The Honda CR-Z has been launched today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The world premiere unveiling revealed a hybrid car which promises fun and sporty handling. The European version will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March this year.
We first got a glimpse of the CR-Z, once again with the aid of the mighty internet, as the brochure for the car was leaked. This, however, is the real deal. It looks exactly the same as the one we’ve seen in the leaked internet pictures. It has an aggressive coupe body as it wants to be taken serious as a proper sports car.
To achieve this, Honda claim it has a “driver-focused chassis” and that the electric motor is there to aid the performance of the petrol one, with fuel economy falling for second place. For that, they’ve fitted it a 6-speed manual gearbox, making it the first ever six-speed manual hybrid car. The petrol unit is a 1.5-litre i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine. As a result, the CR-Z has a combined power output (electric+normal engine) of 124 hp and 174 Nm of torque. This is surprising to say the least, you can get as much power from the 1.5-litre engine if you manage it properly, without the need to fit an additional electric motor to the car.
But, as it’s often these days, a hybrid badge will sell you anything. The CR-Z produces 117 g/km of CO2 and it requires 5.0 l/100km. It also has a 3-Mode Drive System which allows the driver to choose from 3 different driving modes. It alters throttle and steering responsiveness, idle stop timing, climate control and the level of assistance provided by the IMA hybrid system. Therefore, you can choose between Sport, Econ (Economy) and Normal. However, some figures about how green this actually is are still to be tested, so we have to wait for the official results.
The European version will be slightly different from what we see now as the CR-Z will be fitted with day time running lights with LEDs and front fog lights. The Euro and Japanese versions will also get a 2+2 seating arrangement which mean the rear seats can fold if you need to carry someone in the back for short distances.
Sporty handling is promised through bespoke spring and damper settings, enhanced specifically for this car. As far as size in concerned, it’s 295mm shorter than an Insight and its wheelbase is 115 mm shorter than the Insight. All these things add up together, Honda says, to create a neat handling sports coupe.
It comes as standard with a lot of kit. Vehicle Stability Assist, an AM/FM/CD/USB audio system with six speakers, automatic climate control, power windows and door locks, remote entry, cruise control are all on the basic trim level called simply “CR-Z”. The posh model is called the “CR-Z EX” and it offers HID Headlights with Auto-On/Off, fog lights, a 360-Watt AM/FM/CD premium audio system with seven speakers including subwoofer, Bluetooth and perforated leather-wrapped around the steering wheel.
See more shots of the Honda CR-Z in our gallery below.