The CR-Z uses Honda’s standard gas-electric system, which consists of a 93 horsepower 1.3 liter 4 cylinder gas engine, assisted by a 20 horsepower electrical motor.
This electrical motor is powered by batteries which are recharged during deceleration. Interestingly, the gas motor can also disable 3 of its cylinders during braking to save even more fuel.
Honda decided to add to the efficiency of the CR-Z by using an extensive amount of lightweight materials in its construction.
The interior of the hybrid concept is composed of flowing glass surfaces subtly illuminated, and despite its small size, the wide pillars make the car feel bigger than it is.
CR-Z stands for Compact Renaissance Zero, and each design cue, like the 19 inch wheels and abruptly chopped hatchback are meant to evoke a sporty feeling that will hopefully separate this vehicle in the minds of consumers from the more pedestrian styling of previous hybrid models.
Whether Honda is successful with this strategy remains to be seen. One thing is certain: with the discontinuation of the Accord and Insight hybrids, Honda is looking to move all of their non-SUV hybrid eggs into the same basket.
The CR-Z, in size and spirit the successor to the popular CRX of the early 90’s, would be lucky to catch on with the same popularity as that fun, economical 2-seater.
It would fill a hole in the current Honda lineup as well, enabling the company to compete with the ultra-compact Korean and rebadged GM offerings which dominate the segment, not to mention Japanese rivals Toyota with their popular Yaris, and Mercedes with the Smart car.
Will Honda’s engineers be able to not only make a hybrid car as fun to drive as a sports car, but then also have their marketing department make that association in driver’s minds? Only time will tell.