By: Jason Woosey
While it's not fast by any stretch of the imagination, we still have a soft spot for Honda's little CR-Z coupé as it was the first car that taught us that hybrids don't have to be boring.
Now the updated model has hit the scene in South Africa and while it has improved in many areas, it's really a subtle evolution of what came before. That long-awaited performance version is still awaited, in other words.
Granted, there has been a small power increase, with ECU revisions to the 1.5-litre petrol engine raising its contribution from 84kW to 89kW. On the battery front, the previous 10kW nickel-metal hydride unit has been replaced by a more modern 15kW lithium ion battery.
When both are at their peak, the maximum outputs are now 101kW and 190Nm, which - Honda says - drops the 0-100km/h sprint time from 9.7 seconds to nine seconds flat. The top speed is listed at 200km/h.
Honda has also installed a little device that acts like an F1 KERS button. Press the new Plus Sport button on the steering wheel (available when the battery is more than 50 percent charged) and the battery gives you a ten-second power-boost under full throttle.
Despite its improved all-round performance, the CR-Z is still focused on economy and Honda claims it'll sip just 5.2 litres per 100km on the combined cycle and emit just 124g/km of CO2.
The new two-door also benefits from numerous subtle updates to the exterior, including a redesigned front bumper, more aerodynamic rear diffuser and brand new 17-inch alloys. There's also a new colour option, which Honda calls Premium Northern Lights Violet Pearl.
In addition, the CR-Z’s spruced up cabin now features leather seat upholstery and improved storage space.
The little Honda is all yours for a not-so-paltry sum of R332 800, which includes a five-year/90 000km service plan.