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Honda CR-Z Could Change Our View of Hybrid Cars

While the Honda CR-Z definitely isn’t a sports car, it has taken huge leaps to help change people’s minds about how fund and sporty a hybrid can actually be.  The Honda CR-Z was released as a two-seater in the United States, however Europe and Japan will get a two-seater, plus a back seat as well.  This sportier model shows a very noticeable amount of increased power, however it also has an “eco” mode that will cut the power, but also will significantly decrease the amount of gasoline that is used.

During the creation process, Honda minimized the overall development costs by borrowing basic components from the Insight hybrid 5-door hatchback.  This includes the engine as well as a large amount of the IMA (integrated motor assist) technology.  Currently, the CR-Z offers both an automatic and 6 speed manual transmission.  Additional steps were made to improve the overall performance, most notably by reducing its overall weight.  It has done so by using forged aluminum in many places.  It has also reduced the weight by adding additional cargo room in the back instead of offering a back seat.

The CR-Z boasts a number of additional touches to make it unique.  For example, it has a 3-D speedometer as well as a tachometer ring that will either be red, blue, or green depending on how aggressively it is being driven at any point in time.  Additionally, the stereo system features six speakers and has a USB port.  Along with this additional functionality, it includes standard features that include: variable wipers, LED brake lights, cruise control, braking-assist technologies, security system, and automatic climate control.

Currently, the CR-Z is going to be first made available on August 24th and is projected to be less than $20,000.

Possible Concerns

One concern for people who are looking at the CR-Z as a very Eco-friendly vehicle is that the engine is the main driver, whereas the electric motor is only there to assist.  At the same time, this isn’t any different than the current Eco-friendly vehicles.  Currently, the Honda Fit (which is not a hybrid) gets about the same has mileage as the CR-Z.  Additionally, even though it has a sportier look, it will still feature a 1.5 liter engine, just like the Insight.  However, there is a good chance that Honda will also make a CR-Z with a 1.8 liter in the near future (even though it will only add about 20 more horsepower).  It is also important to point out that since Honda utilized a torsion-beam rear suspension, the overall ride may be a little more bouncy than if the CR-Z had a fully independent setup.  It did, however, get 4 out of 5 stars during its recent crash test.

In the end, the CR-Z definitely doesn’t fit the bill of being a “sport’s car”.  At the same time, it will be much more fun to drive than the Insight or Prius.  While it is a step forward, there is still a lot of work to be done before a sports car is created that is actually Eco-friendly.

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