Honda's new CR-Z hybrid sports car is part of the Japanese automaker's strategy to focus on more environmentally friendly models while keeping the brand's dynamic driving characteristics.
For this reason, Honda canceled traditional sports car projects such as the planned successors to the S2000 roadster and the mid-engine NSX two-seat model.
Honda believes the CR-Z two-door coupe will mainly appeal to younger buyers, whom it believes are more concerned about the environment than older customers but still want a car with sporty looks and driving characteristics. The CR-Z appeals to a new lifestyle outlook summed up by the slogan "green is the new cool," according to Honda.
The CR-Z has a hybrid powertrain based on the carmaker's IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) system used in the the Civic and Insight hybrid cars, but with a more dynamic performance. Combined power output of the four-cylinder 1.5-liter gasoline engine, which is based on the engine found in the Brazilian version of the Jazz, and the electric motor is 124 hp.
The IMA system in the CR-Z does not have the possibility of full-electric propulsion, as on the Civic and Insight. The electric motor offers only an additional acceleration boost.
The CR-Z has a wide track and short wheelbase chassis for agile and responsive handling and a three-mode drive system to tailor steering, throttle response and IMA assistance to the driver's needs.
Overall, the CR-Z has a 115mm shorter wheelbase and is 295mm shorter in overall length than the Insight, enhancing agility and reducing curb weight by 44kg compared with the five-door Insight.
In Europe, the CR-Z will be offered only with a six-speed manual transmission, which Honda says is the world's first six-speed manual transmission combined with a hybrid drivetrain. In other markets, such as the United States and Japan, a continuously variable transmission will be an option.
In Europe and Japan, the CR-Z will have a 2+2 seating configuration opening up the possibility of carrying smaller adults for short distances in the back or children on longer journeys. In the United States, the car will be a pure two-seat model.