A sixth unique version of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology will soon hit the road in an all-new model. Originally introduced on the 2000 Insight Hybrid over a decade ago, the automaker’s proven performance and mileage-enhancing system is currently being applied to a unique sports model – the Honda CR-Z.
Set to go on sale this summer, the Honda CR-Z brings a sleek, sporty style and agile handling to the hybrid car segment. The two-seat runabout made its debut at this winter’s auto show scene and is undergoing final pre-production testing now. With a compact body and two-seat configuration, recalling the brand’s former CR-X, Honda is hoping the CR-Z will be a very appropriate sports car for the times.
“The CR-Z is a personal sport hybrid coupe for drivers with a spirit of adventure as well as an elevated sense of responsibility toward the environment,” says Jerry Chenkin, Executive VP of Honda Canada Inc. “CR-Z is the first gasoline-electric hybrid car designed to maximize style and fun, in addition to fuel efficiency.”
The CR-Z is exhaustively engineered to be light and aerodynamic, though the heart of its fuel saving promise is under the hood. Power will come from a 1.5 litre, i-VTEC four-cylinder engine, paired with the IMA hybrid-electric drive system. In simple terms, the CR-Z will combine the efforts of both a gasoline engine and an electric motor. The pair is teamed up to help one another out. Though the CR-Z’s gasoline engine is a small one, the electric motor provides supplemental power when drivers need to pass, merge or accelerate quickly.
Electricity for the electric motor is stored in an on-board battery pack. The gas engine automatically recharges the CR-Z’s batteries via a built in generator function, so there is no need to plug the vehicle in. The CR-Z can even turn its gas engine off when the vehicle comes to a stop, eliminating wasteful idle emissions.
An on-board computer handles the transition between gas and electric power seamlessly, requiring no driver intervention. The end result is smooth performance, comparable to a non-hybrid model, alongside a significant reduction in fuel consumption.
The CR-Z’s combined system output is rated at 122 horsepower, and combined fuel economy ratings are estimated between 5.3L and 6L/100km. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a Continually Variable Transmission (CVT) is available. Finally, drivers can select between ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Eco’ drive modes whenever desired, allowing them to instantly tailor power delivery to their current mood.
When the CR-Z goes on sale, it will also come with an upscale list of equipment and features. Expect a standard 360-watt stereo, Bluetooth integration, automatic xenon lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and more.
A comprehensive list of safety features will also be included. Vehicle Stability Assist, a full complement of airbags and an advanced antilock braking system are fitted to every model, and Honda says the CR-Z will also benefit from their proven ‘Advanced Compatibility Engineering’ body structure for additional safety.
Keep your eyes on your local Honda dealership for the CR-Z to arrive later this year.