1 Dec 2011
ALMOST two years after making its Japanese debut, Honda's hybrid-powered spiritual successor to the fondly-remembered CRX of the 1980s arrived in Australia with a two-variant line-up comprising the entry-level Sport model and top-spec Luxury variant.
Honda claimed a hybrid world first for the Sport variant's six-speed manual transmission but also offered the CR-Z with a CVT automatic with paddle-shifters that provided seven stepped ratios.
Both variants were motivated 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine combined with a 10kW/121Nm electric motor to produce 91kW of power and 174Nm of torque (dropping to 167Nm on CVT models).
Accelerating from 0-100km/h took about 9.7 seconds in the manual or 10.2 seconds with the CVT, while top speed was in the region of 200km/h.
Combined fuel economy on the manual was five litres per 100 kilometres, while the CVT was slightly more frugal at 4.7L/100km.
CO2 emissions were 118 grams per kilometre for the manual CR-Z, with the CVT emitting 111g/km.
All variants came with six airbags, active head restraints, seatbelt reminders, electronic stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, while manuals also got hill-start assist.
The level of standard safety equipment combined with good crash-test performance earned the CR-Z a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, based on Euro NCAP test results.
Cloth-seated CR-Z Sport variants came fitted with climate-control air-conditioning, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control and rear parking sensors with visual notification via a small instrument cluster-mounted multi-function display.
Like the multi-function display, the Sport’s standard six-speaker MP3 and USB-compatible CD sound system and Bluetooth phone connectivity were controlled via the multi-function steering wheel.
In addition to a standard CVT automatic, the Luxury variant added leather upholstery and heating for the front seats, satellite-navigation with SUNA traffic updates, Bluetooth audio streaming, a DVD player, panoramic glass roof and reversing camera.
The tiny, token rear seats folded flat to expand the CR-Z's modest 225-litre boot capacity to a more useful 401 litres, which Honda claimed to be sufficient for two golf bags.
Five exterior colours were available, comprising black, turquoise, red, white and silver.
When it was new