Honda CR-Z. One of the best thing that had happened to me in year 2012. Yes, indeed, a piece of pretentious toy. It was the best thing that had happened because I DID NOT buy one. I almost did, but instead the shopping led me to the best car I have ever owned, the Renault Megane RS 265.
I’d rather you not read this, so that you won’t go out and buy one. Because I want it to remain a rare gem in Malaysia. I don’t wait it to become as commonplace as the CR-Z — one around every corner, slowing and blocking. Every time I see a CR-Z, I feel thankful that Reza from Renault rescued me from buying one.
I actually liked the CR-Z, you see, but too bad — it’s a fraud. It claims to be sporty but has the suspension of a van. Hybrid, but not nearly as efficient as a petrol Polo. Considerably fast for grandmas, but only if you have enough juice in the batteries, which lasts about 2 minutes. It claims to seat 4 people, but you’d have to behead the rear passengers. It’s inexpensive, but not worth the price. It’s for iPhone fetish who enjoy charging batteries as a hobby. (Detail complaints in “Honda CRZ – there, but not quite there“.)
So I hesitated for a long time, long enough to discover the Renault Megane RS 265. I haven’t blogged about cars for months. What pushed me to writing this: a fellow Megane owner posted about a Porsche gathering of 200 cars, as if it’s glorious and grand. Oh, Please! I thought. Owning a Porsche has become silly business.
You see, Porsche has become the Proton for the richer. When one achieved a certain income level (reads: middle age crisis), he gets a Proton, er, I mean Porsche. It’s become the Mont Blanc pen so eagerly sticking out from the shirt pocket, while the fat uncle is functionally illiterate. It’s like an auntie’s youthful Burberry handbag. In any gathering, you’d find some other guy having one too (my neighbor has two). “Oh, you have a Porsche too? And you… and you…. Same color summore!” It’s downright embarrassing. Porsche are very capable cars, no doubt, but most of time they are reduced to merely a badge. Recently, I witnessed an auntie trying to navigate a beautiful Boxster into a parking lot the size of a football field, with a team of security guards giving directions. Still took her the whole night, and hit a pole nonetheless, and shook the Hello Kitty off the dashboard. The poor Boxster would never get to corner like it’d been designed to do. It’s just a ginormous, metallic, handbag.
Our Meganes, on the other hand, get driven – driven hard. On the road. On the racing track. By men, and men only – thanks to the manual gearbox which alienate all aunties. It can keep up with the low-end Porsche models, drivers’ capabilities aside. And it beats Porsche and many other sports car in practicality. I shall illustrate:
A Porsche Cayman stops. The driver and a beautiful girl came out. They opened the boot and picked up his briefcase (that’s about all that could fit). Then, they go to the ball.
A Megane stops. The driver and FOUR beautiful girls came out. They opened the boot and picked up the handbags, shoes, clothes, life-size teddy bear… etc. Only then the driver realized he needed to change for the ball. He got back in the car, asked the girls to shield the windows, slided the driver seat backward for more space, and began putting on his tuxedo. As he was putting on the pants, two girls peeked and got turned on. They got into the car, reclined the backrests, and all got into action. It’s OK. The suspension was firm. Who cares about the ball?
Megane is comfortable enough for our corroded roads, yet handles wonderfully on track. Anybody can do sub-2:50 lap time on track with one eye closed, and sub-2:40 if you open both eyes and with the right tyres. I was pleasantly surprised that the braking distance wasn’t too far off my lighter Lotus Exige.
Fuel economy is reasonably good at 10l/100km. It has all the convenient features like keyless entry, bluetooth audio, etc. This is truly an all-purpose car. The only downside: it’s a front-wheel drive. So I can’t doughnut or drift with it. I also wish there’s a cabriolet version. Then it’d be perfect.
Well, no car is perfect. But this one — is damn close.