Quote Of The Day: You Have Got To Be Kidding Me Edition
The “First Drive” is one of the perennial stumbling blocks of automotive journalism. In return for exclusive access to the latest, most-hyped automobiles that everyone wants to get their hands on, outlets like Edmunds Inside Line are asked to swath their “First Drive” write-up in the most glowing terms possible. Or, as we’ve put it before, the price of an exclusive story is a straight face. Unfortunately the results of this kind of compromise are difficult to read with straight face. We’ve seen no better example of this than I nside Line’s recent “First Drive” of the Honda CR-Z, which yielded such unfortunate lines as:
The CR-Z is like a Tesla Roadster, but without the $109,000 price tag.
You know, besides having a different powertrain driving different wheels, a huge performance disparity, and, well, everything else.
Besides the glaringly obvious issues with IL’s verdict, what other indications do we have that this “First Drive” is less than entirely truthful? How about lines like:
Honda claims only a 97-pound reduction in weight from the Insight sedan.
Just like the Insight, the 2011 Honda CR-Z features a parallel hybrid system with an electric motor powered by nickel-metal hydride batteries. The motor is rated by Honda at 13 hp, and some complicated calculations by the engineers (don’t ask) lead Honda to rate the combined output of the CR-Z’s powertrain at 122 hp at 6,000 rpm and 128 pound-feet of torque at 1,000-1,500 rpm (123 pound-feet when equipped with the optional CVT)… Once you bring the engine to life, you’ll recognize the uninspiring clatter. But when you select a gear from the six-speed manual, your frame of reference shifts along with the gears, as this tight, precise, short-throw linkage makes you think of the CR-X… We also tried the 2011 Honda CR-Z with its optional continuously variable transmission (CVT), and even with the slightly detuned engine (111 hp; 106 lb-ft of torque) required in this configuration, the car still accelerates briskly and smoothly.
We’re pretty sure that Tesla Roadsters don’t fire up with an “uninspiring clatter.” Still, we’d be willing to allow the reference if there were a single line that inspired belief in the claim that the CR-Z should be compared to Lotus Elise-based EV sportscars. Instead we get this:
This Fit-based 1.5 is no sports-car engine and starts to get loud at around 5,000 rpm. Keep the hammer down and all too soon you find the engine stuttering as it hits the ignition cutout at 6,500 rpm. Worked hard, the engine sounds flat and hard — not exciting at all. And when you’re on the limit rather than just pushing along, the CR-Z gives in to soggy, plowing understeer, and the body rolls over in distress. And a few hot runs up and down the hills soon had the brakes smoking. Yikes.
By the time you get to this portion, however, you’ve already given Inside Line its much-desired (and hardly well-earned) unique traffic. Which makes you part of the problem. You might have to wait a little longer for the TTAC review, but rest assured it will be a lot more informative and, well, truthful. Which means you probably shouldn’t hold your breath for too many Tesla Roadster comparisons.
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