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10. Honda CR-Z Mugen RZ
Like the 2012 SEMA Show in America, the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon was packed with Toyota and Subaru’s latest sports car. But that’s not to say that there weren’t plenty of other attractions on the Makuhari Messe Convention Center show floor.
Coming in 10th on our list of Top 10 Cars of the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon is the Honda CR-Z Mugen RZ. Perhaps what the CR-Z should have been from the factory, minus the rear spoiler, the Mugen RZ is a supercharged hybrid powered by a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder with 153 hp. Five-away adjustable coilovers give the CR-Z the sporty handling it deserves, while the body styling gives the CR-Z a much more attractive design. Too bad Mugen is only planning on selling 300 of them.
And Why They're Wrong
With an almost never ending list of myths and rumors, few vehicles are as misunderstood as the hybrid.
Almost every review or video posted on AutoGuide.com about a hybrid car has at least one reader comment about how the battery will deteriorate beyond repair, or that once you get a hybrid, you’re not a true driving enthusiast.
With so much misinformation about hybrid vehicles being spread around, we’ve decided to debunk six myths about gas-electric cars.
10. Kia Forte
USAA has compiled a list of the top ten cars for teens based on a recent survey where parents determined their most important factors when choosing a vehicle for their teenager. Those factors were reliability, a high safety rating and affordable auto insurance.
At number 10 on the list of top 10 cars for teens is the Kia Forte, a compact offering from the Korean automaker that comes in two-door coupe, four-door sedan, and five-door hatchback form. Starting at $15,200 the Forte comes with either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 156-hp and 144 lb-ft of torque, or a 2.4-liter with 173-hp and 168 lb-ft of torque. Both powerplants offer great fuel mileage as well, with the 2.0L automatic getting 26-mpg city, 36-mpg highway and the 2.4L netting 23-mpg city, 32-mpg highway.
Joining the Prius Hybrid race car will be a Honda CR-Z developed with M-TEC Co., Ltd. and will be campaigned by Team Mugen. The hybrid racer won’t, however, be competing until Round 4 of the Super GT Series.
Unfortunately not a lot of details have been released by Honda, other than confirmation that the race car will be a reality and will have a hybrid racing system. The development driver for the project will be Hideki Mutoh, who is known for competing in the IndyCar Series and the GT500 class of Super GT. We’re guessing it will be some time before photos of the finished project surface considering Round 4 of the Super GT 2012 schedule isn’t until July 30th, 2012.
[Source: Jon Sibal]
It’s amazing to think that it’s been 12 years since Honda introduced its first hybrid vehicle – the first generation Insight – to the world. Back in November 1999, the Insight was a peculiar hybrid but still boasted the world’s highest fuel economy among all gasoline-powered vehicles.
And despite Toyota clearly surpassing Honda in hybrid development (and sales), the Japanese automaker is still proud to announce that it has surpassed 800,000 hybrid vehicle sales worldwide.
Currently, Honda sells seven hybrid models in approximately 50 different countries around the world. The Acura ILX, which will launch in the North American market in spring 2012, will bring that total to eight.
Honda’s hybrid sales have increased steadily over the last couple of years. In 2005, with just the Civic Hybrid, Accord Hybrid and first-generation Insight on the market, Honda hit 100,000 units. May 2007 saw the achievement of 200,000 units, but it wasn’t until August of 2009, when the second-generation Insight came to the market, that Honda topped the 400,000 mark. In 2010, Honda introduced the CR-Z and the Fit Hybrid and by the end of the year has surpassed the 600,000 unit landmark. A year later in December of 2011, Honda was happy to have surpassed 800,000 hybrid vehicles total.
While Honda continues to be one of the biggest names in hybrid technology and sales, it’s well off the pace of Toyota which to date has sold well over three million gas-electric vehicles.
Even though it was originally reported that Mugen’s supercharged Honda CR-Z would never see production, it looks like Toyota‘s introduction of the GT 86 and Subaru‘s BRZ might have changed Honda’s mind just a little bit. Mugen Euro and Honda confirmed that their supercharged 197-hp CR-Z will see the light of day with an estimated base price of around $35,650 (£23,000) based on today’s conversion rates.
The pricing actually isn’t that bad when compared to the price of a standard CR-Z in the UK, which is around £18,000. With the extra dollars, enthusiasts will get a supercharged powerplant with a retuned ECU, upping the factory 122-bhp and 128 lb-ft of torque to 197-bhp and 158 lb-ft of torque. In addition, buyers will be able to choose from a plethora of Mugen accessories including suspension upgrades, larger wheels, bigger brakes, a carbon hood and even carbon doors. The electric motor on the CR-Z has been untouched.
Hopefully one day we’ll see this in the States, even in a limited quantity. With the lack of a Type-R variant on any of Hondas models, a supercharged CR-Z option would be tempting to some looking for eco-friendly performance.
GALLERY: Mugen Honda CR-Z
So what is it that makes the Internet just so awesome? Well probably because without it, we’d never be able to witness the interesting sight of Honda‘s hybrid CR-Z attempting to go drifting. The footage was shot out at Heide-Park Soltau in Germany, with a “Ken Block Fan” behind the wheel, doing his best impression of the infamous driver behind the wheel of a FWD hybrid.
There is also a little bit of an attempt at comedy in the video, but all-in-all, it’s worth a watch. Even if all you’re trying to do is reassure yourself (and your friends) that there are crazier and weirder people on this planet. And it goes without saying, don’t try to go and do this if you own a CR-Z. It’ll just end badly, seriously.
Check out the video after the break.
As a result of identifying problems with power window switches, Honda Motor Co. has announced it is recalling some 960,000 vehicles worldwide.
The recall is mostly related to 2006 to early 2010 Fit subcompacts (totaling almost 800,000). In addition, in the U.S., the company is also recalling some 80,111 CR-Vs from the 2006 model year for similar problems. The recall is a result of potential problems such as fire hazards that could result from faulty electrical contacts in the switches.
Another vehicle being recalled is the CR-Z hybrid, including some 5,626 currently on US roads. In this case the problem concerns the vehicle’s Engine Control Unit; the CR-Z has come under criticism for its rather underwhelming performance, especially as it relates to fuel economy.
Honda hasn’t said how much this global recall will cost, though with it following in the wake of supplier struggles resulting from the March 11 earthquake in Japan, it has proved yet again, that 2011 is shaping up to be one of the most difficult years the automaker has faced in recent times.
Honda is giving Japanese CR-Z enthusiasts a limited edition Alpha Black Label model, featuring a sleek all-black leather interior that will also be available with the limited edition Yellow Pearl Premium II paint shade. The black leather interior is a sharp contrast from the grey cloth that is currently available and looks much more refined in the CR-Z. Based on today’s conversion rates, the Alpha Black Label CR-Z will run around $31,800.
In addition to the Yellow Pearl offering, the CR-Z Alpha Black Label will be available on six other CR-Z colors including their Dark Pewter Metallic, Turquoise Horizon Pearl, Premium White Pearl, Milano Red, Crystal Black Pearl and Storm Silver Metallic. Inside, the front seats, door linings, meter visor, and shift boot (six-speed manual model only) are all swapped out for black components. The car also gets premium pedals and 16-inch wheels powdercoated a metallic gray.
GALLERY: Honda Alpha Black Label CR-Z
Residents of Fangchenggang, a part of the Guanxi Province in China, are in an uproar after discovering that the local police had rebadged a Mercedes-Benz ML350 police car as a Honda CR-V in hopes that citizens wouldn’t realize how much money was being spent on the local police department. The silly attempt at covering up the Mercedes may have worked a few years ago, but with more and more car enthusiasts in China these days, it simply backfired on the local police department.
An ML350 costs around $139,000 in China versus the CR-V’s price tag of a relatively meager $30,000. It’s rather entertaining that they would even come up with this sort of cover-up idea, and it’s even worse that the police are flat out denying that they did anything to the car. With all the criticism of the Chinese government lately of wasting taxpayers money, this is probably the last thing they needed to surface.
But hey, this could just all be a misunderstanding. Maybe the Chinese government really thought they were getting Honda CR-Vs.
The Honda CR-Z Mugen RR Concept represents Mugen’s racing spirit and is intended to give a look at the brand’s future design language. The aggressive CR-Z RR features a whole new front end, fully equipped with a new bumper, wider front fenders, new side skirts, aggressive rear bumper, rear spoiler and 18-inch wheels. Gone is the mundane styling that many expect from a hybrid and the CR-Z RR really shows off what Mugen is all about. We’re also loving the shade Mugen paired up with the RR concept. On the inside, the orange theme continues, accented with various carbon fiber components.
From the official press release it sounds like Mugen will move ahead with this kit. Paired with performance upgrades it’s already developed, this could make quite an impressive hybrid tuner package.
GALLERY: Mugen Honda CR-Z RR Concept
It’s been quite a while since Mugen and Honda had this much buzz surrounding a car. And while some are still rolling their eyes at the thought of a modified hybrid, Mugen is definitely poised to prove that you can have your cake and eat it too, finally announcing full specs of its supercharged CR-Z.
At the core of it all, Mugen has taken the CR-Z’s standard 1.5L and rebuilt it with upgraded internal components. The iCF system, which stands for Integrated Centrifugal Forced-induction (aka, supercharged), works flawlessly on the electric motor-engine combination. The result is an impressive increase in horsepower and torque, with 197-hp and 158 lb-ft, up from the factory’s 122-hp and 128 ft-lbs.
Even more impressive is Mugen’s comparison of the CR-Z to the infamous Honda Civic Type-R, stating that its 0-62 mph time is very close at 6.6 seconds. Mugen is looking to shave off even more weight from the CR-Z, hoping to make it quicker than the Civic Type-R was.
For those wondering what the impact is on fuel consumption, it’s fairly impressive to hear that the CR-Z in “eco” mode still retains 42-mpg while in “Mugen” mode it consumes 29.4-mpg. Overall, still not too shabby given the performance numbers it’s boasting.
And of course the Mugen CR-Z wouldn’t be a complete package if it solely focused on what’s underneath the hood. Mugen also outfits the CR-Z with a complete aero package, 17-inch Mugen GP wheels, carbon fiber hood and doors. For suspension, five-way adjustable dampers were added while braking was enhanced through larger rotors and 4-piston calipers. The Mugen CR-Z is also equipped with a different limited slip differential to help get all the extra power to the ground.
On the inside, Mugen tosses in a set of Recaro sport seats alongside a new shift knob, carbon fiber rear view mirror cover and a trio of Mugen gauges displaying water, oil temperature and pressure. This may be one of the finest offerings Mugen has yet to offer in the recent years, and we’re excited to see it up close and personal.
GALLERY: Mugen Honda CR-Z
While it doesn’t have the K24 many a Honda fanboy had been begging for, its powerplant might just be better, with a supercharged version of the 1.5-liter 4-cylinder that retains the factory Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system. The result is 200-hp and 181 lb-ft of torque in a package that now weighs 110 lbs less than the showroom CR-Z thanks to modifications like light Mugen alloy wheels and a carbon fiber hood.
Mugen claims a 0-60 mph time of around 6.0 seconds, although this car’s real forte should be in the handling department with plenty of suspension upgrades, not to mention some more impressive brakes.
Continuing to use the 3-mode hybrid drive system, the Mugen version of the CR-Z will reportedly match the stock car’s fuel economy in ECON mode, while a special “Mugen mode” gives full power.
A one-off, the Mugen CR-Z will debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. There is a strong possibility Mugen will offer many of the parts on this car for retail sale in the near future.
GALLERY: Mugen CR-Z
Watch the video after the jump: