Honda CR-Z 1.5 Hybrid i-VTEC Review
Eco-Friendly Guilty Pleasure

Story by Justin Lee Photos by Raymond Lai
7 Jan 2012

The CR-Z has big shoes to fill: firstly, to revive memories of the enigmatic CR-X from the mid-80s, and secondly, be the sexy iconic model for Honda’s eco-friendly efforts featuring the latest version of its Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) powertrain. Is the CR-Z a confused oxy-moron, or does is really meet the expectations of Honda fans longing once again for a hot coupe with an H on its bonnet? Justin Lee finds out.

Shaped by the wind

In many ways, with a name like CR-Z, it was a given that the latest 2-door coupe Honda should look like the second generation CR-X from the late-80s. From the sharp and steeply raked nose, through to its sweeping roofline that comes to an immediate, vertical Kamm-tail. It is dramatic and it’s a shape that has been shaped by aerodynamic principles – that’s why the CR-X, first generation Insight and the CR-Z all look similar – there is almost no other shape that is will enclose an engine and  two passengers within a compact 4metre long body-shape.

With a high chopped off tail, this of course necessitates a two-piece rear window, with a wing between the horizontal and vertical window sections – just like the second gen versions of the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius, and also the Chevrolet Volt. Visibility through a split window takes getting used to, but it seems to be the price for an aerodynamically-shaped car.

From the front, the CR-Z looks much more aggressive than CR-X or Insight, or any other Honda in the present line-up. Instead, the CR-Z has an Audi R8-like grille, from which all the key character lines seem to emerge from this key design feature. These lines progress upward and rearward to form a dramatic wedge shape, finally ending in the abrupt, cut-off hightail. The car looks good, nicely aggressive considering its short overall length. Also obvious from the rear is the severe tapering of the CR-Z’s body section, which gives the car rear haunches over the rear wheels – nice!

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Engine Capacity 1497cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 10.4:1
Bore x Stroke (73 x 89.4)mm
Power 114bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 145Nm @ 4800rpm
Power to Weight 98.3 bhp per ton


Acceleration 9.9s (0-100 km/h)
Fuel Consumption (combined) 20.0 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Manual
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric


Body Type Coupe
(L x W x H)
(4080 x 1740 x 1395) mm
Wheelbase 2435 mm
Kerb Weight 1160 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 40 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs