Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Honda CR-Z vs Honda Insight - Impractical vs Boring

When I first saw the pictures of the brand new Honda CR-Z hybrid, my heart skipped a beat. This beauty of a hybrid car combined eco-friendly technology with a racing pedigree.

And I was all set to get one, until I realised that the two rear seats were not really seats at all but stowage space for the laptop or knapsack. It may fit two small children but won't do so comfortably - and my children are already in their teens.

So, if I'm going to get the CR-Z, it would have to be at the expense of two rear passenger seats, and for someone with a family, this is a big issue.

The alternative to the CR-Z would be Honda's Insight, a boring, ho-hum, albeit practical hybrid. Although it is better looking and far more popular than the Toyota Prius hybrid, the Insight's looks are rather staid.

As Honda's CR-Z looks show, hybrids don't have to be boring looking. Yet, the only two practical and affordable hybrids at the moment are the Insight and even more boring and prissy looking Toyota Prius.

Then there's the issue of possible long term costs. Sure, you get to save on petrol and loan interest (Maybank is offering lower loan interest rate for hybrid cars; see http://cbt.com.my/111126/maybank-to-offer-special-rates-for-hybrids), but in the long run, you may end up paying more if you need to replace your hybrid's batteries, which could cost anything between RM40k to RM60k.

In short, if you're looking for a practical hybrid that's darn good looking and are willing to take the risk of having to fork out RM40k - RM60k five years from now, you should probably wait a while longer for other car manufacturers to bring in theirs into the country.

But hey, if you think the Honda Insight is darn good looking, then God-bless. Now is a good time as any to get it. At around RM100k, the Insight's a real steal.

And if you don't mind not having two rear seats for adults, then the Honda CR-Z is an even better bet and a real steal at RM115k.