Word on the Street
Straight outta J-pan. Engrish from our man in Japan. Read if you dare.
Honda CR-Z debut in Japan in March. CR-Z is first Japanese sport hybrid car. CR-Z means Compact Renaissance Zero. CR-Z have 1.5 liters SOHC engine with electric motor for assisting, 6-speed stick shift or CVT transmission. CR-Z's engine can make 114ps.
I think many people think CR-Z is same as Honda Insight and just changed body style. In fact, I thought same things for CR-Z but I was wrong. I think CR-Z is compact sport car after I drove CR-Z. CR-Z's dash panel has three switches. The switches say SPORT, NORMAL and ECON. That is three modes driving system. CR-Z's ECU control engine and the feeling of power steering. If you chose ECON switch, ECU control to go down engine power for saving fuel. If you chose SPORT switch, ECU control to go up engine power for driving high speed. I guess CR-Z have the face of Insight and the face of Fit Sport and driver can choose anytime. You can change the mode when you drive CR-Z on the street and you don't need to stop the car for changing the mode.
I drove CR-Z on the closed parking lot and I try to zero start and choose each driving mode. When I chose ECON and NORMAL mode, tachometer's hand was slow which mean engine is making low power. When I choose POWER mode and I kick the gas pedal with same quantity as when I chose ECON and NORMAL mode, tachometer's hand is faster than last time and I feel the more power. That's feel like starting to work supercharger.
There is circle light between the tachometer and digital speed meter. The circle light say red when you choose SPORT mode. The circle light say blue when you choose NORMAL or ECON mode. The circle light say green when you drive and you save fuel. The engineer of CR-Z was thinking CR-Z was sport car that's why anybody can feel the feeling of sport car for CR-Z in SPORT mode, which with 6-speed stick shift is same feeling as Civic Type-R, CVT transmission have paddle shift which is good responsively. Some Japanese car magazines test the CR-Z on the closed racetrack and nobody say negative word. I thought if I would drive the CR-Z on the closed racetrack, CR-Z's battery for electric motor die soon but nobody say the battery problem on the magazines. I am not sure that means no problem for driving CR-Z on the closed racetrack.
How is the tuning parts for CR-Z? Mugen and Honda Modulo release the body kit, exhaust system and lowering suspension, etc. HKS is developing supercharger system for CR-Z now. I think many tuning shops and companies start to develop the tuning parts for CR-Z now. I think Honda and Mugen will build the CR-Z racecars. You will see many tuning CR-Z before Honda of USA start to sell the CR-Z in USA. If you didn't like hybrid cars, please try to test drive CR-Z and I think your mind will change for the hybrid cars.