Honda CR-Z Standing Start Acceleration Test Impressions

When I had the CR-Z 6MT for full review, I did as as complete a series of tests on it as I can and one of the tests was the standing start acceleration. While not perfect, the 0-60mph or 0-100kph are still widely used by car enthusiasts as an indicator of a car's straight line performance capability and when used sensibly, do provide a good benchmark for comparison between different vehicles. I cover my experience and results of the testing here in this article. For more details on my testing procedure and objectives, please read our acceleration test disclaimer.

In terms of driveability during standing start accelerations, the CR-Z did quite well. It was easy to launch well - clutch down, engage first gear, modulate the throttle for approximately 2,000rpm on the tach, then simply dump the clutch. There was moderate well-spin but good traction. Thanks to the IMA motor assist, there was little lag from the LEA engine and the CR-Z surges forward in 1st relatively well. The gearbox and light clutch allowed rapid yet confidence shifting. Surprisingly Honda seems to insist on gearing their manual gearboxes such that 2nd gear will top out just before reaching 100kph and so the CR-Z requires two gearshifts to 60mph (~96kph) and three gearshifts to 100kph (~63mph). In 2nd gear, when I hit the rev-limiter, the digital readout of the speedometer was 99kph. Note however that this is in fact slightly optimistic, usually around a couple of percent. I did all my tests in Sports mode and also with the air conditioning switched off. I left VSA on for the test.

As expected, the amount of charge on the IMA battery pack has quite a big influence on the acceleration times. However, as long as the charge level was 6 bars (out of 8) and above, the CR-Z put in good times for me. At 6 bars, the battery charge held up pretty well and one run will only drop the charge down to 5 bars. But once down to 5 bars, another run will drop the charge to 2-3 bars. As Honda IMA hybrids will only charge the battery on closed throttle cruising or during braking, I wasted a lot of time slowly cruising on the roads around the 'test track' after each run to recharge the IMA battery. I would slowly picking up speed with light throttle and then try to maximise battery charging by lazily cruising the roads with closed throttle and light taps on the brake pedal. I was able to generate 7 bars of charge for a few 'all out' runs but a lot of time, I had to settle for 6, even 5 bars of charge. I wasn't able to hit full charge (8 bars) during the test day. Fortunately it was a Sunday morning when I did this test so the roads were quite deserted.

For real-life driving conditions, this tells us that for one-off WOT runs, e.g. to overtake a slower vehicle or for merging into very fast flowing highway traffic, the CR-Z 6MT's performance will depend on the amount of battery charge. And the battery charge will depend on whether we had been driving normally or gently, or we had been driving aggressively. Driving aggressively, even without going WOT will drain the battery charge, and this will affect the performance of the CR-Z in those occassions when we need it the most. On the other hand, Honda seems to have programmed the IMA assist and charging such that when driving normally, even at a reasonably good pace, the battery charge usually hovers around the 6, sometimes even 7 bars level. At least that was the battery charge level when I drove my 'normal' manner, which I developed after years of driving my Jazz VTEC as a daily driver (i.e. weekdays. On weekends I will drive my DA6 Integra). It also means that we cannot indulge in multiple WOT 'blasts' consecutively and we need to give the battery time to charge up after a WOT 'blast', if we wish to get maximum performance on each run.

Best Results


Please read our disclaimer.

My first few runs were as usual for getting a feel of how to get the best out of the CR-Z. Charge levels were averaging between 4-6 bars and I started with the 0-100kph test. The results I obtained were consistently around the low to mid 10s level - from 10.4 to 10.8 seconds. Subsequently, I cruised around with closed throttle for a period of time in order to charge up the battery pack more, hoping for some better runs. Once I managed to get the charge level up to 7 bars, I was netting 0-100kph times of below the 10 seconds mark. My final best time for the 0-100kph standing start acceleration test was 9.6 seconds. Again, this run required two shifts, from 1st to 2nd and then from 2nd to 3rd for the final couple of kph to reach 100kph.

The 0-60mph test required only one shift - from 1st to 2nd as the CR-Z just exceeds 60mph right before the rev-cut - the digital readout of the speedo meter at the time of hitting the rev limiter was 99kph. As the readout is a few percent optimistic, I believe the CR-Z just reaches 60mph right at the rev-cut but am not sure if it can reach 60mph at the redline (which is at a slightly lower rpm). The benefit of one less gearshift was a considerably better time for the 0-60mph standing start acceleration test and my best run was 8.6 seconds. Again I cruised around for quite a bit to charge the battery for the best runs. The best result was obtained with a battery charge of 7 bars. But even when battery charge dropped to 6 bars or below, I was still able to nett low-9s for the 0-60mph run which I thought was still quite good. I was quite surprised at the unexpectedly good time and honestly was quite pleased with the result as I did not have very high expectations.

Before my own tests, I have been reading some widely conflicting times reported by various magazines as well as by CR-Z owners. The 0-60mph time for the CR-Z 6MT were reported from as low as 8.2 seconds to as high as over 10 seconds. However, the general consensus seems to be low-8s to just around 9seconds for the 0-60 time. I was also surprised to read in Motor Trend that the USDM CR-Z 6MT tops up at 55mph in 2nd gear and requires two shifts to hit 60mph. This seems to conflict with my own observation as the digital readout on the speedo is 99kph when I hit the rev limiter. Perhaps the gearing of Asian CR-Z 6MTs are different from the USDM versions. Note also that Asian CR-Z's are 2+2 while USDM CR-Z's are 2 seaters and so USDM CR-Zs are probably lighter. Nevertheless, I think my result of 0-60mph of 8.6 seconds and 0-100kph of 9.6 seconds is quite consistent with other, better results out there and together they suggest that the CR-Z's true 0-60mph time is around the low to mid 8 seconds range, in Sports Mode and with 7-8 bars of battery charge.

Wong KN
September 2012
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