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Honda CR-Z – production ready at Detroit

Tue, 12 Jan 2010

Honda has revealed the production-ready CR-Z at the Detroit Motor Show

Honda are very keen to catch up with Toyota in the hybrid car wars. The Honda Insight was their answer to the Prius (although better looking it was even more woeful to drive than the Prius) and Honda are now looking to move in to the ‘Sporty’ Hybrid market with the Honda CR-Z.

Honda revealed the CR-Z back in October at the Tokyo Motor Show, and did the usual new model think of labeling it as a concept. But it was clear this was no concept, but a practically production ready model. So it’s no huge shock that the production-ready Honda CR-Z which has been revealed at the Detroit Motor Show is almost identical to the ‘Concept’ at Shanghai.

If we’re being picky we could say that the door mirrors have grown, it has a different set of alloys and it looks like the Honda badge at the front has moved. But that seems to be it. Even the slightly concept-like interior carries over, so at least the CR-Z can claim to be half-decent looking inside and out.

The heart of the matter though is the hybrid system. It uses a 1.5 litre i-VTEC engine coupled to a 10kw electric motor – Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid-electric system. The electric motor works with the petrol engine during acceleration and also captures kinetic energy generated during braking and coasting and stores it in the 100v IMA nickel-metal hydride battery pack (no lithium ion here). The output of the combined motors is 122bhp which is delivered (thankfully) through a conventional six-speed manual ‘box. Which should at least make the CR-Z a better ‘Drive’.

The somewhat disappointing part is the performance. Although Honda hasn’t released performance figures, we reported on a leak of the CR-Z brochure a while back which stated that the CR-Z will do 0-60mph in 9.7 seconds. Not exactly ‘Sporty’. Economy is reasonable at 56.4mpg – although hardly earth-shattering – and CO2 emissions are 117g/km. Again, not bad but nothing to write home about.

The Honda CR-Z will reach UK showrooms in the Summer and cost from about £18,000. There are also apparently plans for a ‘Hot’ Honda CR-Z Mugen version, which will be interesting to see.

But really, with mediocre performance, economy and emissions, what’s the point?

By Cars UK