Car Review: 2016 Honda CR-Z
L’articolo driving.ca originale in inglese testa l’ultima versione restyling 2016 della Honda CR-Z mai resa disponibile sul mercato Europeo, in attesa che anche sul mercato americano arrivi la Final Edition con cui si chiuderà la produzione del modello a fine 2016
It’s time for a requiem for Honda’s sharply styled, sporty CR-Z hybrid
Restyled and updated hybrid two-seater
Pros Sporty six-speed manual, nimble and quick, aggressive exterior design, fuel efficient
Cons No back seats
Value for money If you’re looking for a fun-to-drive, fuel efficient sports car, excellent value for money
What would I change? Install street-legal back seats
How I would spec it? One-size fits all, and I’d stick with the manual over the optional CVT
Colleagues of mine here at Driving often speculate as to which new models today will be the hot collectibles of tomorrow. With its sporty manual transmission, hybrid powerplant and boy-racer styling, don’t bet against the 2016 Honda CR-Z being a hot item at a Barrett-Jackson auction in, say, 2030.
Further enhancing its value is the fact this model year marks the last for the hybrid-powered two-seater, which debuted in 2010 as the ‘spiritual successor’ to the CR-X, incidentally a model that is today in high demand with collectors.
Honda announced the discontinuation of the CR-Z last month, citing anemic global sales and a renewed emphasis on two new electrified models – presumably the Accord and Clarity, the latter of which is not on sale in Canada. So, in reviewing the 2016 CR-Z, there’s a bit of finality to it all. Criticisms and suggestions for improvements for the next model year are somewhat pointless (not to suggest automakers take journalist’s recommendations to heart), so its really more an exercise on judging the car for what it is.
In this case, it’s a blast.
Cosmetic changes to the exterior give the hatch a wider and lower stance.
The only hybrid available in Canada with a manual gearbox — heck, one of the dwindling few vehicles of any sort to offer one — the CR-Z is the very embodiment of a factory-spec’d boy racer. It’s close-to-the-ground stature, short wheelbase and driver-oriented cockpit are a formula for spirited performance, and while a 130-horsepower output from the 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine might sound underwhelming, the reality is much closer to karting than go-carting. Much of that is thanks to the electric-motor assist of the hybrid system, ratcheting up the torque number of 140 lbs.-ft.
The hybrid powertrain also delivers excellent fuel economy, with a combined city/highway rating of 7.3 L/100 kilometres. Chose the optional continuously variable transmission and that figure improves to 6.8. Personally, I’d happily give up the half-litre in favour of shifting my own gears, thank you very much.
On the subject of the CVT, apart from floor mats, A-pillar decoration and a cupholder ashtray insert, it is the only option available on the 2016 CR-Z in Canada, which comes fully loaded as a Premium Package trim. And yes, that means only one colour choice: Ivory Pearl on the outside, black leather inside.
The CVT transmission adds $1,300 to the price of the base $26.290, and torque drops from 140 to 127. The bright side is that CVT-equipped cars come with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters.
For 2016 there is a host of new updates, all standard. Cosmetically, the exterior has been sharpened, from the blade-like front diffuser through the full-flared side garnishes and back to the wider-stanced rearend. Updated swept five-spoke design alloy wheels provide pronounced accents to the new chiseled body.
New brushed metal accents throughout the cockpit give the CR-Z a futuristic feel.
Inside, new brushed metallic finishes give the cabin a futuristic feel, while an all-new centre console provides more storage and an improved armrest for front-seat occupants. ‘Front-seat’ occupants is a bit of a misnomer, as the lack of rearseats mean the only place to sit is up front. As I said in my review of the 2015 CR-Z, the lack of rear seats — and yes, admittedly, they would be a tight fit for the vast majority of passengers — has most likely persuaded would-be buyers to go down the street and buy a Hyundai Veloster.
Other new features include an electric parking brake – the lack of the old mechanical one allowed designers to create that clever new centre console – as well as smart-key entry, push-button start, heated leather seats and a seven-inch colour touchscreen for audio, navigation and display features, including the new-to-the-CR-Z Honda LaneWatch. That system features a passenger-side mirror-mounted camera that displays the vehicles blind spot on the screen when the right turn signal is activated. Sounds like a gimmick but it actually is very useful. Cargo space is decent, particularly with the ‘rear seat’ backs folded flat, and driver and passenger space is massive.
When we reported the end of the CR-Z in North America after this year, year-to-date Canadian sales were just 17 units. That’s a shame given the fun-to-drive attributes, sexy styling and tech-laden features of this hot-hatch hybrid.
But it’s also more reason that one of these is sure to roll across that Barrett-Jackson stage in Scottsdale in a decade-and-a-half and command a pretty penny. On that occasion, there’ll be a tentful of onlookers muttering under their breath, ‘I knew I should have bought one and stuck it in the garage …’
This five-spoke design is new for the alloy wheels.
Type of vehicle
Front-wheel-drive sport compact hatchback
1.5-litre four-cylinder w/integrated motor assist
130 hp, 140 lb.-ft. of torque
ABS with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution
Price: Base / As Tested
Natural Resources Canada Fuel Economy
(L/100km) 7.9 city, 6.5 highway
Fuel Economy: 8