Ready To Drop
Put away the crystal ball; this one is for real. The retro CR-X-inspired CR-Z sports hybrid is will be hitting Honda showrooms this summer. While we like the idea of a sports hybrid especially in a Honda where the torque of the electric motor can be used to offset the low torque traditionally seen in Honda engines, we were hoping for more on the bottom line. A 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine with Honda's compact and lightweight Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid-electric system motivates the CR-Z. The system delivers a combined peak output of 122 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 128 lb-ft. of torque2 at 1,000 to 1,500 rpm. Preliminary fuel economy estimates are 36 city/38 highway miles per gallon on CVT-equipped models. Manual transmission models are anticipated to achieve an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 31-city/37 highway.
Honda allows the driver to select between Sport, Econ (Economy) and Normal driving modes. The Sport mode enhances multiple vehicle systems for performance including the engine throttle responsiveness, electric power steering effort and the electric motor power assist. The inner ring of the tachometer illuminates red when the vehicle is in Sport mode. During Econ mode operation, the engine's responsiveness is tuned for optimal economy, the electric motor assist gives priority to fuel efficiency and the air conditioning system can reduce its overall load on the engine. The inner ring of the tachometer transitions between blue and green when the vehicle is in Econ mode, with the green representing more ecological driving. Normal mode provides standard settings for steering, engine response, motor assist and air conditioning. Similar to Econ mode, the tachometer ring transitions between blue and green when the vehicle is in normal mode, with the green representing more ecological driving.
A hybrid based on a K-Series engine qualifies as a sport hybrid in our book and we are not convinced the Sport mode will deliver a truly engaging driving experience. Further is 36/38 mpg miserly enough to be a hybrid? A test drive and the response from the tuning community will answer many questions. - EG