Good fun, but it's not that comfortable and not that refined
Funky design but dash is confusing and visibility is awful
Five-star crash test result is reassuring; stability control and active whiplash-minimising headrests are standard
Honda has a good track record so we're confident you won't be on first name terms with your local breakdown outfit
Think of it as a two-seater and you won't be disappointed. Don't try putting people in the back, though
All cars get generous standard equipment; upgrade for alloy pedals, a panoramic glass roof and automatic lights and wipers
The CR-Z's 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor may produce just 122bhp but, thanks to the car's light weight, acceleration is pretty good. Well arranged gearing helps you keep things on the boil, too. The hybrid system works smoothly and the gearshift is slick, but the amount of wind and road noise you hear hampers the car's overall refinement. The engine can also get a little raucous when you rev it. The CR-Z's minimal body roll and very responsive steering mean it has an agile, darty feel. The flipside, though, is that the steering feels slightly nervous on the motorway and the low-speed ride is very firm.
The CR-Z's cabin has futuristic look but it's pretty easy to get to grips with: the backlit dials are easy to read and the simple control pods are within easy reach. Most of the plastics are hard to the touch but they still look smart and appealing. There's decent space up front and the driving position is good, However, the seats don't have enough adjustment and the angular tailgate design absolutely obliterates your rear view. Head- and legroom are extremely limited in the back, too, meaning hthe rear seats are best reserved for bags. The boot isn't particularly big, either, but it's a useful shape and the rear seats fold completely flat to increase the load area. There's also plenty of oddment storage in the cabin. The entry-level S car includes climate control, heated door mirrors and electric windows, while Sport adds parking sensors, cruise control and a multi-function steering wheel. GT cars also get leather upholstery, heated front seats, a panoramic glass roof, plus automatic xenon lights and wipers.
Honda tends to perform strongly in our reliability and customer satisfaction surveys and the CR-Z feels like a thoroughly well engineered car, with a solid interior. Every CR-Z comes with front, side and curtain airbags, as well as active front head restraints and an array of driver aids to lessen the chance of an impact in the first place. It's no surprise, then, that the CR-Z achieved a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. Deadlocks and an alarm help protect against theft.
If individual styling, fun driving characteristics and low running costs are more important to you than practicality, the CR-Z is definitely worth considering. It's reasonably priced (which is a good job as dealer discounts are small) and the hybrid powertrain averages a very decent 56.6mpg. CO2 emissions of 117g/km mean tax bills are low, while the CR-Z also holds its value pretty well. However, bear in mind that some diesel rivals enjoy considerably better fuel economy.