Honda will fast-track production of turbocharged CR-Z

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 19, 2011

Sources say that because of strong buyer feedback and the steep drop-off in domestic sales, Honda will be fast-tracking the production of its hot turbocharged CR-Z. Sources told Autocar that the vehicle will be offered in two guises -- a 160bhp and 200bhp version. It’s possible that the production version will debut as early as next December at the Tokyo show.

A turbocharged 1.6-litre unit will power the vehicle. This unit offers the performance of a 2.0-litre engine due to its forced induction and Honda’s patented VTEC-i fully variable camshaft timing system.

The CR-Z is offered only with one engine: a hybrid that consists of a 102 hp 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to a 10 hp electric motor. 

This means that the standard version has a total output of 122 hp and 128 lb-ft. of torque at 1,000 to 1,500 rpm (123 lb-ft on CVT-equipped models). 

Needless to say, this has disappointed many potential buyers. The new model is also expected to offer a performance clutch; limited-slip differential, a new suspension, upgraded brakes and aerodynamic components.

When viewed, the Honda CR-Z’s exterior design immediately brings to mind the iconic style that was the CR-X of the 1980s. Originally, the CR-X was developed to be a stylish yet small car that could attain amazing economy.

The CR-Z manages to reference some of the CR-X’s trademarked features like the low shallow raked roofline and split level rear glass hatch. However in the CR-Z, these are combined with a deeply sculpted and curved exterior form.

In particular, the shallow raked roofline and the truncated tail seen in the CR-Z are reminiscent of Honda models of the past and present not limited to the CR-Z but also includes the FCX Clarity and 1999 Insight.

Each of these models has been designed in a way that it can cut through the air with less disturbance and even reduce drag in order to result in lower emissions and less fuel consumption. The headlights of the CR-Z are placed on the lower portion of its front lights and highlighted with the LED day time running lights.

This configuration marks the first time that a production version of a Honda has put LED running lights on its front portion. The reason for this is that it emphasizes its wide sporting stance. The interior of the production version meanwhile is clearly motivated by the interior of the Honda CR-Z Concept that was first displayed at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show.

This is true especially with the cabin that has a 3D speedometer and a more driver-focused design. The instrument binnacle not only exhibits high-technology features but has also been placed near to the driver’s frequently used controls.

This ensures that the driver can focus on driving all the time. The dashboard sports an interesting yet complex form. The upper part is dark and gives the appearance of floating above its lower section, which is in light grey. This form is also seen in the center of its inner door panels.

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