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2013 Honda CR-Z hybrid gets power boost

Mon, 19 Nov 2012

The slow-selling Honda CR-Z hybrid hatchback gets a new lithium-ion battery pack and more-powerful electric for the 2013 model year.

The change from a nickel metal hydride battery pack helps boost output from the hybrid powertrain's electric motor from 10 kilowatts to 15 kilowatts. The powertrain's combined output is now rated at 130 hp at 6,000 rpm, up 8 hp from the 2012 model. Torque rises to 140 lb-ft at 1,000 rpm in the CR-Z with the six-speed manual transmission, a gain of 12 lb-ft from the 2012 CR-Z. Cars equipped with the continuously variable transmission are rated at 127 lb-ft of torque, up 4 lb-ft from the 2012 model.

The CR-Z continues to use a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

The more-powerful battery let Honda equip the 2013 CR-Z with an electric boost feature called Plus Sport.

Activated via a button on the steering wheel, Plus Sport delivers boost from the electric motor for up to 5 seconds. The system is enabled when the battery pack's charge is above 50 percent and the car is traveling faster than 19 mph.

Styling changes for the 2013 CR-Z include revised front and rear fascias with a functional rear diffuser, and new metallic trim and door pad materials in the interior. Uplevel EX and Navi models will include two-tone black and red interior trim.

Additions to the standard equipment list include Bluetooth wireless connections for mobile phones and music players, rearview camera and an expanded-view driver's door mirror.

The 2013 Honda CR-Z carries a base price of $20,765 including shipping charges. That's a $280 increase from the 2012 model. The CR-Z EX has a base price of $22,445 with shipping charges, up $400 from the 2012 model.

Sales of the CR-Z have lagged badly this year. Through the end of October, CR-Z sales totaled 3,705 units, down 65 percent from the 10,461 units sold in the same period in 2011. In October sales of the CR-Z totaled 244 units, down 16 percent from October 2011.

By Dale Jewett