Test - Honda CR-Z: not bad, but nice

After the small family Insight II, an affordable but disappointing hybrid for driving enthusiasts, Honda offers a small coupe developed on a similar basis, which it describes as sporty. With its manual gearbox, a beefier thermal engine and a refined cycle part, does the CR-Z succeed in really reconciling pleasure at the wheel and economy at the pump?



First hybrid coupe on our markets if we forget the confidential career in Europe of  the first generation Insight (1999), the CR-Z will be marketed in France from June 5, 2010. Honda presents it as a 2 + 2 sports coupe, combining the advantages of a hybrid vehicle, clean and economical, with those of a gearbox. six-speed manual speeds. It joined the niche of small pleasure cars of less than 130 horsepower, a market estimated in France at around 60,000 registrations per year. Honda hopes to sell its coupe in Europe to 20,000 copies in a full year and 1,500 here. Which would not be bad if we consider that sales of hybrid models in France did not reach 10,000 units in 2009 (including a little over 1,600 Insight2 and almost four times more Prius 2 and 3), representing at barely 0.43% of overall new car sales.

Test - Honda CR-Z: not bad, but nice

A line that is both "friendly" and aggressive, very close to the concept presented in Geneva in 2007, the small CR-Z coupe takes up some details of the  CRX de 1983 et de l’indémodable de deuxième génération (1988) comme la double vitre de hayon et et la ligne de toit -qui culmine à moins de 1,40 mètre du sol- descendant en pente douce. Si le nouvel opus risque de se vieillir plus vite, il suscitait un vif intérêt à Nice comme dans les villages du Haut Var traversés lors de notre essai. Toutefois, le style a obligé les concepteurs à quelques compromis. Le capot plongeant n’a pas permis d’installer le plus performant des VTEC qui rehausse la culasse de quelques centimètres. Du coup, il emprunte un moteur 1.5 litres des Jazz/Fit commercialisé au Japon et aux USA au rendement moindre que celui des moteurs 1.2 et 1.4 à calage variable et contrôle de la levée des soupapes de la Jazz distribuée en Europe. Autre désagrément, le traité stylistique entre les portières et la poupe est sans doute séduisant, mais de l’intérieur, il participe d’une vision 3/4 arrière déplorable. Du côté droit, malgré le rétroviseur à double courbure, on en est réduit à prier pour espérer qu’aucun véhicule ne se trouve dans le champ occulté. Pourquoi ne pas avoir adopté un détecteur d’angle mort comme sur la http://hondaciviccar.com/  for example? Less objectionable for a coupe barely over 4.08 m long, rear roominess is reduced to nothing for the legs if the size of the occupants in the front exceeds 1.80 meters. This is all the more excusable as the length of the CR-Z is twenty centimeters less than the Peugeot RCZ, whose bench is hardly more welcoming. Let's also move on to the trunk capacity limited to 214 liters (+ 19 l in the deep but narrow compartment under the floor) which becomes more than enough for two people when we sacrifice the use of the rear seats with 382 liters, or 401 liters if we count the space under the floor.


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