Honda CR-Z debuts in Detroit
The all-new Honda CR-Z made its world premiere at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit today. With sporty looks and agile handling, the CR-Z is the most exciting hybrid yet, promising driving thrills and cleaner exhaust emissions.
The 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."
CR-Z in detail
Driver enjoyment was a core part of the design brief and the CR-Z’s chassis plays a key role in creating the character of the car. The platform shares some components with the Insight, but the wheelbase, track width and set-up are all bespoke for the new coupe hybrid.
The CR-Z’s exterior styling is formed around a “one-motion wedge” concept with a low bonnet line and wide stance that gives the car a sporty, exciting exterior that should appeal to younger drivers. Design features, such as the split level rear glass hatch and aerodynamic, shallow raked roofline are reminiscent of the Honda CRX, but brought bang up-to-date with deep, muscular sculpting.
For the first time, a fuel efficient, low emission parallel hybrid system is combined with a precise and driver focussed 6-speed manual gearbox – made possible only because of the flexibility of Honda’s IMA hybrid system.
The manual transmission is complemented by a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine, which is new to the UK and a key component in the CR-Z’s unique offering. The eager-to-rev nature of the medium capacity engine, is enhanced by the additional 78Nm of torque provided by the 14PS electric motor, which is situated between the engine and transmission.
The 1.5-litre engine, combined with the power and torque of the IMA parallel hybrid system, gives an overall power output of 124PS and 174Nm of torque. The peak torque figure is identical to that of the 1.8-litre Civic but offers CO2 emissions of just 117g/km** (35 g/km fewer than the Civic 1.8-litre model).
The electric motor gives the CR-Z an unusually flat torque curve with the maximum arriving at just 1500rpm – unusually low for a naturally-aspirated engine. Teamed with a 6-speed manual transmission, the IMA assisted engine provides great in-gear flexibility, low exhaust emissions and a sporty exhaust note.
To maximise driver choice and enhance the day to day drivability of the car, the CR-Z has been fitted with 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.
In developing this 3-Mode Drive System, Honda 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.
The European version of the CR-Z has daytime running lights (DTRLs) with eight LEDs that bring out the lower line of the sweeping headlights. This is the first time DTRLs have been fitted to a production Honda, and combined with the front fog lights provide a tailored look to the European specification CR-Z.
The shallow raked roofline and sharply truncated tail of the CR-Z are features shared with many Hondas past and present. This slippery design allows the car to cut through the air with minimal disturbance, lowering fuel consumption and emissions. The UK specification CR-Z has a 2+2 layout, enabling customers to carry smaller adults for short distances or children on longer journeys. The rear seats can be flattenned in a simple one-touch motion to increase luggage capacity when it‘s needed.
The interior of the production car has been developed from the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show CR-Z Concept, with its 3D displays and driver-focussed cabin. The high-technology instrument binnacle places all of the commonly used controls within quick and easy reach of the driver.
The dashboard of the new coupe has a two-level construction, with a dark upper portion appearing to float above a light grey lower dash section, which continues into the centre of the inner door panels.
Compared to the dimensions of the Insight, the CR-Z is shorter in length by 295mm and its wheelbase is 115mm shorter than the Insight’s. This enhances agility and reduces kerb weight by 44kg compared to its 5-door, five-seat, family car sibling. Forged aluminium MacPherson struts have been used in the CR-Z to reduce weight and increase strength over the pressed steel items used in the Insight. The CR-Z suspension features new springs and damper settings and the tolerances are individual to the compact coupe.
The European version of the CR-Z goes on sale in the UK in summer 2010, and will debut at the Geneva Auto Show 2010 in March.