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Disappointing Rumor: Hotter CR-Z Still A Hybrid

Posted in auto industry, Honda, News, Promoted by Kurt Ernst | March 18th, 2011 | 5 Responses |

The 2011 Honda CR-Z

Let’s hope that AutoGuide has this one wrong. In regards to the highly anticipated CR-Z Si (or Type R, if you prefer), the website quotes Honda R&D head Tomohiko Kawanabe as saying, “a high-compression petrol engine would work better in tandem with a hybrid assist system”. In other words, forget the the gasoline only, forced induction CR-Z we’d all been hoping for, and don’t even expect a turbocharged engine in conjunction with Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid drive system. If Honda retains the IMA drive system, the upcoming CR-Z Si will likely be just as disappointing as the first; in fact, it’s likely to be more disappointing than the original, simply because the original was never positioned against the legendary CRX Si.

The 2011 Honda CR-Z isn’t a bad car, but it is a car that lacks an identity. As a sporty car, it’s no good in anything other than “Sport” mode, and even then it’s no match for other products on the market (including Honda’s own Civic Si). As a hybrid, the fuel economy it returns (37 combined MPG) is disappointing, and maximum fuel economy requires driving in the terrifyingly-slow ECON mode. If it’s not a fuel-sipping hybrid, and it’s not an entertaining canyon carver, what is it? That’s the question that Honda has failed to address with the current CR-Z, and any future IMA equipped version will likely suffer the same fate.

Hybrids are forced to carry a lot of additional weight (the electric motor, the controller, the batteries, etc.), and weight is the enemy of performance. If I were in charge of Honda’s R&D, I’d tell the engineers to build an HF version, using Honda’s IMA hybrid system, that exceeded the Insight’s 41 MPG combined. Next, I’d tell them to build a small displacement turbo-diesel for the CR-Z, which would combine fuel efficiency with true driving entertainment. To round out the product range, I’d have them work on a CR-Z Si, with a forced induction, high compression, direct injection gasoline motor. That would produce a CR-Z for every type of buyer, which seems to be the same strategy Honda used for the original CRX. If that’s clear to me, why isn’t it clear to Honda?

Source: AutoGuide


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5 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    You sir are hired….at least that’s what I’d say if I took over Honda Today. The I’d fire all the idiots who want nothing but boring eco cars. Bring back the S2000, NSX, and make more cars that are fun.

  2. J D Stadler says:

    LAAAAAMMMMME. Again I say (with sadness) HONDA FAIL. I guess they really do want to be Toyota. I wish I had a time machine to go back to 1999 when Hondas were fun (stock or otherwise)

  3. Jake says:

    I’m guessing the alternative energy quota some pollution control regulations, like in California are behind these less than pragmatic design choices.

  4. William in AZ says:

    Excellent Commentary! I could not have explained this to Honda any better. HONDA for the Love of Gawd!! PLEASE give us a True Pocket Rocket again!!! A diesel to match against the Golf TDI would Awesome too.

  5. STEVE says:

    Its not clear to Honda because their to damb STUPID to get it!!

    Very nicely put sir!