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You may love that new car smell, but don’t breathe in too deep – it could make you sick.
Automakers sometimes use volatile chemicals in its cars’ interiors and there’s a study out from the Ecology Center that lists the worst offenders and the safest bets. The problem with that “new car smell” is that it contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are bad for breathing, especially when it’s confined to such a small place – like a car.
Making the worst list are the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the Chrysler 300C and the Kia Soul. In the Mitsubishi Outlander, the Ecology Center states that its interior “contained bromine and antimony-based flame retardants in the seating and center console; chromium-treated leather on several components; and over 400 ppm lead in seating materials.”
But you can breathe easy in certain vehicles. On the safest cars list, from an interior chemical standpoint, are the Honda Civic, the Toyota Prius and the Honda CR-Z.
You can see what cars make the worst and best lists after the jump.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
Honda has already locked down 7,000 orders for its CR-Z hybrid sports car, more than half of the car’s annual sales target of 12,000 units. Still, Honda should be cautiously optimistic as last year sales of the new Insight model started out strong but started to dwindle once Toyota released its third-generation Prius – a direct competitor. Overall, Honda still managed to move 92,283 Insights in 2009, 50 percent more than the sales target. In the U.S., sales of the Insight weren’t nearly as good, with Honda missing the mark of 100,000 units by a fair margin. The good news for Honda is that the CR-Z will have no competitor in the near future, when it goes on sale in the Summer.
Honda is hoping to sell 15,000 CR-Z models in the U.S. this year.
The CR-Z stands alone in the marketplace, as a two-seater hybrid, using a 1.5-liter gasoline engine and electric assist motor, to deliver 122-hp and a 36/38 mpg (city/highway) rating. The car’s biggest potential problem is that as good as those numbers are, they aren’t as good as the standard Insight and performance is less than impressive with a 0-62 mph time of 9.7 seconds. Still, as the only hybrid on the market with a six-speed manual transmission and Honda’s reputation for driving dynamics, we’ll hold off on a final comment until we get to drive it.
GALLERY: Honda CR-Z
[Source: Automotive News]
New hybrid Honda hatch gets 36-mpg city, 38-mpg highway
Honda has just unveiled the production version of the CR-Z hybrid, looking like and taking after the original CRX. The CRX, after all, was introduced as a fuel efficient model, that quickly became a favorite of enthusiasts and tuners alike due to its sporty driving dynamics.
“The CR-Z is a personal sport hybrid coupe for people with a spirit of adventure and an elevated sense of responsibility toward the environment,” said John Mendel, VP of sales for American Honda. “It’s the first hybrid designed to maximize style and fun, in addition to efficiency and economy.”
The CR-Z uses a 1.5-liter gasoline engine and an electric motor to make 122-hp at 6000 rpm and 128 ft-lbs of torque at 1000 to 1500 rm when mated to a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission or 122-hp and 123 ft-lbs of torque with a CVT automatic (which features paddle shifters by the way). As for fuel-economy, it’s rated at 36-mpg city and 38-mpg highway.
The CR-Z comes with a three-mode driving system, with buttons on the steering wheel to choose Sport, Normal and Economy driving. Sport mode delivers a more responsive throttle, with tighter steering and the tachometer lights up bright red when in Sport model. Econ mode delivers optimum fuel efficiency with reduced pedal feel. The air conditioning system will also reduce its lag on the engine in Econ mode. Normal mode delivers standard settings, and in both Normal and Econ mode, the tachometer display will light up blue or green depending on how the vehicle is driven – with a green display representing the most fuel-efficient driving.
Like the Insight, the CR-Z offers and Eco Guide to help driver’s keep track of fuel economy.
Two trim levels will be offered in the U.S., a base CR-Z and well-equipped EX model. The six-speed manual is standard, as is Vehicle Stability Assist, an AM/FM/CD/USB audio system with six speakers, automatic climate control, power windows and door locks, remote entry and cruise control. The CR-Z EX includes HID Headlights fog lights, a 360-Watt AM/FM/CD premium audio system with seven speakers including subwoofer, Bluetooth and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. EX models will get the option for navigation.
GALLERY: Honda CR-Z Word Premiere
GALLERY: Honda CR-Z Official Images
Read more on the 2011 Honda CR-Z after the jump:
New photos of the Honda CR-Z have surfaced online, this time showing the new hybrid sports car’s interior and engine. Inside the cabin looks quite premium and has a typically Honda design. The seats look extremely well bolstered, although head room doesn’t exactly look plentiful. There are photos showing both the manual and automatic (likely CVT) shifters, as well as a LCD display screen and several images showing the speedometer and how it changes color to reflect the driving efficiency.
There’s also a shot of the IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) powerplant, which consists of a 112-hp and 107 ft-lbs of torque 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder gasoline engine, which is mated to an electric motor, producing an additional 14-hp and 57 ft-lbs of torque. Honda claims a 0-62 mph time of 9.7 seconds.
As for fuel-economy, the CR-Z is rated at 52/59 mpg (City/Highway) in the Japanese test cycle. Those numbers aren’t expected to be nearly so high in North America once the EPA gets a hold of the CR-Z.
There’s no official word, but Honda may debut the production version CR-Z at the Detroit Auto Show on January 11th.
GALLERY: Honda CR-Z Hybrid
Hot on the heels of a leaked brochure outlining the many details of Honda’s upcoming CR-Z hybrid sports car, a similar brochure showing a modification package by famed Honda-tuner Mugen has appeared online.
No details on the kit have been confirmed but judging from the photo we’re looking at a new aero package including front and rear bumpers, side skirts and a roof-mounted spoiler that really gives the CR-Z an aggressive look. A larger set of light-weight wheels is also a part of the package and we expect a few added goodies to also be included.
As for the CR-Z itself, we have learned that it will be powered by an Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) gasoline/electric setup with a 1.5-liter engine and electric motor. Engine power is 112-hp and 107 ft-lbs, while the electric motor kicks in 14-hp and 57 ft-lbs. With either a six-speed manual or CVT gearbox, the CR-Z can hit 62 mph in an unimpressive 9.7 seconds – just a tenth faster than the Prius.
Different driving modes will be available, including Eco, Normal and Sport. And while the CR-Z doesn’t get sports car performance, it certainly does seem to get hybrid fuel economy. In the Japanese test cycle the car is rated at 52/59 mpg. At first this seems to put it way ahead of the Insight which is rated at 40/43 mpg in the U.S., but in Japan the Insight rates at between 61 and 70 mpg on the Japanese test cycle, meaning that the CR-Z is likely to come in below the Insight in terms of fuel economy.
We’ll have to wait for the car’s North American debut to get the official numbers.
GALLERY: Mugen Honda CR-Z
GALLERY: Leaked Honda CR-Z Official Brochure
Engine specifications revealed ahead of hybrid sportcar's debut
Thanks to an official brochure that has slipped out, we now have our first glimpse at what the production version of Honda’s upcoming CR-Z hybrid sports car looks like. We also have the specs.
As expected, little has changed from the concept version with the CR-Z taking design cues from the Insight, Civic Type-R hatchback and retaining the chopped-off rear made famous by the CRX.
Under the hood Honda will use its Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) gasoline/electric setup with a 1.5-liter engine and electric motor. Engine power is 112-hp and 107 ft-lbs, while the electric motor kicks in 14-hp and 57 ft-lbs. With either a six-speed manual or CVT gearbox, the CR-Z can hit 62 mph in an unimpressive 9.7 seconds – just a tenth faster than the Prius.
Different driving modes will be available, including Eco, Normal and Sport. And while the CR-Z doesn’t get sports car performance, it certainly does get hybrid fuel economy, trumping the Insight and even the Prius. We didn’t notice the numbers at first, but an AutoGuide reader (Thanks crxgator!) pointed them out to us. The CR-Z is rated at an incredible 52/59 mpg!
As this is a Japanese brochure it’s not guaranteed that these specifications will carry over exactly to the North American spec model, but they are likely to be close.