The Honda CR-Z has a 112bhp 1.5-litre engine, and an electric motor which produces 14bhp for a total power output of 122bhp and 128lb ft of torque.

The electric motor generates its 58lb ft torque peak at just 1000rpm; it strengthens acceleration in the same way as a supercharger, Honda says, to produce an unusually flat torque curve.

Richard Bremner Autocar

Richard Bremner

Senior contributing editor
The CR-Z's drag co-efficient is 0.30, but the 1999 Insight’s was 0.25 Cd

The CR-Z’s 1.5-litre petrol engine is a VTEC unit derived from the US-market Fit (aka Jazz), but here it’s configured to allow one intake valve to be deactivated at low revs for more fuel-saving swirl. It is linked to a modified version of the Honda Civic six-speed manual ’box, with a short-throw shift.  

Honda experienced some difficulty making the CR-Z’s bonnet look as low and sleek as it wanted, while meeting pedestrian impact regulations. The huge black section in front of windscreen deftly reduces the bonnet’s visual area.

European CR-Zs get daytime running lights consisting of eight LEDs and emphasising the rearward sweep of the headlights. Blue-hued xenons are standard for GT spec.

You get a wiper for the near-horizontal upper rear screen, but the CR-X-echoing vertical pane soon gets dusted with dirt — and the horizontal beam separating the two is very visible in the rear-view mirror.

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A rear diffuser hides the exhaust, which exits meekly beneath the plastic and can be seen only if you duck down to look. The diffuser’s plastic contains aluminium flakes to give some metallic presence to the rear.

The CR-Z’s low nose, long roof and vertically cut tail are all designed to lower drag. The CR-Z's drag co-efficient is 0.30, but the 1999 Insight’s was 0.25 Cd.

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