Honda debuts production CR-Z hybrid
Photo credit: ROGER HART
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The sporty two-seater hybrid coupe retains the basic shape of the original concept first shown at the 2007 Tokyo auto show, but it features a shorter wheelbase and a longer front overhang to meet crash standards.
At the heart of the CR-Z is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with Honda's Integrated Motor Assist hybrid technology. The result is a combined peak output of 122 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque (123 lb-ft for continuously variable transmission models).
The CR-Z will be the first hybrid available with a six-speed manual, which is the standard transmission. A CVT with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters is optional. Preliminary fuel-economy estimates are 31/37 mpg city/highway for the manual and 36/38 mpg city/highway for CVT-equipped cars.
New to the hybrid system is a three-mode drive system that gives drivers the choice between Sport, Econ and Normal driving modes.
Sport sharpens engine throttle and steering response and the electric motor assist. Econ adjusts engine and electric-motor settings for optimal efficiency and reduces the air conditioning's load on the engine. Normal provides standard settings for steering, engine response, motor assist and air conditioning.
The interior features three-dimensional instruments with a blue color scheme. Depending on which drive mode is used, the inner ring of tachometer illuminates differently (red for Sport, transitions between blue and green for Econ and blue during Normal mode).
When the CR-Z goes on sale in late summer, it will be available in base and EX trims. Base models include stability control, a six-speaker audio system with USB connectivity, power windows, locks, remote keyless entry and cruise control. EX versions add xenon headlights, fog lights, a 360-watt premium sound system, Bluetooth, leather-wrapped steering wheel and center console with an armrest. Navigation is available on the EX.
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