As the owner of a Subaru with close to 250,000kms on the clock, getting the chance to drive a car that doesn't make strange noises when you turn into a parking space or smell like a squash court is something of a novelty for me. Driving Audis around Hampton Downs at high speed (RIP pukeko) was certainly a helluva lot of fun, so when I was given the opportunity to take Honda's new hybrid CR-Z coupe for a hoon, I decided to give it a nudge. And the kind folks at Honda are keen to offer one StopPress reader a hoon as well.
During my formative years, I remember my insurance broker father warning me not to get into a CR-X, which shares some similarities to the CR-Z, because they had a tendency to roll. Not a particularly good feature in a car, obviously. But that seems to have been taken care of, as it's now got a five star safety rating in Australia and recently took Wheels Magazine’s Car of the Year 2011, beating the Volkswagen Scirocco, Audi A6, Ford Focus, Range Rover Evoque and Skoda Yeti (if you like your brmmm brmmms, get a copy of the latest issue of NZ Marketing here to find out who's got their foot on the gas in the local automotive market).
“The CR-Z takes the car where it should be going… smaller, lighter, more efficient, more fun,” the judges swooned. “A revelation! Handles fast stuff with great stability and changes direction no fuss at all.”
Technically, it's a sports car, so driving it around this past week has given me a glimpse into what my looming mid-life crisis might feel like. And, perhaps adding to that feeling, it's got a seemingly pointless fin on top, something I've always thought of as a slightly more upper-class version of the spoiler. But, on the plus side, as it's a hybrid, it appeals to my cheap side. And with a surprisingly peppy six-speed engine, it also appeals to my boganic Invercargill heritage.
So, if you want to win a CR-Z (*you've been asterisked, because it's only for a week) and get behind a dashboard that looks a little bit like a Japanese gameshow, come up with a slogan for it. Extra points if it's a jingle.