The Honda CR-Z was billed as the world’s first production hybrid sports car. And it wasn’t.
But it left as big an impression on me as anything else I drove in 2010, mainly as I was expecting little and it delivered a lot. Sports car performance? No, it’s barely a warm hatch. For me, it’s best as a nippy city runaround: it feels light, agile and nimble and the electric motor gives a noticeable – and useful - boost when nipping in and out of gaps.
And while its round, oddly bloated looks of the production car are a world away from the sharp creases of the concept, it still stands out and I’m a big fan of its futuristic interior.
I’ve run two long-term hybrids in the past 12 months: Honda’s own Insight, and the Toyota Prius. Both have helped build up a reputation for hybrids as dull; economical, but not something you’d ever have fun in.
And it’s the CR-Z that’s helping to change that, and opens up a side to hybrids that other manufacturers – including Volkswagen – are looking to develop, by using electric motors to boost power, not merely to improve economy.
And if you’re not sold on hybrids, then you’ll be pleased to hear there’s a 200bhp turbocharged petrol-only version on its way…