These Honda CR-Zs are no longer for sale here.
Price new: P1,530,000 (1.5 CVT) Price now: P800,000-P1,200,000 (est.) Engine: 1.5-liter iVTEC DOHC I4 + IMA Hybrid Assist Transmission: Continuously Variable Power: 133hp @ 6,600rpm Torque: 171Nm @ 2,800rpm Estimated economy: 8-12km/L (city); 22km/L (highway) History
Launched in 2010, but only debuting locally late in 2013, the CR-Z was the long-delayed successor to the iconic CR-X liftback of the ’80s. But where the original CR-X was a pared-down hot hatch based on the Civic of the time, sharing that car’s dual wishbone suspension and buzzy D-series and Bseries “VTEC” engines, the CR-Z was based on the Honda Jazz, and shared its workaday L-series 1.5, bolstered by a mild hybrid system, giving it 133hp as opposed to the Jazz’s 118hp.
This quirky amalgam of sports hatch and hybrid sold moderately well in other markets, but found few buyers locally compared to bigger, more powerful sports cars. With sales discontinued, however, there are already a number of these on the used car market for those looking for something quirky, exotic and fun.
Value and costs
When it launched locally in 2013, the CR-Z started at P1.39 million for the “base” model with manual transmission. Load up with goodies from the Mugen parts bin and you could wind up paying nearly P2 million for one. Which is slightly nuts for a car that shares its basic bones with a Honda Jazz! There are few listed for sale at the moment, with prices ranging from P800,000 to P1.2 million. We reckon you’d pay a tad bit more for a late 2016 model like the yellow one featured here, however.
Most Honda suppliers won’t be carrying parts for the CR-Z, but it shares a lot of items, such as oil and air filters, with other Honda products Honda Jazz brake pads should fit (bring a sample to be sure), but while the suspensions are superficially identical, the CR-Z uses different damper and spring rates and heights which makes cheaping out on suspension bits a bad idea. Thankfully, the CR-Z is quite reliable. Even the batteries have proven more robust than the earlier Honda hybrids thanks to an improved energy management software.
Exterior and interior
The CR-Z looks like no other car on the road. Except perhaps the Hyundai Veloster, which debuted a year after the Honda. But where the Veloster is a fluidic, long-and-low GT, the CR-Z is a brutally sharp and compact shape. Slashing lines and Z-shaped motifs abound. The rear hatch has a split window that allows it to terminate vertically, a nod to the CR-X liftback of old. This facelifted 2016 car features LED running lights, “blades” on the front and rear bumper, and a blacked-out roof.
On the inside, the CR-Z does a good job of justifying its price premium over the Jazz. Materials feel higher quality than competitors from Toyota and Hyundai, and the touchscreen that comes with the facelift is a nice update from the 2013 car. The driver-centric pod configuration is a neat retrofuturistic callback to the CR-X. While
the supportive, low-slung driver’s seat might be an ergonomic delight, the cramped rear bench—with footwells too small for even size eight shoes—is best reserved for groceries.
The 1.5 liter L15 in the CR-Z may be willing to rev, but mated to the continuously variable transmission, performance never rises beyond lukewarm. The 10 second 0-100kph time is a second and a half quicker than the Honda Jazz, but requires several prods of the Sport+ button, which unleashes full assist from the hybrid electric motor in five second bursts. When the battery pack is depleted, the CR-Z takes a second longer to hit the mark.
In normal driving, the hybrid assist helps make the CR-Z feel peppier than your common subcompact. Enthusiasts will prefer the crisp-shifting manual transmission, though it isn’t much faster. Both variants are capable of well over 20km/L on the highway and double digits in traffic, though the small battery pack only allows for around two or three minutes of engine-off operation in traffic.
The CR-Z might not be the quickest sports hatch or the most frugal of hybrids, but on the right backroads, it’s a revelation to drive. The electric power steering is perfectly calibrated, with precise action and a tactility all-toooften missing from modern Hondas (except the Type-R, of course). Turn-in is crisp, and a neutral balance and firm brakes allow you to tackle mountain roads with gusto. In the everyday grind, however, the CR-Z’s middling visibility and low-slung ride height compromise it, but these flaws are easy to forgive.
The CR-Z may have suffered slow sales when it was new, but secondhand, this stylish and quirky liftback is surprisingly affordable and an entertaining alternative to a Mini Cooper.
And much more reliable, to boot.
It’s sad that it isn’t sold here anymore