While there isn't much in the way of true performance models in Honda's lineup (NSX, please hurry!), it hasn't stopped them from trying. With the Civic Si being its saving grace, Honda's own HPD division is stepping up to help as a factory performance option, especially since Mugen parts aren't as flourishing as they once were, at least, not in the States. (Random fact: Mugen options back in the late '80s/early '90s were so unpopular that we've heard stories of dealerships returning tons of product back to Honda, where they were then dumped into the trash. We cry every time we think of this.) And they've picked the perfect car to debut its parts on: the CRZ. Now, Honda Performance Development isn't some new thing—it's been around about 20 years, backing Honda's racing ventures in North America—but the CRZ is the first time they're going to offer something purely for the street enthusiast.
One thing's for certain: the CRZ is a car that was just begging for help in the performance category, being the closest thing to a CRX we'll ever get. HPD gets the props for bringing it up to a level that is essentially a new-school Rex. But don't confuse this HPD-equipped hybrid as being a car you can walk into a dealership for, sign a few papers, drop some cash for and drive off with. These are actually factory backed add-ons that you can pick and choose; not the best option, but it'll have to do...for now. We were able to test-drive a fully equipped CRZ with the following HPD parts: supercharger kit, intercooler, injectors, ECU reflash, exhaust and drivetrain upgrades (clutch and LSD). We'll be the first to say, this is exactly the CRZ that Honda should've come out with from the beginning!
Turn the key and this newfound hybrid roars to life. The exhaust system adds a nice, sporty tone, as if it went on a strict workout regimen and packed on some muscle. But if that's the case, then the supercharger is the anabolic steroids, taking the 122hp/128lb-ft engine up to an estimated 187hp/171lb-ft, a huge and very noticeable difference in drivability. Trust us when we say this little hatch hauls ass. More performance comes in the suspension department: you get lowering springs and sport-tuned Showa shocks, making the ride slightly bumpier. (Although it's no big deal if you're used to driving cars riding on coilovers.) There are 18" wheels that replace the stock 16s; those also come with sportier tires. We can also appreciate the larger, four-piston caliper, front brake upgrade, but it's nothing overkill since it still works harmoniously with the original brake booster and ABS.
For CRZ owners who maybe aren't so privy to the engine, drivetrain or brake mods, you can make it "look" fast as HPD offers a rear diffuser, special emblems and graphics that will match the already available front lip and rear spoiler just fine. At the very least, you will want the upsized 18s already mentioned. All of the HPD parts bolt on to any 2011 or newer model, and are 50-state street legal (with the supercharger coming on-sale probably by the time you are reading this). These HPD mods may not bring the CRZ back to American Honda's Type R glory days, but it's a positive step forward. Until they bring back a Type R of some sort, that is.
That New Car Smell
2014 Honda CRZ "HPD Edition"
Engine 1.5L i-VTEC; Honda Performance Development (HPD) Rotrex supercharger kit, air-to-air intercooler, fuel injectors and after-cat exhaust
The Power 187hp/171lb-ft
Drivetrain HPD sport clutch and limited-slip differential
Footwork & Chassis HPD Chassis Kit (lowering springs, Showa sport dampers)
Brakes HPD front big brake kit with 11.8" rotors and sport pads
Wheels & Tires 18" HPD wheels with 215/40R18 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires
Exterior HPD rear diffuser, emblem and graphics
Deep Thoughts While it is cool that you can buy any of the HPD components separately, what will ultimately make the CRZ even greater is if it can be purchased as a HPD edition. Until then...this works!
In 2012, MTEC (Mugen Japan) started to sell Mugen RZ, a supercharged CRZ, limited to 300 production models and priced at 4,494,000 JPY (approximately $44,500 USD). If you would get the power of HPD CRZ for under that cost, I envy you guys. [Seems like we will! - Staff]