Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Like the bigger Insight, the little CR-Z has two motors - a 112bhp 1.5-litre petrol and a 14bhp electric motor. Combined, they swell power to a still modest 122bhp (2bhp of electric power is lost at peak petrol power). Against the clock this translates to a 0-62mph time of 9.9 seconds for the lightest entry-level model. Top speed, meanwhile, is 124mph.

On the road the CR-Z is powered solely by a conventional 1.5-litre petrol, but when you need extra power for overtaking the 14bhp kicks in to assist acceleration. The effect feels very much like a supercharged engine, providing plenty of added power low down. Boosting fuel consumption is one of three different models of driving. Press a button marked with a green leaf and fuel consumption can be boosted by as much as 10%, but be warned, the eco mode dampens the throttle response to such an extent you begin to suspect you’ve left the handbrake on.

We suggest you avoid and leave in ‘Sport’ (‘Normal is still too unresponsive to us.) Mercifully, Honda has ditched the artificial-feeling CVT automatic the Insight suffers for a more engaging six-speed manual, that is both slick and quick and a joy to use. These are both miles off the pace we would expect of even the slowest hot hatch, but factor in the CR-Z ability to average 56.4mpg and the Honda offers buyers a coupe with unbeatable running costs, but one that is easily beaten by a small diesel hatch.

A Mini Cooper D, for example, is arguably less stylish but closest on paper to delivering decent performance with low emissions and fuel consumption. It averages 72.4mpg and powered by the 110bhp 1.6-litre diesel that also takes 9.9- seconds to hit 0-62mph time although can only manage 118mph top speed. Finally, we found the stop start feature a bit slow to react.

Unlike other systems depressing the clutch doesn’t automatically start the car. Instead you have to select a gear and release the clutch before the engine fires.

Honda has given the Insight-based coupe a complete suspension rethink and on your favourite back road the small coupe is a near revelation after the dull driving hatch. There’s lots of grip and the Honda demonstrates fine balance while cornering with little body roll. Ultimately, driven back-to-back real enthusiasts will prefer the Mini Coopers higher level interaction and better steering, but Honda has accomplished its aim of injecting a healthy dose of fun into its hybrid.