So I had an opportunity to take the Honda CR-Z out for a drive this morning 2 weeks before it goes on sale in South Africa and just wanted to post some of the pictures here and mention a few points about the car. I currently drive the Civic Type-R Euro so I am quite used to driving a Honda but there were still some surprises with the CR-Z.
Firstly it is a Hybrid and to be honest I expected it to be a a typical hybrid but in reality the Honda CR-Z is far from average, it has everything I love about Honda. It maintains the futuristic interior and dashboard we have gotten used to with the Civics while offering a lot of practical features. The most noticeable feature being the 3 driving modes, the CR-Z can operate in Economy Mode which really does feel like economy and is only really suitable for bumper to bumper or long distance driving. The Normal mode operates like a normal car while balancing economy and performance while the sports mode ignores all the economy features and lets you open the engine up a bit.
The 3 modes are represented by and color changing ring on the dashboard which will be either green, blue or red. The ring also changing colour to indicate your economy as a driver and will turn turquoise if you are driving the car a little too hard while in economy mode. This is all made a little easier with a area of the dash which indicates when you should shift gears up or down. (Hybrid with a Manual transmission is progress in my opinion).
One of the most interesting features on the dashboard is an area which grows little trees as you save the environment by driving economically, those trees get destroyed if you drive the car hard. Bit of a gimmick in some ways but still fun to play with. Other interesting features include the engine auto stop when the car is in neutral which is a bit strange at first but once you realise that it starts the engine instantly when you put the car in gear it does not bother you as much and of course the hill start assist which gives you 0.9 seconds to move you foot from the brake pedal to the petrol on pull off eliminating the need for using the handbrake.
In any event you are not here for the technical specifications and feature run down, if you wanted that you would get it from Honda. So here are some of the pictures I took.
If you are wondering the price of the Honda CR-Z in South Africa will be R299999 making it the cheapest Hybrid available in South Africa but I think many people will still be waiting for the Jazz Hybrid which is due in the first quarter of 2011.