By on March 10, 2010

The first videos of the Honda CR-Z lapping Suzuka have surfaced, and they’re about as exciting as C-Span after a handful of Valium. And this is apparently a tuned version. Between this and the recent pre-launch equivocation by the CR-Z’s chief engineer, our expectations for Honda’s Insight Coupe couldn’t get much lower [via Autoblog].

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12 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: CR-Z DOA? Edition...”

  • avatar

    Is this footage from Top Gear’s Celebrity in a reasonably priced car? All that’s missing are the bleeps for random expletives.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    The CR-Z really just needed a MUCH bigger electric motor and a battery pack which could supply the current (by just being more parallel).

    Something like the CR-Z with a 100hp electric motor coupled to the gas motor? Hot second: off the line torque and throttle response would be wonderful, and big electric motors aren’t any less efficient than small ones, so there would really be only a minor weight penalty and no other cost with giving it some real thrust.

    But with the weenie-electric IMA? No F-in way.

  • avatar

    About a 2:50 lap. I can’t really think of anything else worth mentioning.

  • avatar

    Woo-hoo, slap a fart can on that baby and sign me up!

  • avatar

    I was the only person in the world (besides Honda PR people and, most likely, Toyota PR people) excited about this car… until I saw this. This has to be one of the most tepid hot laps I’ve seen. The car had some promise of being a nimble and sprightly FWD-er, but this video makes it clear that it is a rehash of the first generation Insight. Not a bad thing, but sold on the wrong isle.

  • avatar

    Honda, for all it’s engineering prowess, doesn’t “get” hybrids any better than GM did, and it seems like their own arrogance is getting in the way.

    This will be about the third or fourth time that they’ve taken a crack at the market and every single product up to and including the CR-Z has been What some hotshot at Honda thinks the market wants versus what the market will actually buy. Near as I can figure, this is the same behaviour that lead to Honda’s other misfires (the Ridgeline, the Element). None of these have been bad cars, but they’re cars without a market.

    Meanwhile, you get Toyota, which designed a hybrid not on the basis of what their engineers thought the customer would like, but what would be most acceptable to a wider buying public. As such, out went engineering theory about how IMA is simpler, easier to shoehorn in and theoretically more robust, how you could use hybrid power as a kind of electric supercharger, or people would value performance over ride comfort and space.

    The second-generation Insight was tacit admission that Honda was wrong, but even then there was reluctance; the CR-Z was yet another engineering playtoy. It really makes me suspect that when Honda gets it right it’s more often by chance. Not that, say, Toyota doesn’t have moments of insanity (FJ Cruiser, anyone?) but they’re generally niche experiments.

    • 0 avatar

      I get that the Element missed it’s intended target market by being too expensive. But other than being priced out of reach of the Mountain Dew commercial set, how has it been a failure?

      Why does Honda keep trying to make hybrids into performance cars? The market has repeatedly shown that hybrid buyers are into efficiency and could care less sporty pretension. And yet here they are making the same mistake over again with a sports car/hybrid mash-up that does neither well.

    • 0 avatar

      This should be unpopular here.

      The Element was a good vehicle – it was just too boxy looking for those people who can’t get past the looks of something. It had decent soft road capability. In fact it is one of the best vehicles for dogs or muddy children b/c of the ease of cleaning it. It got decent fuel mileage (mid 20’s), handled like a car for being so tall and boxy, and was great in snow. I used to own one with a 5 speed and awd. Used it for camping and even took some nasty trails in it.

      Unfortunately most people here (Internet Opinionists) judge a book by its cover from pictures and video on the internet. As a racer and high performance driving instructor – I’ve been in quite a few “slow” cars (according to people here) that were fun to drive b/c I actually experienced it and not looked at a 0-60 stat. I also have video of races I was in with a 100hp car that was fun to drive but seemed like slow motion to the casual observer – I was driving the wheels off that car in reality. I think some people need to get off their high horses and stop racing statistics.

  • avatar

    Reading through the Autoblog article comments, one commenter said the CR-Z lapped the track 2:52. He said that’s the same time as a Mercedes E350 and two seconds behind an NSX. Is that a bad thing?

    Could it be “hybrid hate” is playing a role in everyone dumping on this car?

    • 0 avatar

      Good call – this track is exceptionally long (3.6 miles), and I’m guessing this car is in stock trim without so much as sticky tires.

      Here’s a Mk1 Miata running 2:55 on the Suzuka circuit. I suppose it’s time for pundits to bash Mazda for making a whimpy car?

    • 0 avatar

      Excellent point! I still maintain that this video is a snoozefest, but I would love for this to turn out to be the best hybrid (in terms of driving pleasure) on the market.

  • avatar

    Guys, I drive a CVT Nissan Note, on dry day I have to double check that I am in D position instead of neutral, because even on flat roads, gravity seems to provide more acceleration than the engine. I have driven shopping carts at the supermarket that were more exciting to drive. I’d take that car anyday…

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