Monday, June 16, 2014

RG2011... Fw: Brief Drive: Honda CR-Z


Brief Drive: Honda CR-Z (2012)

Honda's sporty coupe is the perfect choice for those wanting car that's fun to drive but doesn't come with a sports car price tag.

What is it?
It's a 3-door coupe with a hybrid powertrain, an attempt by Honda to make hybrids more appealing by injecting a sportier character (manual transmission underlines this).

What's it like?
With many cars, the outside looks compact but when you get in, there's a surprisingly spacious cabin. Not so with the CR-Z which has a snug-fitting environment for the front occupants and hardly any space in the back seat.

The manual gearbox is one of the more delightful things about this car and apparently, the engineers worked hard to give it the sort of feel which will have drivers wanting to keep 'rowing' the shifter. It has just the right weighting and just the right amount of notchiness to identify each gear position.

The 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine is similar to the one found in the City and Jazz but with the IMA, there's a lot more zip at the low end. Peak torque is available just above idling rpm and with the 1,160 kg kerb weight, it takes off like a jet being launched on an aircraft carrier. Okay, okay, that's a bit exaggerated but it is quick and power delivery is linear. There's also a nice throaty exhaust note trailing in the background, the sound specially tuned to get the adrenalin flowing faster.

The auto-stop function is extremely valuable to fuel-saving because so much fuel is wasted at traffic lights. I wish more cars would have it but your battery also needs to be in good shape and I'm not sure if the system uses the small battery or the more powerful hybrid battery.

The car's handling is what you would expect from a car that looks the way it does. The suspension tuning is well matched to the performance that the powertrain can provide and even skilled drivers will find it enjoyable enough. The electric power steering has very good feel.

Other points of note: the boot space is generous but the large glass area over it can let in a lot of hot sunshine. The shallow slope of the rear glass would make it impossible to see what is directly behind so a vertical glass panel is installed which looks kind of odd in the mirror.

Should I buy one?
With this car, Honda has managed to give the best of both worlds and the choice is yours which you want though you can't have both at the same time. Nevertheless, you will get the joy of driving Honda promises and to some extent, the joy of saving money too.

Price: RM80,000 – RM95,000

Tech Highlights: 1497 cc, I4 i-VTEC petrol engine with Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) electric motor; 122 bhpat 6000 rpm; 174 Nm at 1000 - 15000 rpm 6-speed manual; Claimed: 0 – 100 km/h 10 secs, Top Speed: 200 km/h

Article by Chips Yap


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