On price and looks alone, the Honda CR-Z car has strong appeal. Never mind that it looks a little less dramatic than the concept; it’s still a head-turner. It’s also an intriguing drive, because you can feel the effects of the electrical assistance, and because those eye-catching instruments that tutor you in harvesting kinetic energy are fun to use.
In Sport mode the driving experience is modestly diverting, especially for a coupé that can make a strong case for itself as an eco commuter car. It handles better than you might expect from an eco-friendly coupé, turning in well with strong grip and minimal body roll, helped by a low centre of gravity. Performance feels a little stilted, but it can still be fun.
You shouldn’t expect any coupé to offer much in the way of practicality and that’s certainly the case with the CR-Z. In spite of a decent boot, only two people will be comfortable for any amount of time – the rear seats are best reserved for luggage. And while the kit list is extensive, the quality of the interior is more akin to the entry-level price than the considerably pricier GT models.
The CR-Z is not quite the miniature driver’s tool that the second-gen CR-X was; nor does it have quite the fuel-sipping potential of an eco-optimised diesel supermini. But it’s different, stylish and engaging in unusual ways that are difficult to resist, especially at pricing that’s pretty keen for such a distinctive and technically advanced car.