs in mind, are 117g/km of CO2 and 56.5mpg. It’ll be a cheap car to run, then.
A cheap-ish one to buy, too. CR-Z prices start at just under £17,000 – a fraction of what you’d pay for the kind of sports car that you might lust after but would rarely be able to use.
Green car fact file: sports cars
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