Honda CR-Z

Does the mid-spec version Honda's sporty hybrid coupé add up?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

ALTHOUGH the CR-Z might seem expensive for what’s essentially a two-seater, when you consider that a Toyota Prius costs a lot more without offering anything in the way of driver appeal, it starts to make sense. Despite a lack of outright pace, it is superbly engineered, has lively handling and accurate controls. The sharp styling also makes it a tempting prospect, and this mid-spec Sport trim model offers the best value in the range.  

Honda’s futuristic sports car is here! We’ve already tested the hybrid CR-Z coupé in flagship GT form (Issue 1,109), but does it still add up in mid-spec Sport trim?

With a price tag of £17,999, it offers buyers a significant saving of £2,000 over the GT, but does without leather seats and satellite-navigation.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the CR-Z


Under the skin, it shares the same technology. The smooth 112bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine gets an additional shove from an on-board electric motor, which provides an extra 79Nm of torque and 10bhp from only 1,000rpm.

The CR-Z is the first hybrid sold in the UK to get a manual transmission – which highlights its sporting credentials. The steering, brakes and short-throw gearbox are all accurate and sharp, while the lower, stiffer Insight-based chassis makes for an entertaining drive. On paper, the performance isn’t exactly electrifying, but the engaging dynamics deliver a fun factor that’s missing from other hybrids.

An important part of the experience is the hi-tech interior design. There’s a dizzying array of dials and readouts presenting different information about the battery status, economy and which driving mode you’re in – Sport, Normal or Econ.

As well as driving thrills, the Honda offers impressive efficiency. Combined fuel economy of 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 117g/km are excellent for a sporty petrol hatchback – and qualify the coupé for first year road tax exemption – although they still fall short of truly green cars such as VW’s Polo BlueMotion. Fuel returns are also likely to take a hit if you use the performance.

Practicality could be better – the sloping roof means the back seats are strictly for kids – and cabin quality is average. However, it remains an appealing and refreshingly different package. This Sport model doesn’t have as many gadgets as the top-spec GT, but it still makes sense. And, most importantly, its fuel efficient, fun-to-drive powertrain proves that hybrids have a place in sports cars.

Rival: VW Scirocco 1.4 TSI The twin-charged VW is pricier at £18,860, but it offers more practicality and a classier cabin. A higher CO2 output of 146g/km and poorer fuel economy than the CR-Z are the price you pay for a little extra performance.

Most Popular

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'
Opinion cheap cars

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'

Our appetite for small, cheap cars is as strong as ever - although Mike Rutherford warns they may no longer be profitable
12 Sep 2021
E10 petrol explained: UK prices, checker tool and is it OK for your car?
Petrol pump

E10 petrol explained: UK prices, checker tool and is it OK for your car?

E10 petrol is up to 10 per cent ethanol and is available at UK fuel stations now as part of the bid to cut CO2 emissions
1 Sep 2021
New Toyota RAV4 Adventure heads up 2022 model refresh
Toyota RAV4 Adventure

New Toyota RAV4 Adventure heads up 2022 model refresh

The rugged Toyota RAV4 Adventure targets lifestyle buyers with a tough-looking new front bumper and interior tweaks
14 Sep 2021