The Honda CR-Z of 2010-13 is a sporty little hybrid that still turns heads. Make that sporty-looking because the 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine and electric motor together muster just 122bhp.
Of course, this would be forgiven were the CR-Z an economy champ but the fact is that in Autocar’s hands it returned no more than 43mpg. But never mind. What the CR-Z lacks in outright pace and economy it makes up for with engaging handling characterised by strong grip and minimal body roll. Just don’t imagine you can let the whole family experience it: it’s a four-seat coupé but the rear cabin is a real squeeze.
The elephant in the room is the nickel-metal hydride battery and how long it has left. It may explain why so many CR-Zs have had multiple owners, keen to move on before the power light goes out. (A new battery costs £1000 plus fitting.)
In truth, hybrid battery exhaustion seems to be a rare thing, which is why we’ve put such concerns to one side in search of a promising CR-Z. We think we may have found it in this 2011/11- reg example with 82,000 miles and full Honda dealer history. Unusually for a CR-Z, it has had just two owners.
The first thing to check is that the battery warning light goes out after start-up. Then, on the test drive, we’ll ensure the three driver modes (Sport, Normal and Econ) work and the speedometer changes colour with our driving style. Back at base, we’ll check the battery charge level has gone up.
After that, it’s the usual stuff: checking the gearshift action, listening for suspension clonks and making sure the 12,500-mile service intervals have been followed.