The all-new Honda CR-Z made its world premiere at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. With sporty looks and agile handling, the Honda CR-Z is the most exciting hybrid yet, promising driving thrills and cleaner exhaust emissions.
The Honda CR-Z's compact 2+2 coupe body and striking design is coupled with a responsive chassis to give nimble handling and direct steering, and a 6-speed manual transmission enhances driving enjoyment. Its clean, efficient petrol-electric hybrid powertrain not only offers good fuel economy and a low exhaust emissions package, but also adds to the nippy driving characteristics of the car and means the Honda CR-Z is well suited for use in urban environments.
Driver enjoyment was a core part of the design brief and the Honda CR-Z's chassis plays a key role in creating the character of the car. The platform shares some components with the Insight, but the wheelbase, track width and set-up are all bespoke for the new coupe hybrid.
The Honda CR-Z's exterior styling is formed around a 'one-motion wedge' concept with a low bonnet line and wide stance that gives the car a sporty, exciting exterior that should appeal to younger drivers. Design features, such as the split level rear glass hatch and aerodynamic, shallow raked roofline are reminiscent of the Honda CRX, but brought bang up-to-date with deep, muscular sculpting.
For the first time, a fuel efficient, low emission parallel hybrid system is combined with a precise and driver focused 6-speed manual gearbox - made possible only because of the flexibility of Honda's IMA hybrid system.
The manual transmission is complemented by a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine, which is new to the UK and a key component in the Honda CR-Z's unique offering. The eager-to-rev nature of the medium capacity engine, is enhanced by the additional 78Nm of torque provided by the 14PS electric motor, which is situated between the engine and transmission.
The 1.5-litre engine, combined with the power and torque of the IMA parallel hybrid system, gives an overall power output of 124PS and 174Nm of torque. The peak torque figure is identical to that of the 1.8-litre Civic but offers CO2 emissions of just 117g/km (35 g/km fewer than the Honda Civic 1.8-litre model).
The electric motor gives the Honda CR-Z an unusually flat torque curve with the maximum arriving at just 1500rpm - unusually low for a naturally-aspirated engine. Teamed with a 6-speed manual transmission, the IMA assisted engine provides great in-gear flexibility, low exhaust emissions and a sporty exhaust note.
To maximise driver choice and enhance the day to day driveability of the car, the Honda CR-Z has been fitted with a 3-Mode Drive System. This unique feature allows the driver to choose between three driving modes, which alter the responses of the throttle, steering, idle stop timing, climate control and the level of assistance provided by the IMA system.
The European version of the Honda CR-Z has daytime running lights (DTRLs) with eight LEDs that bring out the lower line of the sweeping headlights. This is the first time DTRLs have been fitted to a production Honda, and combined with the front fog lights provide a tailored look to the European specification Honda CR-Z.
The European version of the Honda CR-Z goes on sale in the UK in summer 2010, and will debut at the Geneva Auto Show 2010 in March.Published 12 January 2010