Honda CR-Z GT

7 Dec, 2012 1:00pm Luke Madden

The Honda CR-Z has been facelifted to help the sporty hybrid deliver on the promise of its looks

Verdict

3
This is one of the more subtle mid-life refreshes we’ve seen: you’ll struggle to tell the new CR-Z apart from the old one. Behind the wheel things get clearer, with a slightly better driving experience. It feels faster and the Sport+ button adds some excitement, but the chassis still lacks the sparkle of a truly special car.

The Honda CR-Z hybrid didn’t exactly take the world by storm at launch in 2010. The petrol-electric powertrain was – and still is – a novelty for a sports car, but the coupe just wasn’t fun or fast enough to compete.

Now Honda has tried to iron out the Honda’s flaws with a subtle facelift, featuring tweaks to the styling and the mechanicals.

The visual updates are hard to spot. The grille is very subtly different, with a new mesh, while the air intakes either side of the front bumper are now larger. At the back is a subtly redesigned diffuser. Two new colours – Energetic Yellow and Aurora Violet – are now available, too.

Interior changes are limited, with revised door panels freeing up a little extra space in the bins. You’ll notice a new S+ button on the steering wheel as well.

And that brings us neatly to the powertrain. A new lithium-ion battery pack, updated motor and tweaked engine have raised power by 9bhp to 135bhp.

That steering wheel-mounted button works in a similar way to an F1-style KERS system – you press it to get an extra boost from the electric motor for up to 10 seconds. This provides a noticeable difference in the car’s acceleration – our top-of-the-range GT’s 0-62mph time has been reduced by six tenths to 9.5 seconds – but you still won’t be pinned back in your seat.

Economy and CO2 emissions are unaffected by the mechanical changes, although as our GT now rides on 17-inch alloys instead of 16-inch wheels, it returns 54.3mpg and emits 122g/km, compared to the pre-facelift car’s 56.5mpg and 117g/km.

The Honda drives in much the same way as before, with a comfortable – albeit firm – ride and impressive refinement. Unfortunately, the handling still doesn’t provide the spark that would make this a really involving sports car. It’s nothing to do with how capable the newcomer is – in fact, the CR-Z has plenty of grip through corners – but it feels a little too clinical and sensible in its approach.

Disqus - noscript

"Economy and CO2 emissions are unaffected by the mechanical changes, although as our GT now rides on 17-inch alloys instead of 16-inch wheels, it returns 54.3mpg and emits 122g/km, compared to the pre-facelift car’s 56.5mpg and 117g/km."

This is contradictory.

Overpriced, has nice looks on the outside but for me the interior is just too much, isn't logical in anyway, isn't boring either, but is too fussy and way over complicated. But kudos to Honda for trying something different with the CRZ, I just hope the new NSX will be a better performing hybrid.

An underatted car, we have one of these in our family and it has performed faultlessly over two years. It manages to achieve some impressive economy figures and (despite what the review above suggests).....is fun to drive, and having run a Subaru Impreza before I know what a fun car feels like.

Always wondered what the point of the CR-Z is?
It fails on performance, economy & emissions and price. Why would someone buy this car?
If it was a little quicker, and did easily over 65mpg then maybe things would start to stack up, but at 55mpg and slow performance what is the point of the hybrid powertrain?!?!

This would be due to the increased rim size rather than the mechanical changes.

Maybe the reason it has not sold well is because it's butt ugly.

Automatic please Honda went to the Honda dealer when this car first came out and they said there would be an auto within 3 months what happenedcome on honda

Key specs

  • Price: £23,050
  • Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl petrol, electric motor
  • Power: 135bhp (combined)
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 9.5 seconds
  • Top speed: 124mph
  • Economy: 54.3mpg
  • CO2: 122g/km
  • Equipment: 17-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated seats
  • On sale: Now
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