Used Car

These Honda CR-Zs are no longer for sale here.

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Contents -

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.

En­gine

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.

driv­ing im­pres­sions

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.

Ver­dict

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

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