By Mathieu Yuill
In 1991 my baseball coach had a Honda CR-X Si. The sunroof popped up and back off the roof, had seating for just two and was light, nimble and quick. I loved it and dreamed of owning the limited edition, in yellow.
Fast-forward almost 20 years and Honda has introduced the CR-Z - a coupe powered by a gas-electric hybrid powertrain. Even though Honda has made mention that this is the rebirth of the CR-X, sadly it is not. This is not to say the CR-Z is a bad car - far from it - but the two are significantly different. If you're looking to relive the glory days of the early '90s it would be better to pop Ghost into the Betamax, put on some Air Jordan high top sneakers and pump MC Hammer's U Can't Touch This.
The cockpit features more gadgetry than a Future Shop. There are blue, red, green and orange lights all over the dash and buttons for everything. An information display on the lower right of the instrument panel gives you live data on your fuel consumption and battery use. (Every car should have instantaneous fuel data available as it provides instant feedback regarding how much fuel your particular driving habits consume.)
On the left side of the dash are three buttons: Eco, normal and sport. Eco and normal seemed to do the same thing. Driving was mundane and I was able to keep fuel consumption just south of 8 L/100 km. The sport mode brought a noticeable difference. Steering was lighter and more responsive to input. Acceleration seemed peppier and the shifter seems to will it's place to the next gear effortlessly.
The CR-Z is a two-seater, reminiscent of the original Honda Insight, and shares some obvious visual cues with the current version. Rear visibility is less than stellar: the hatch is dissected right in the middle by a thick bar that blocks most of the car behind you. The good news is, because of the hatch design there is plenty of room for your everyday needs.
While the CR-Z isn't a reincarnated CR-X it does make for a great second car option. Starting at $23,490 and being frugal with fuel, it could find a place in your commuting heart.
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