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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Oct 05 2010, 7:28 AM

The Consumerist recently released its picks for the Worst Ads of 2010 and Honda‘s latest installment of its “Mr. Opportunity” series finished third. For this, the first ever Worst Ads in America segment, The Consumerist picked what it determined to be the worst five and then they let people vote for the winners (losers). We’re surprised the ad finished as well as it did.

We know it’s nothing more than an innocent little commercial meant to inform you of the 2010 Clearance Sale, so you can’t expect Honda to pull out all stops for what amounts to “old stock we need to move.” Still, a little effort goes a long way, fellas…

This ad looks like something the intern (Doug) whipped up on his netbook one afternoon when he got bored with shredding old Prelude brochures. The Honda brass (Tim, Jerry) peaked over the cubicle booth, saw the blurry, choppy flash animation combined with nightlife action straight out of daytime television and figured, what-the-hell… if it worked for Brad Pitt and Kim Basinger in Cool World (there’s a reason you don’t remember this movie), let’s run with it.

And so they did.

Why is it that these types of ads are run nonstop throughout the television landscape, while the ads we actually want to see are aired once during the Superbowl when we’re b-lining it to the bathroom with six liters of Sierra Mist in our bladders? This curious decision is the reason why we end up spending much more time with the beyond bland, fun-killing spokesman-slash-Hanna Barbera reject Mr. Opportunity than we do with something at least worthy of our attention, like Honda’s rather clever ad for the CR-Z:

[Source:  The Consumerist]

Check out both commercials after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Sep 21 2010, 1:46 AM

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Customized hybrids look to be gaining popularity, as is evidenced by this AMS Honda CR-Z. Overall it’s pretty clean but just a tad too aggressive for our tastes. The center exit dual exhaust with a wickedly designed carbon fiber diffuser features more sharp lines and angles than we care to count. The rear spoiler on the trunk is pretty clean though and rounds off the CR-Z’s natural shape pretty well.

The front three-quarter view of the car really shows off AMS’ goal of making this CR-Z aggressive. The kit is headed in the right direction but still looks a bit too busy. We could also do with a different set of wheels – those babies look way too big on that CR-Z’s body.

While this may be the most aggressively tuned CR-Z to date, it’s certain to be outdone soon with Honda having shipped several of its new hybrid coupes do tuners throughout the U.S. to build show cars for the upcoming SEMA Show. We’ve already provided teasers on a few of them and will be sure to report back with full coverage of the 2010 SEMA Show starting in early November.

GALLERY: AMS Honda CR-Z Terra

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[Source: Farm of Minds]

 |  Sep 15 2010, 10:11 PM

Looks like HKS isn’t the only kid on the block looking for big horsepower gains with Honda‘s newest cool hybrid, the CR-Z. And perhaps this really solidifies a changing of the times considering Top Secret is well known for their wicked drift cars and high horsepower 350Zs and Supras. They’re also well known for their blistering high-speed test runs, so to see Smoky Nagata of Top Secret working away on Honda’s ZF1 hybrid powerplant shows that hybrids and tuning are going to go hand-in-hand for decades to come.

Aftermarket manufacturers are going crazy out in Japan over hybrids and seeing what Top Secret is developing for the CR-Z is slightly astonishing. We can’t quite decipher what’s going on from the magazine snippet – and would love if someone could offer us a translation – but Top Secret is definitely underway in producing a single turbo upgrade and even has a titanium induction kit, oil catch tank and tow hook out to the public now. The stuff comes at a price though, with $995.00 as the MSRP for the Ti Induction kit straight from Japan.

We’re sure many enthusiasts are still rolling their eyes about the idea of a hybrid being turbocharged or supercharged. But let’s face it: every automotive manufacturer will be working on developing hybrids for the future to fill out their lineup with mpg-friendly cars. It’s only natural that the aftermarket will find ways to make these eco cars more fun.

GALLERY: Top Secret Honda CR-Z Parts

[Source: CRZ Forum]

 |  Aug 28 2010, 2:21 PM

An unknown builder is currently fabricating up a mid-engine Honda CR-Z, sporting a completely custom widebody and carbon fiber doors. While it may just be a concept car for the upcoming Tokyo Auto Salon, some rumors are hinting that this Honda CR-Z might be being built for the Japanese SuperGT racing series, competing in the GT300 class. Given how popular the CR-Z has already become in Japan, this would be a pretty cool move by Honda.

Currently Honda already competes in the GT500 class with the HSV-010 GT race car.

Obviously the CR-Z that any layman can buy is just a gas-saving, tree-hugging hybrid, but how wicked would it be to see this CR-Z actually perform on the track rather than just being a show car? We’re really curious as to the powerplant that’s being used as a mock up, especially as GT300 class cars make 300-hp. Stay tuned, this is one CR-Z we’re staying on top of!

[Source: GTChannel via Autoblog]

GALLERY: Widebody Honda CR-Z

 |  Aug 09 2010, 4:58 PM

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With the Honda CR-Z just hitting dealerships, plenty of excitement is brewing with all the aftermarket goodies that have already been designed and developed over in Japan. HKS has been producing high quality products for a variety of Japanese vehicles for decades and now they’re focusing on their line of GT Superchargers. And what better way to make the news than to manufacture a supercharger for the upcoming Honda CR-Z hybrid?

Currently HKS’s supercharged CR-Z makes around 170-hp, which is more than respectable for a hybrid. How it affects gas mileage, we’re not sure, since no numbers have been released. But given that it’s all in its infancy, we can expect tuners both in Japan and America to really take advantage of HKS’s GT Supercharger to push power beyond 200 while maintaining mpg when power isn’t needed.

Check out the video of the CR-Z on the dyno after the break. It’s clearly in a fast forward frame rate, but you still get the idea.

Video available after the break.

GALLERY: HKS Supercharged Honda CR-Z

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[Source: Luxury4Play]

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 |  Aug 03 2010, 9:44 AM

Hybrid tuning is about to take on a whole new face now that Honda‘s CR-Z has hit the market. Tjin Edition has been building plenty of SEMA showpieces including their most recent Chevrolet Camaro, and this year they have teamed up with Fortune Motorsports out of Miami, Florida and American Honda Motor Corporation for this year’s SEMA show.

Proving that Honda is adamant in pushing CR-Z sales to the masses, including tuners and builders, Fortune Motorsports and Tjin Edition have already teased their upcoming project well in advance of November’s SEMA Show. From what we can gather, the CR-Z will be sporting ADV1 wheels with Falken Tires, Status Racing seats and Air Lift suspension. With how successful the Prius and Insight are doing in Japan, we can only imagine the potential of the CR-Z. Will this generation of tuning catch on in America? We sure hope so, it’s always refreshing to see something new and exciting.

Official press release available after the break.

Continue Reading…

 |  Apr 28 2010, 2:58 PM

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It seems like we’re going crazy with Honda‘s new CR-Z, showing off Mugen’s initial release, TEIN’s CR-Z and  Spoon Sports’ rendition of the popular hybrid in Japan. There’s absolutely no denying the popularity of tuning and customizing hybrids in Japan, and the trend is slowly catching on in North America.

It will be mighty interesting to see how things change when Honda’s CR-Z makes it over to North America. The hatchback has become a hot contender, being a pleasant substitute to the Honda Insight or Toyota’s Prius.

We were so excited to find these new photos of Mugen’s Demo Honda CR-Z all stickered up and on display in public. The accessories offered back in February included a full aero kit, carbon fiber mirrors and choice of wheels. Interior amenities included shift knob, gauges and floor mats. Engine performance were simple bolt-ons from cat-back exhaust to air filters. Suspension and brake upgrades are typical offerings from Mugen as well.

But now it seems that Mugen is possibly going beyond as is evident with this race-inspired Honda CR-Z full of stickers. The most interesting theme is the green accents on the car that sort of remind of Takata’s infamous shade. The wheels and mirrors have been refinished, contrasting the rest of the white car but flowing well with the “Honda Green Machine” theme. It is clear that both Honda and Mugen are pushing going green and it’s even possible that they will be pushing the limits of this CR-Z Hybrid out on the track. We’ll keep our eyes out, but for now we’ll salivate over the photos.

[Source: Jon Sibal]

GALLERY: Mugen Honda CR-Z

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 |  Apr 15 2010, 5:53 PM

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Before Tein made their way to North America in the form of Tein USA, the green-branded suspension products were a rarity and collectibles amongst the JDM-fanatics. Oddly enough, when Tein did get established in America it seemed that the goodness of their products got diluted. Once items like their srings became readily available, the prestige of having some of the world’s finest suspension products didn’t seem to be as great. But at the end of the day, Tein still produces some of the world’s finest suspension products and today they’ve turned their attention to what all other JDM tuners out there are also beginning to focus on – hybrids.

The Tein 06 Honda Civic Si was one of those projects that garnered a ton of attention here in North America, especially after it was reported that it got stolen. But it was one of Tein’s finest projects, touching on all bases and perhaps made North Americans associate Tein to its eye-catching graphics found on their project cars. One thing to be aware of however is that Tein only designs and manufactures suspension products. This ranges from regular lowering springs to full coilover systems with in-car dampening control (EDFC). So most Tein projects are often unlikely to see any other major modifications unless they plan on hitting the track to showcase their suspension goods.

Thanks to the power of Google Translate, we have been keeping our eyes out on Tein’s CR-Z Special Blog page where the tuner has been showing off its testing and tuning on the new hatchback from Honda. Tein currently has Mono Flex suspension out sporting 5.0k spring rates in the front and 5.0k spring rates in the rear while lowering the car 40mm front and rear and supporting EDFC.

They also announced that the Super Street dampening system isn’t far out – a release in mid-May that has softer spring rates of 3.0k (front) and 4.0k (rear). These will have similar lowering profiles as the Mono Flex but will not support EDFC. These are probably catered much more to the street.

For regular lowering springs offerings, Tein has their High Tech springs available lowering the car 25mm in the front and 30mm in the rear unless you have an automatic, in which it’ll be 30mm in the front and 30mm in the rear. Spring rates on those are 2.2k and 4.0k for the front and rear, respectively.

It looks like by the time the Honda CR-Z goes on sale here in North America there will be plenty of products readily available for the tuner market.

GALLERY: Tein Honda CR-Z

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[Source: Tein Japan CR-Z Special Blog]

 |  Mar 09 2010, 6:03 PM

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While most of the popular aftermarket manufacturers in Japan are welcoming the hybrid craze with open arms, Spoon Sports has been quiet as of late. This can mostly be attributed to the fact that Spoon focuses and specializes with the Honda platform, and quite honestly, Honda hasn’t had an attractive enough hybrid platform in the recent years.  But this is all about to change, with the CR-Z gaining a lot of momentum as the new “hot-hatch” appealing to passionate Honda aficionados worldwide.  Needless to say it’s a perfect fit for Spoon Sports and their tuning prowess.

We’ve seen the entry from Mugen and in typical Spoon Sports fashion, they’ve thrown down the gauntlet as well. Going back to the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mugen and Spoon Sports were the most respective pair of brands for JDM Honda fanatics stateside. In fact it’s easy to argue that Mugen and Spoon Sports delivered a rivalry on its own with their prestigious and rare parts, many of them carrying a hefty price tag once they were on American soil. There’s no mistaken that this CR-Z has been Spoon-inspired.

There’s none of the traditional yellow and pastel blue to be seen, yet, but the CR93 wheels have been refinished in a stylish dark blue in true Spoon fashion.  As with almost all of Spoon Sports’ projects, the focus is on excellent tuning and track-ability.  They paid close attention with suspension and brake upgrades lowering the vehicle with coilovers in the front and a traditional shock/spring combination in the rear.  15-inch slotted rotors along with upgraded calipers are probably overkill for the hatch, but we believe Spoon has much more in terms of performance up their sleeve.

Specializing in naturally aspirated performance over the years, Spoon is currently tuning their staple N1 exhaust system along with ECU upgrades for the CR-Z. No concrete numbers have been released yet, which is understandable given how new the technology is. We have faith though and it will be an exciting time to see two of Honda’s most notorious brands battling it out on the track again, this time with CR-Z hatchbacks hopefully flying the colors we’ve grown and love over the past decade.

GALLERY: Spoon Sports CR-Z

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[Source: Spoon Sports]

 |  Jul 13 2009, 10:12 AM

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Honda has just confirmed that it will build two additional hybrid models that will go on sale in Japan starting in February 2010. The first is the highly-anticipated CR-Z hybrid and the  second is a hybrid version of the sub-compact Fit.

Both models will use Honda’s IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) hybrid system, a less sophisticated setup to the one currently running in cars like the Toyota Prius and Ford Fusion Hybrid. Honda did say, however, that it is developing a new hybrid system, which will most likely be an updated two-mode system capable of running for a certain distance on just electric energy. That system will initially be used in mid to large -sized vehicles, like the Honda Accord.

The CR-Z first launched at the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show and now that the Insight has been introduced the resemblance is obvious. We just hope the CR-Z stays true to the fun driving dynamics of the CRX and doesn’t use the out-dated torsion beam rear suspension of that the Insight uses.

Honda did not say if either model would be available outside Japan.

GALLERY: Honda CR-Z

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Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…