As my landlady braces herself for the request from her teenager to take driving lessons, I thought it might be neighbourly to look out for some options to ease the pain, one of which was to find out about the Motability Leasing Scheme which he will be legible for.
With this in mind last week I saw an Ad on Facebook offering test drives in the Honda CR-Z and pressed some buttons filled in a form and booked a test drive with Bristol Honda (South) on the Bath Road which was to take place less than 48 hours later.
Steve the Sales Executive phoned me up the next day to confirm the appointment and at the appointed hour I showed up handed over my drivers license for copying and we discussed how Motorbility worked and I was given a useful information pack which my Landlady has found most useful and has allayed many fears regarding her sons coming of age.
One of Steve’s colleagues thoughtfully brought the CR-Z I was to test round for me to have a look at and I was impressed with what I saw, the profile is reminiscent of the CRX models of the 1980’s, but all similarities cease thereafter.
The CR-Z is a billed as a Low Emissions High Exhiliration hybrid with a 112hp petrol engine and an 14 hp electric motor powered by batteries that are charged using an energy recovery system that uses the heat from the brake discs each time they are used. This is similar to the kind of technology that is mandatory in Formula One these days.
In the UK the CR-Z is available in 5 different colours with 3 different levels of trim S, Sport and GT, the model featured here has the unique to the £18,735 (otr) Sport model privacy glass at the rear and fabric upholstery trim combination.
Once I had entered the CR-Z my immediate sensation was one of security as my Marblehead acquaintance Red Farmer might have observed I was sitting in a ‘cage’, a safety cage that is and that is good when compared to one city car that I have driven this year. Despite the fact that the CR-Z is a two plus dog only automobile I had no feeling of claustrophobia, in fact the exact opposite I felt as comfortable sitting in the CR-Z as I do in my Landladies German estate / station wagon.
Being the first time I had ever driven a Hybrid I was not at all too sure what to expect, it turns out that driving a CR-Z is pretty much like driving any other kind of car, electronics deal with the management of the two power sources, you can preset the electronics for economy, normal and sport modes of performance and I certainly noticed the difference in the acceleration between the different modes. I understand that uniquely among hybrids the CR-Z is the only one available with manual transmission, and in this instance it’s a super smooth six speed.
Over the course of the couple of miles I drove the car I was not able to discern how the car handles but I did observe the suspension felt reassuringly secure and that the steering felt as good as any I have ever experienced, reassuringly direct without being in anyway twitchy and it gave a good feeling for what was going on between the front wheels and the road.
Overall I was very impressed and I’d love to drive one of these models some more, particularly I’d be interested in doing some like for like tests between the Economy, Normal and Sport modes, ever since I first drove a Mk 1 Golf GTi with a fuel economy gauge I have been as fascinated with the fuel consumption I can achieve on a long journey as I have with journey time.
On the strength of what I experienced I’d have no hesitation recommending the CR-Z to anybody who regularly drives in an urban environment or has to regularly negotiate heavy traffic, as I would any car that attracts a zero rate road tax.
My thanks to Steve and everybody at Honda Bristol (South) who made my visit real a pleasure.
Thanks for joining me on this hybrid edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !
PS Don’t forget …
Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz
Win a set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards
Set 1 Sports & GT Cars
Set 2 Phil Hill World Drivers Championship 50th Anniversary Edition
Set 3 1934 Season
Set 4 Grand Prix Engines of the 1950’s
Set 5 Mike Hawthorn’s Race Cars
The Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will comprise 8 categories.
Overall winner chooses one set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards from the five sets shown above.
The cards measure 15.24cm x 11.43cm, come in packs of 12 with 3 copies of 4 designs in each set, plus A6 envelopes.
Which set will you choose ?
The free to enter Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will run from December 26th – January 2nd Entries close January 8th 2012, Winner announced January 16th 2012.