The European Honda CR-Z hybrid coupe will make its world debut at the 2010 Geneva International Motor Show in March. With sporty looks and agile handling, the Honda CR-Z is the most exciting hybrid yet, promising driving thrills and a cleaner exhaust emissions package.
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 CR-Z is well suited for use in urban environments.
�The CR-Z is a great-looking, sporty car - that's also a hybrid,� said Tom Gardner, Head of Marketing, Honda (UK). -Kart-like handling and direct steering will make it great fun to drive, but the hybrid system means exhaust emissions are kept low. With the torque boost of the electric motor, it's ideally suited to -point-to-point� driving in British towns and cities.�
To maximise driver choice and enhance the day to day drivability of the Honda CR-Z, it has 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 3-Mode Drive System allows the driver to choose whether they wish to maximise enjoyment, economy or strike a balance between the two. The aim of Honda's engineers was to give customers more choice in how the CR-Z would drive, depending on their needs and desires at the time.
Sport buttons have become commonplace in cars to offer drivers the choice between normal throttle response and a sharper response for more enthusiastic driving. Honda's 3-Mode Drive System is far more than just a button to sharpen throttle response, with the behaviour of the hybrid drivetrain and the power steering assistance also changing between the three modes.
When the Honda CR-Z driver is away from the town or city and wanting to enjoy their drive, they can put the coupe into SPORT mode. This sharpens the throttle response, changes the behaviour of the IMA hybrid system to provide more electric motor assistance and increases the weight of the electric power steering. Our engineers recognise that even cars designed to excite the driver may still be driven in heavy traffic where enthusiastic driving is not possible, or desirable. In these situations ECON mode can be selected, which prioritises fuel economy in the operation of the drive-by-wire throttle, ECU, air conditioning and the hybrid system. At all other times the car can be run in NORM mode, which provides a balance between performance, economy and emissions and suits most driving situations.
The ambient lighting of the speedometer is used in the same way as in the Insight, to guide the driver in driving more economically. In addition to the Eco Assist function, the Honda CR-Z's meter lighting is linked to the 3-mode drive system. Changing from red to blue and then green depending on whether SPORT, NORM or ECON is selected.
The Honda CR-Z will go on sale in the UK in Summer and specifications and prices are likely to be announced at the Geneva Motor Show.
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