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Top Gear Philippines

Honda CR-Z: fuel consumption, reliability, hybrid system

Hi, sir Botchi! I plan to buy the Honda CR-Z, and I need to know the pros and cons about the car in terms of its fuel consumption, hybrid system and reliability. Basically, I want to know everything about the car. I would really appreciate your help. Thank you, sir! God bless!

Joseph Tan

 

Joseph, thank you for your e-mail regarding the Honda CR-Z. It's not as popular as the Toyota 86, the Subaru BRZ or even the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, but it's a great car and a fantastic tuning base to start from.

The CR-Z uses a 1.5-liter L-series gasoline engine and Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) electric motor that adds a useful bump in power. The goal of the CR-Z's hybrid system is to boost performance without increasing fuel consumption to achieve its targets. This is a different use of hybrid technology compared to rival Toyota, which uses its hybrid systems to improve fuel economy. The CR-Z--in industry terms--is a half or soft hybrid because it doesn't offer a full-electric driving mode, unlike Toyota's Prius and Prius C, or Lexus's GS450h.

The local-market CR-Z, which was launched just last year, is the updated one that has a more powerful IMA electric motor (15kW, up from 10kW in pre-facelift, gray-market models imported from the US) and a more powerful lithium-ion battery pack. There's a Plus Sport button, which gives added power for five seconds, handy when exiting out of a tight corner, getting the jump on your racing opponent, or overtaking a slow-moving vehicle on a tight mountain pass.

The CR-Z has great brakes, steering and suspension, although I much prefer the Mugen suspension, which is available from Honda. It's also far easier to live with on a daily basis as it's roomier and more comfortable than the 86 or the BRZ once you're actually sitting down inside the car. But like the 86 and the BR-Z, if you're anything above 5'6", the rear seats are pretty much useless.

(Check out: Honda CR-Z variants, specs and prices)

From an aftermarket point of view, there are not as many parts available for it compared to (again) the 86 and the BRZ, but there's quite a lot going around: turbo kits from GReddy and Top Secret; a supercharger kit from HKS; a piggyback ECU from both GReddy (E-Manage) and HKS (F-Con iS or F-Con V-Pro); and, of course, suspension (shocks and springs, coilovers, bushing kit, sway bars and chassis-stiffening bars), wheels/tires and bodykits. You can easily spend another P1.0-1.5 million on aftermarket parts for the CR-Z.

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Gripes? Rearward visibility is surprisingly poor. The A-pillar sometimes blocks my particular field of peripheral vision, and the roof is quite low (I've banged my ears a couple of times getting in and out). Somehow, I can't get it into my head that the CR-Z has the stance of a low sports car. I never expected good fuel consumption, but it's an easy 9-10km/L, which is an added bonus.

I had the opportunity to borrow the CR-Z twice. The first time was the pre-facelift CR-Z, and afterwards the face-lifted CR-Z with the more powerful IMA setup. I tremendously enjoyed both units--and so did my wife, who loves Hondas. Now my wife's bugging me to get her one, too.

The CR-Z might be underrated, but it's a stellar performer nonetheless. My choice would be a full Mugen-equipped CR-Z in manual. It's perfect for the track, where its predecessor--the CR-X--made a name for itself outpacing faster, more powerful and more expensive cars on the circuit.

It might be a hybrid, but the CR-Z's hybrid system aims to improve performance. Think of it as being in the same vein as the Porsche 918 Spyder, the McLaren P1 and the Ferrari LaFerrari--all of which have hybrid drive technology assisting their performance.

Good luck! I hope this helps you!

Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor

Do you think Joseph should get the Honda CR-Z?
Hell yeah!
Also undecided
Hopefully not

Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor
Botchi eats, lives and breathes cars (aside from hotdogs). Aside from wanting to drive any car, preferably through some scenic destination, he's always thinking of ways to "improve them" by modifying the (insert any car-related word here).
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