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The Transcendental Idealism of The Honda CR-Z
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★★★★★
Quick Facts
Model spec: Honda CR-Z GT Price: £23,000.00 Engine: 1.5L, 4-Cyl Petrol/Electric
BHP / Torque: 135 / 190 Max Speed: 124 CO2: 122g/km 0-62mph: 9.5 seconds
Economy/Range: 35mpg combined Tax: £0/year
The world and its thin, delicate veil of precious life giving oxygen is being assaulted by industrial chemicals and methane emitting livestock. Our reliance on aerosol cans and centrally heated homes requires vast amounts of energy and all this energy eventually ends up swirling in the atmosphere, man-made invisible particles reacting and interacting with the earth, heating and cooling the climate. We see this, say scientists, with cooler summers, harsher winters and violent weather patterns. The fightback to rescue the atmosphere is now underway. That fightback was started by Honda some time ago, their answer was the Insight, a car able to combine forces of the internal combustion engine and the electric motor as one, thus kick starting the age of the Hybrid vehicle. Somewhat ironically this automotive idealism was driven not by climate change but the rising cost of petrol, government emissions regulations, the promise of cheaper car insurance and better fuel economy. And the state of California. They all thought Honda were crazy hippies, but now all car manufactures are Hippies.
“It’s a sharp looking coupe, GT spec gets 17 inch alloys as standard which adds an athletic poise, it looks even better in person when not seen through the distorting eye of a camera lens.”
And true to form Honda are offering what they say is or perhaps was the worlds first hybrid sports coupe, the CR-Z. It uses a 1.5 litre, 4 cylinder petrol engine which produces 119bhp and an electric motor which emits 20bhp giving a combined power output of 135bhp and 190Nm of torque. The CR-Z is available in four trim levels, Sport, Sport-T, GT and GT-T prices range from £21k-£24k. It’s a sharp looking coupe, GT spec gets 17 inch alloys as standard which adds an athletic poise, it looks even better in person when not seen through the distorting eye of a camera lens. The interior design looks busy and complicated to operate but within minutes becomes familiar and intuitive to use, its solidly built and has a premium feel throughout. About the length of a Ford Fiesta, the CR-Z is configured as a 2+2 seater but in reality the rear seats are best used for extra storage space. First launched in 2011, the CR-Z has since gone under the automotive knife with a series of styling revisions, for 2013 there is a new front bumper design with a revised grille and a new rear diffuser for enhanced stability at high speed. Both the electric motor and the petrol engine get a power increase and new Lithium-ion batteries save weight and last longer. The integration of a Plus Sport button features three driving modes Economy, Normal and Sport. The electric motor is not designed to propel the car at low speeds but to assist in the delivery of power, kind of like an F1 KERS system. So all the ingredients are there for a great performance sports coupe right? Wrong. Straightline performance is sedate at best, Sport mode gives you a subtle punch of speed but even then it still feels quite shy. To overcome the shyness acceleration, and plenty of it, is required however using a lot of revs negates the whole eco-centric nature of the CR-Z because more fuel is expended. However there is redemption to be found, the CR-Z is seriously good fun to drive, the steering is eclectic, it writes you a story of the road ahead, the handling is more or less spot on with great front to rear balance, the amount of grip available means you can really throw the CR-Z into corners at almost lunatic levels of speed, the ride though firm is bearable and that 6 speed manual gearbox is crisp and precise to engage. The CR-Z GT has high equipment levels and is an example of hybrid technology at its best mixing the old world and the new, as a result its relatively cheap to insure and tax but not necessarily to run. Ironically its the old technology, i.e. handling/steering, that saves the CR-Z from being overrun by transcendental idealism.  CRZ-Gallery-L
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