December 2011

December 2011

**Honda CR-Z 1.5 i-VTEC Sport

Week ending December 23
Mileage 8399
Driven this week 59 miles**

Honda CR-Z review

If theres one place you expect a hybrid to shine its in town. Oddly, thats the only place our long-term Honda CR-Z struggles.

The stop-start system switches off the engine when youre still rolling and only restarts it when you fully depress the clutch (most sport-start systems restart with the merest of pressure on the clutch pedal).

The problem with this is that the CR-Z gets confused when youre riding the clutch in slow-moving traffic. It switches off the engine when youre crawling and have no intention of stopping, for example, and unless you realise this has happened (and fully depress the clutch pedal) you effectively use the engine to brake the car when you release the clutch again.

All very embarrassing (and potentially dangerous) if theres a car behind you, as there almost certainly will be.

Out on the open road, though, the CR-Z really shines. Its easily the most fun car Honda makes, with agile handling and a banzai 1.5-litre engine that loves to be thrashed.

If it were cheaper (our Sport model costs 18,735) it would be easier to recommend.

Week ending December 16
Mileage 8340
Driven this week 410 miles

Many sporty cars have next to no cabin storage, but the CR-Z isn't one of them.

Honda has put cupholders and bins for odds and ends between the front seats. What's more, there's a handy lidded cubby on the top of the dash, and the USB socket is in a hidden compartment, so I don't have to worry about my iPod being nicked if I leave it in the car.

Week ending December 2
Mileage 7498
Driven this week 102 miles

Now that were into the winter months, the CR-Zs rear visibility has become downright awful.

You struggle to see what's behind you at the best of times, because a bar cuts across your line of sight.

However, things are worse than ever at this time of year: the absence of a rear wiper means you cant clear rain from the upper part of the screen, while the near-vertical lower section gets covered in grime from the road.