Honda CRZ 2012 Review

To date, hybrid vehicles have certainly been rather dull automobiles that have failed miserably to excite anyone with the need for speed. Just when you thought all was lost for anyone wanting to save the planet one kilometre at a time, Honda’s new CRZ hybrid has come to the rescue.  Billed as the long awaited replacement for the CRX, Honda has managed to capture that same youthful enthusiasm the CRX delivered those 26 years ago.

Everywhere you look the CRZ has taken styling cues from the CRX. From the bodylines to the classic split rear window, it’s instantly recognisable as its predecessor.

That CRX feel is carried on into the interior, with the instrument cluster featuring wings like the original 1986 model. A large central analogue rev counter dominates the display with a digital speedo inside. Everything can be controlled right at your fingertips on the steering wheel, including shift paddles if you elect for the CVVT auto transmission model. As with decent modern stereos there is both an aux and USB input for MP3 player or iPod. The USB cord is hidden in a small smart device sized compartment in the centre console, keeping the device out of sight and out of harm’s way.

There is a boot. There’s not a huge amount of room but it does come with a very useful boot blind to hide things away

There are only a couple of gripes about the interior. The central dash area looks poorly designed compared to the flashy instrument cluster. The second is the lack of rear leg room – these seats are all but a waste of time, and would only be occupied in situations of desperation. But apart from that, the rest of the interior feels very spacious and there’s plenty of storage room for smaller items, plus spaces for cups/water bottles.

Popping the bonnet will reveal a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder equipped with i-VTEC and a maximum power output of 91kW. Surprisingly the engine lacked a mass of plastic covers and if it weren’t for the large orange power cable, you would struggle to pick this engine features hybrid assistance.

The IMA Boost or Integrated Motor Assistance system is controlled through 3 buttons on the dash, ECO, NORM and SPORT. The three driving modes are distinctively different. While in Eco it is sluggish and the dash seems to constantly be showing a green arrow instructing you to change gear and keep it revving as low as possible, but to be fair this is exactly what its designed to do and where it will achieve the frugal consumption figures: 4.35l/100km for the manual and 4.7l/100km for the CVVT equipped model.

The Normal mode is the factory default and each time you start the car this is the mode you will find the CRZ in, and the speedo glows blue (it does turn green while you’re driving economically).  But it’s in Sport Mode that the true CRX essence comes alive. Instantly after engaging the car lunges forward and picks up speed as if to be egging you on, and the speedo turns red to let you know that you’re liberating electrons in the pursuit of acceleration. In this mode you will enjoy increased throttle response and stiffer steering and while this isn’t the mode to save the planet in, its definitely the mode we prefer and found ourselves doing most of the driving in, as it turns the CRZ in a real pocket rocket.

Handling is very responsive and the ride is a little on the firm side, possibly not ideal for old and tired bones, but for those who enjoy spirited drives through the country side, it’s perfect and provides the driver with limited body roll and plenty of feel. Leaving the traction control on, you will be greeted with next to no understeer, if anything it seems to love it, the harder you are pushing. Keeping it up in the higher rev ranges is really where this engine comes alive and with the added boost of the electric motor you will soon forget it’s only a 1500 under the bonnet.

Unlike the original CRX, the CRZ is packed full of the latest safety features including 6 airbags, side intrusion and a host of driving aids which don’t necessary distract from the driving experience, still allowing you the feeling of being in control.

If you’re looking for a car that can get you from point A to point B during the week without the need to empty your wallet at the service station, but then on the weekend provide you with a fun experience with a spirited drive along a country road the CRZ is ideal. If you were looking for a future star in the performance modifying world the CRZ is definitely it.

Pros:

  • Captures the spirit of the original
  • Tidy handling
  • Good balance between frugality and performance

Cons:

  • Some interior design isn’t up-to-scratch

Price:  from $44,900 (auto or manual)

    • Performance

      • Engine

        • Engine Type: i-VTEC (Intelligent Variable Valve Timing with Electronic Lift Control) performance and economy enhancing technology
        • Scramble Assist for maximum performance response
        • Maximum Power (KW @ rpm): 91kW @ 6000rpm
        • Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm): 174Nm @ 1000-1500rpm (CRZ Manual)
        • Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm): 167Nm @ 1000-1500rpm (CRZ CVT Auto)
        • Drive-by-Wire (DBW) electronic throttle control
        • Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) Combined Engine
        • Fuel tank capacity (litres): 40
        • Recommended Fuel: 91-octane regular unleaded fuel
        • Maximum speed km/h: 200 kmph
        • Switchable IMA Boost Program with 3 modes (Eco Assist): Sport, Normal and Eco for your choice of driving style
      • Handling

        • Brakes: 262mm front ventilated brake discs with 260mm rear solid brake discs
        • MacPherson strut front suspension
        • Wheels: 16″ alloy wheels, 16x6J with 195/55 R 87V tyres
        • Compact spare wheel
      • Transmission

        • 6-speed manual transmission (CRZ Manual)
        • Hill Start Assist (CRZ Manual)
        • CVT automatic transmission (CRZ CVT Auto)
        • Gear Logic Control (CRZ CVT Auto)
        • Racing-inspired steering wheel mounted shift paddles (CRZ CVT Auto)
        • Creep Aid System for incline-start-off assist (CRZ CVT Auto)
      • Gear Ratios

        • 1st: 3.14 (CRZ Manual)
        • 2nd: 1.87 (CRZ Manual)
        • 3rd: 1.3 (CRZ Manual)
        • 4th: 1.05 (CRZ Manual)
        • 5th: 0.58 (CRZ Manual)
        • 6th: 0.69 (CRZ Manual)
        • Forward: 2.526-0.421 (CRZ CVT Auto)
        • Reverse: 3.31 (CRZ Manual)
        • Reverse: 4.510-1.725 (CRZ CVT Auto)
        • Final Reduction Ratio: 4.11 (CRZ Manual)
        • Final Reduction Ratio: 5.27 (CRZ CVT Auto)
    • Safety & Security

      • Safety

        • 5 Star Euro NCAP Safety Rating
        • Driver and Passenger front i-SRS airbags
        • Side airbags in front seats with OPDS (Occupant Position Detection System) on passenger seat
        • Full length side-curtain airbags
        • 3-point ELR seatbelts (front and rear). Pretensioners, load limiters and height adjustable anchor points for front seatbelts
        • 2 child seat tether points and ALR (Automatic Locking Reel) seatbelts in the rear
        • Active headrests for front seats
        • Electronic Stability Contol – VSA (Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist) incorporating Traction Control
        • ABS (Anti-lock braking system ) with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) and EBA (Emergency Brake Assist)
        • Impact absorbing bumpers
        • G-CON (G-Force Control) Collision Compatibility body design
        • Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) collision compatibility body design
        • Side intrusion beams
      • Security

        • Integrated security alarm system
        • Engine immobiliser
        • Remote central locking on all doors
        • Interior master door lock switch
        • Folding key-fob with remote lock/unlock – 2 keys
    • Fuel Economy & Environment

      • Fuel Economy

        • Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) L/100kms : 5.0l/100km (CRZ Manual)
        • Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) L/100kms : 4.7l/100km (CRZ CVT Auto)
        • Optimal NZ Drive Test (Auckland-Taupo-Auckland) L/100kms: 4.35 (CRZ Manual)
        • Optimal NZ Drive Test (Auckland-Taupo-Auckland) L/100kms: 4.5 (CRZ CVT Auto)
      • Fuel Saver Information

        • Star Rating: 5 stars out of 6
        • Yearly cost: $1,400 (CRZ Manual)
        • Yearly cost: $1,320 (CRZ CVT Auto)
        • L/100km: 5 (CRZ Manual)
        • L/100km: 4.7 (CRZ CVT Auto)
        • FuelSaver Reference: 6521 (CRZ Manual)
        • FuelSaver Reference: 6522 (CRZ CVT Auto)
        • Note: 2011(a) cost per year based on price per litre of petrol $2.00 and an average distance of 14000 km
      • Emissions

        • Euro V
        • LEV II (Low Emissions Vehicle)
        • AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle)
        • Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) CO2 (g/km): 115g/100km (CRZ Manual)
        • Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) CO2 (g/km): 108g/100km (CRZ CVT Auto)
  • Styling and Features

    • Dimensions

      • Dimensions

        • Length (mm): 4080mm
        • Width (mm): 1740mm
        • Height (mm): 1395mm
        • Weight – Manual (kg): 1155-1170kg (CRZ Manual)
        • Weight – Automatic (kg): 1175-1190kg (CRZ CVT Auto)
        • Wheelbase (mm): 2435mm
        • Track – Front/Rear (mm): 1515mm/1500mm
        • Ground Clearance – non-load (mm): 145mm
        • Turning Circle (m): 10.8m
        • Weight distributor FR:RR: 62:38 (CRZ Manual)
        • Weight distributor FR:RR: 61:39 (CRZ CVT Auto)
        • Maximum warrantable towing weight (kg): Bike rack only
        • Steering Wheel Turn Lock to Lock: 2.48
        • Luggage capacity seats up (litres, VDA method, to window line): 208 litres
        • Luggage capacity seats down (litres, VDA method, to window line) : 410 litres
    • Exterior

      • Body

        • Power adjustable and retractable body coloured heated aspeheric door mirrors with integrated side turn indicator
        • Body colour bumpers and door handles
        • Rear lifting tailgate
      • Features

        • Variable intermittent front windscreen wipers with automatic rain sensor and automatic speed adjustment
        • Rear wiper
        • Fuel lid with auto-lock (locks and unlocks with the vehicle)
      • Lights

        • Halogen headlights
        • Daylight running front LED lights for enhanced visibility
      • Glass

        • Privacy glass for rear side, quarter and back windows
    • Interior

      • Cargo & Seating

        • Ergonomic seats
        • 8-way manual driver’s seat adjustment
        • Tonneau cover
        • Boot light
        • Rear seat fold down
        • Magazine Rack Passengers Seat
        • Centre console storage
        • Coin pocket
        • Velour upholstery with metal effect trim
      • Comfort & Convenience

        • Air conditioning dust and pollen clean air filter
        • Auto Air Conditioning
        • Leather and alloy trimmed manual gear shift lever (CRZ Manual)
        • Alloy Pedals
        • Foot-rest
        • Leather trimmed tilt and reach adjustable 3-spoke steering wheel
        • Power windows with drivers auto up/down and anti-trap
        • Cruise control integrated into steering wheel
        • Walk-in lever for rear seat access
        • Drivers vanity mirror
        • Passenger vanity mirror
        • Front map reading lights
        • Ambient interior light
        • Ticket/card holder (driver only)
        • Glove Box
        • Glove box light
        • Accessory power outlet (12V socket)
      • Driver display

        • Multi information display
        • Outside temperature display
        • Average fuel economy (litres/100km)
        • Fuel consumption display
        • Distance to empty
        • Average Speed Indicator
        • Bluetooth HandsFreeLink
        • Digital Odometer and Digital Trip Meters
        • Eco Guide/Eco Store
        • Elapsed Time Indicator
        • IMA System Power Flow Indicator
    • Entertainment

      • Audio

        • Audio type : Integrated in-dash 160W stereo tuner
        • Number of speakers: 6
        • CD player
        • MP3 compatible
        • WMA compatible
        • USB input (memory stick and iPod compatible)
        • AUX input location: centre console
        • Steering wheel audio controls
        • Speed sensitive volume control (SVC)
      • Bluetooth

        • Integrated steering wheel bluetooth
        • Bluetooth hands free telephone (HFT) system
        • Sharkfin exterior aerial
  • Model Options

    • CRZ Manual

      Price from $44,900 + ORC
      • Model Features

        • Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm): 174Nm @ 1000-1500rpm
        • 1st: 3.14
        • 6-speed manual transmission
        • 2nd: 1.87
        • Hill Start Assist
        • 3rd: 1.3
        • 4th: 1.05
        • 5th: 0.58
        • 6th: 0.69
        • Reverse: 3.31
        • Final Reduction Ratio: 4.11
        • Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) L/100kms : 5.0l/100km
        • Optimal NZ Drive Test (Auckland-Taupo-Auckland) L/100kms: 4.35
        • Yearly cost: $1,400
        • L/100km: 5
        • FuelSaver Reference: 6521
        • Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) CO2 (g/km): 115g/100km
        • Weight – Manual (kg): 1155-1170kg
        • Weight distributor FR:RR: 62:38
        • Leather and alloy trimmed manual gear shift lever
    • CRZ CVT Auto

      Price from $44,900 + ORC
      • Model Features

        • Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm): 167Nm @ 1000-1500rpm
        • CVT automatic transmission
        • Gear Logic Control
        • Forward: 2.526-0.421
        • Reverse: 4.510-1.725
        • Racing-inspired steering wheel mounted shift paddles
        • Final Reduction Ratio: 5.27
        • Creep Aid System for incline-start-off assist
        • Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) L/100kms : 4.7l/100km
        • Optimal NZ Drive Test (Auckland-Taupo-Auckland) L/100kms: 4.5
        • Yearly cost: $1,320
        • L/100km: 4.7
        • FuelSaver Reference: 6522
        • Combined – Australian Design Rules (ADR) CO2 (g/km): 108g/100km
        • Weight – Automatic (kg): 1175-1190kg
        • Weight distributor FR:RR: 61:39

Words: Marcus Gibson; photos: Darren Cottingham

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