The Honda CR-Z made its name as the first production hybrid sports car when it arrived in 2010. Neither the most economical nor the most powerful car on sale, it struck a compromise between the two, but the result was so-so running costs and performance.

For 2013, the Japanese firm has made some tweaks to create an extra 13hp, taking it to 137hp and resulting in a 0-62mph time of 9.1 seconds (0.6 seconds quicker than before), along with 56.5mpg and 116g/km from the cleanest Sport spec models. The higher spec GT-T model tested here is slightly dirtier at 122g/km and 54.3mpg and adds 0.4 seconds to the 0-62mph time due to larger wheels.

You’d need to drive the latest model back-to-back with the old one to notice the difference, but the CR-Z is far from short of appeal. The 1.5-litre isn’t a ball of fire but it responds well to a good thrashing. The steering is numb but the car still feels light on its feet and the short-throw gearchange is lovely. 

The hybrid drivetrain is more of a glorified stop/start system/booster for the engine, so don’t expect the battery to power the car independently, while the view out of the rear is obscured by a beam across the rear split screen.