Words and photos: Nicolas Calanoc
With the Toyota 86 and Mazda MX-5 as competitors for the Entry-Level Japanese Sports Cars, people tend look at the Honda CR-Z differently. It’s a 1.5L Hybrid against 2.0L naturally aspirated engines. It’s front-wheel drive versus rear-wheelers. To top it off, it looks futuristic. Now I’m not here going to defend the CR-Z, because it is these differences that lead me to believe that it is the one to get out of the three.
Priced at PhP 1,560,000 for the 2-Tone tested and with the manual being PhP 1,440,000, that alone makes it the most affordable in its class. What you get out of it is a lot though: a black and orange interior with mix of leather and cloth, paddle shifters, a 7” touchscreen with navigation, hill-start assist, multi-view reverse camera with dynamic lines, and of course, safety like ABS, electric hand brake, airbags, and traction control. Versus the other two, that’s a lot of gadgets and gizmos already. And all these stuff aren’t gimmicks. The way they are all laid out on the dashboard and around are well done. The design of the instrument cluster may be loved or hated, but one thing is for sure: it is very intuitive to driving. As for cabin space, it is surprisingly roomy as far as the driver and front passenger are concerned. As for the rear passenger seats, I think it is best to keep them folded down for good to make more trunk space.
The Honda CR-Z is a front-wheel driven car, which will have people proclaiming that rear-wheel is the way to go. In our road conditions though, where traffic is everywhere and the only winding roads we have stretch only so far, the only place to fully utilize the dynamics of rear-wheel driven sports cars is on the track. With the CR-Z, you can have fun everywhere. With its humble power plant, you have a lot of room to feel like you are using most of the car. It may be a hybrid, but remember the hybrid system is more of an assist rather than a fuel saver. It will save a bit more fuel than usual, but don’t expect results comparable to hybrids that are meant to sip gas.
When the others are serious while doing their own thing, the Honda CR-Z takes it easy and remembers that it has to do everyday tasks as well. Among the three, it has the best and most equipment plus creature comforts. Among the three, it is also the most comfortable. And among the three, it presents the most bang for buck. Sure it may not be as fast or as serious, but cars such as the 2016 Honda CR-Z are what allow you to use the most out of the car while providing a genuinely fun car to drive. Isn’t that what sports cars are all about?
Engine: Inline-4, 1499 cc, sohc, 16V, i-VTEC, IMA, 7-Speed CVT
Max Power: 133 bhp @ 6,600 rpm
Max Torque: 126 lb ft @ 4,800 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 8.3 sec.
Top Speed: 161 km/h (100 mph)
Fuel Mileage: 16.7 km/L Overall
Price as Tested: PhP 1,560,000.00
+ Genuinely fun to drive anywhere, futuristic interior feel, infotainment system + navi
– Rear seats are really small and tight, the beam at the rear hatch obstructs the rear view.
C! Editor’s Rating: 9.5 / 10