Compact, sporty coupes are a fast-growing segment right now. Honda returned to the segment in 2010 with the CR-Z, a front-wheel drive coupe with distinctive styling and a hybrid powertrain.
At the Paris Auto Show, Honda displayed the updated version of the CR-Z, which had already made a surprise debut in Indonesia and will go on sale in January 2013. It sports subtle cosmetic revisions, including a revised front grille and rear diffuser, plus two new exterior colors.
However, it’s under the skin, that Honda engineers focused their attention – more specifically on the CR-Z’s IMA hybrid powertrain.
The 1.5-liter four-cylinder petrol engine received changes to the ECU and the variable valve timing system, an upgraded material for the crankshaft and an anti-vibration knock sensor. As a result, the internal-combustion engine’s power has been increased from 112Hp to 119Hp (114 to 121PS).
The CR-Z also has ditched the Nickel-metal battery in favor of a new lithium-ion unit, which ups the electrical system’s output by more than 50 percent, from 14 to 20 HP (10 to 15 kW or 14 to 20PS).
Total combined output of the hybrid powertrain is up by 13HP, to 135HP (137PS) and maximum torque up by 16 Nm (11.8 lb-ft) to 190 Nm (140 lb-ft).
Naturally, performance has been improved. According to Honda, the CR-Z now accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.0, instead of 9.7, seconds and reaches a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). Average consumption is 5.0 lt/100 km (56.5 mpg UK, 47 mpg US) and CO2 emissions stand at 116 g/km.
The revised CR-Z, apart from the usual ECON, Normal and Sport modes, also sports a Plus Sport system. When the battery has a charge of more than 50 percent, the driver gets a boost in acceleration courtesy of the electrical system for up to 10 seconds by simply pressing the S+ button on the steering wheel.
By Andrew Tsaousis