While CarAdvice has already posted a review of the Honda CR-Z from our London based writer, there was no shortage of enthusiasm on the local front, for what is a very ‘cool’ petrol-electric hybrid sports car.
The petrol part of this collective powertrain is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder i-VTEC engine, which uses Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system to produce a combined power output of 91 kW and 174 Nm of torque.
Initially, the CR-Z will only be available with a six-speed manual gearbox although, the IMA system can be paired up with a range of other transmissions such as CVT or an auto box, perhaps.
The CR-Z sits surprisingly low to the ground, but I found ingress and egress to be perfectly comfortable.
The driving position is pure sport car style. You sit deep into the car and the steering wheel is in the perfect position, while the array of graphics and colours in the centre instrument dials are very ‘hip’ and form part of the 3-mode driving system.
Driver’s can choose between, NORMAL, ECON and SPORT, which triggers the speedometer to illuminate blue, green or red respectively.
Honda have gone to considerable efforts to make sure the driver can hear the exhaust note, by tuning the engine mounts and sound insulation so that a sporty exhaust note can be heard.
While the CR-Z maybe small and stylish, there is more than enough luggage space with its three-door hatch configuration, although it looks fairly tight for rear seat passengers.
It’s certainly a sleek looking unit, with its slightly raked roofline and features such as the split level rear glass and squared off tailgate, courtesy of the iconic Honda CR-X.
The CR-Z features LED daytime running lights and is the first production Honda to apply them.
Another first for a production Honda is a new Electric Power Steering control, which provides a more natural feel to the steering.
Another equally ‘cool’ product on display from Honda is an ingenious personal mobility device called the U3-X; “the world’s first driving system capable of 360 degree movement.
Weighing in at just under 10 kilograms and around 65 centimetres high, this little mobile seat will take you anywhere you want to go, just by leaning in the direction you require.
It’s absolutely remarkable how the U3-X manages to maintain perfect balance as the operator just leans slightly forward, back, side-to-side or diagonally, to move.
The ‘Hot Drive System’ is an omni-directional driving wheel system, which is essentially one large wheel made up of an in-line series of smaller motorised wheels, which can move in any direction.
It’s also an incredibly compact device with a foldable seat and retractable foot rests, all it needs now, is a telescopic umbrella for those rainy days.
Powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, which provides up to one hour of mobility, the unit can simply be recharged by plugging into a standard household power outlet.
Unfortunately, the U3-X is a concept device, despite the fact that there are a 1001 uses for this clever little mobility unit.
You can see U3-X in action, as well as the all-new CR-Z at the Honda stand at this year’s Australian International Motor Show.