Honda is calling the nifty little CR-Z a Sport Hybrid. It’s an all-new model for 2011 and it blends Honda’s popular CRX with the Insight, but has the Honda Fit’s four-cylinder engine mated to the company’s patented Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology.
The CR-Z is a sleek two-door, two-passenger coupe with quick, sporty handling. It’s a gasoline-electric hybrid-powered vehicle available in two basic models — CR-Z and CR-Z EX. Honda counts CVT and navigation as separate models for pricing, which gives the line six trim levels ranging from the Base (M6) to the EX with navigation (CVT).
The Base M6 lists at $19,200 and comes standard with the 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and a 13-horsepower electric motor with a nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery mated to a six-speed manual transmission. It gets 31/37 mpg. The base model also includes some pretty nice standard equipment, such as cruise control, automatic climate control, a 160-watt sound system, USB and auxiliary input jacks, and stylish 16-inch alloy wheels.
On the high end, the EX with navigation (CVT) goes for $23,210 and also comes with the same power as the M6, but it’s mated to an automatic transmission and gets much better fuel economy at 35/39 mpg.
The CR-Z has a wedge-design body that’s aerodynamic and sporty, with a low hood and a wide stance. It rides on a lightweight rigid platform and has a chassis with a short wheelbase and a performance suspension. The front has a prominent nose with a large grille and swept-back headlights. To the rear, the flanks are accented by upward creases and LED taillights. On the inside, the CR-Z has a futuristic gauge cluster and digital instrumentation.
Developed as a stylish, driver-focused vehicle with an emphasis on efficient “green” performance, the CR-Z has a new three-mode drive system that allows the driver to configure the vehicle’s responsiveness for Sport, Normal or Econ (Economy) driving modes. Driver efficiency tools include Eco Assist and Eco Scoring, which together can help you determine more efficient driving styles, and compare fuel economy to previous trips and over the life of the vehicle.
Standard safety features include front, side and side-curtain airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure. A lightweight, rigid platform and a chassis with a wide track, short wheelbase and performance-oriented suspension components include aluminum front lower control arms for better handling dynamics.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.