Motor mouth: Honda's CR-Z S sports hybrid

The world's first 'sporty hybrid' passes the ultimate test of getting small boys excited - and that's all that counts.

by Sathnam Sanghera
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Ethnic gatherings are becoming bizarrely specific. Recently, I've been invited to host the Sikh Business Awards (and, in an indication of how Punjabis do business, the cheeky gits asked me to waive my fee), to speak at a charity dinner organised by Sikh supporters of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club, and been urged to attend the inaugural Birmingham to London Sikh Sports Car Mela. It's a kind of rally between Birmingham and Southall in which you pay £99 to enter a sports car and is being advertised as 'an opportunity for Sikhs to come together in their shared passion for Sikhi and sports cars'.

But it is actually a brilliant idea. There is a clear link between we Sikhs and motoring. As children, we spend so much time milling around aimlessly at weddings - the average one banging on for about the same time as the Korean War - that we are driven by sheer boredom into studying, discussing and fetishising the cars that ferry guests between venues. I fell in love with motoring at a wedding in 1988, when, having been driven half mad by listening to my uncles discussing mortgages for six hours, I went and stared at a Ford Granada in the car park instead. And the reason I know the Honda CR-Z is a success is the response it got when I used it to take my mother to a wedding at a Sikh temple in July.

The makers of the CR-Z want it to be the world's first 'sporty hybrid', the first green car that doesn't look like a supermarket trolley and offers 'true driving thrills thanks to an agile chassis, direct steering, a low driving position, useful boosts of torque from the petrol-electric drive train and a manual gearbox'. And the proof they have done this came in the form of a 10-year-old boy in a turban who approached me in the car park and remarked: 'The front is basically a Honda Civic and the back is a Prius, huh?' I nodded vaguely. 'Looks nice.'

Meanwhile, his dead-eyed friend added in a monotone: 'The CR-Z combines a 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine and the IMA system for excellent fuel economy and great emphasis on driver enjoyment. Not bad.'

Believe me, there can be no more expert opinion and no greater compliment.

Engine: 1.5 litre petrol-electric IMA (hybrid) Power 122 bhp
Torque: 128 lb ft @ 1,200 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Fuel: 26.5 mpg (combined cycle)
CO2: 117g/km
0-62: mph 9.9 seconds
Top speed: 124 mph

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