Honda CR-Z: Great, But Mixed Messages

So, Team DailyXY didn’t win the urban scavenger hunt for cool posed by Honda Canada, introducing the very cute CR-Z and called CR-Zummer in the City.  But, given the members of the Burlington Temperance Society peopling the judging panel, we consider it a Pyrrhic loss.

It was a lot of fun, if awash in mixed messages. For instance, there was the challenge to find the city’s most impressive fashionista. DailyXY came in last, photographing Russell Smith behind the wheel. What!?

Apparently his decades-honed chops as a fashion author for The Globe & Mail (maybe you’ve heard of it?), plus author of Men’s Style: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Dress, are less impressive than twin 14-year olds eating ice cream. In another challenge, any guy who drives a fire truck is more hip than the very attractive singer from Abstract Random, Jamila.

I’m not bitter as much as confused, but am always confused, so what the heck. We had a good meal and a great day of driving!

The CR-Z’s a fantastic car: light, sexy, with magnifico easy shifting, and a tight sport mode that massages the spine better than donkey riding the Grand Canyon.

We had it for 6 hours and only put 65km on it. It was plenty. All city driving — shortcutting, cornering, bending and laughing hard. Distance won’t reveal performance half as fast as traffic.

It’s the first hybrid in North America with a stick shift. Cool. But speaking of mixed messages, creating a hybrid sports car? It’s a hybrid of an idea in the original sense of the word: having your environmental cake and burning it too. Can responsive and responsible really go in the same sentence? It’s awfully tempting to have fun behind its wheel — and in this case, fun doesn’t mean hyper-miling by drafting and coasting. I’ve said it before and will say it again (though I’m not paid by the word): ecology takes place primarily between the ears, not what you drive.

Still — and definitely still speaking of mixed messages — it was a great drive. If you get a chance to test the CR-Z, do it. Or if you want the first hybrid sportster, buy it. Retailing for under $25,000 (including hybrid technology) it’s built and priced to move fast!

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