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Haynes’ World: Honda CR-Z joins the fleet!

Haynes World

Haynes' World is a regular feature that takes a look at what the staff at Haynes are doing with their cars, bikes and other vehicles. This time, Euan Doig reveals his latest acquisition: a Honda CR-Z.

Honda CR-Z

Car: 2012 Honda CR-Z

Owner: Euan Doig

Don’t get me wrong – I still love my Monaro (even though it let me down in fine style a while back, but that’s another story). The 5.7 litres of unstressed V8 never fail to raise a smile. But y’know, it’s a sad day when I need to check my credit rating every time I visit the petrol pump. And the car shows no sign of ‘reading the room’ and curtailing its thirst. Something had to be done.

Step forward my new Honda CR-Z. Oh yes. It’s a 1.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid, and over the past couple of months it has averaged 4.7l/100km. Bring on plenty more of that, please.

I love how it drives, too. Hybrids often have a reputation for being like automotive cucumber – kind of good for you but utterly bland. Not so the CR-Z, which gets off the line briskly enough, has super-sharp steering and handles very neatly.

When it came out it was the world’s first hybrid with a manual gearbox, and that shift is a cracker. This all makes it good fun as well as being economical, so the Monaro hasn’t moved for a while (although just starting it and letting it warm through still uses plenty of unleaded!).

Sadly, the CR-Z didn't exactly go down a storm here in Australia; Honda sold only a few hundred of them before throwing in the towel, so they're a rare sight on the used market.

Tailgate strut Honda CR-Z

Fitting new tailgate struts

I’ve only had two issues with the CR-Z so far. The tailgate struts were a touch weary, so lifting the rear hatch required a bit of effort, and shutting required no effort at all. My girlfriend likes to make sure the boot is properly shut, and I began to fear for the integrity of the rear window.

So, two new struts were ordered from SGS Engineering of Derby. They arrived a few days later, and a matter of 15 minutes later they were on the car. All I needed was a long stick to prop up the tailgate and a small screwdriver to prise out the mounting clips on the old struts. Easy peasy, and now my tailgate glass is no longer at risk.

Autoglym Active Insect Remover

The other issue is the colour. Why oh why did I go for white? Yup, it looks great when clean, but a couple of long trips covered the front end and mirror caps in bugs. Seemingly millions of them. 

Would they shift? Would they heck. Hot water and a sponge just wouldn’t cut it, so off I traipsed to Halfords, where I purchased a bug-remover sponge and some Autoglym Active Insect Remover. Boom – the dead bugs didn’t stand a chance. A quick spray with the remover, then a good rub with the insect sponge and the front bumper was no longer the site of a bug horror scene.

So, roll on cheaper motoring. And it’s just as well I bought some Autoglym Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner at the same time, because the Monaro has gathered rather a lot of dust lately.