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Honda will build a more powerful version of the CR-Z sport hybrid and it will continue to be a hybrid, according to R&D boss Tomohiko Kawanabe.
Previous reports had suggested a CR-Z ‘Type R’ might toss the company’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system in favor of a turbocharger, but that will not be the case. Instead, the higher performance CR-Z might not be turbocharged at all.
In a recent interview Kawanabe admitted that the current model doesn’t “have the performance some customers expect,” and commented that while the addition of a turbocharger to the hybrid setup (like that found on the CR-Z Hybrid R Concept shown at last year’s SEMA Show) is an option, “a high-compression petrol engine would work better in tandem with a hybrid assist system.”
That news shouldn’t be surprising, considering Honda’s expertise in building naturally aspirated engines. With the possibility of a larger displacement block, the more powerful CR-Z is also likely to use an updated IMA system with a smaller, lighter and more powerful lithium-ion battery pack, enabling as much as twice the hybrid boost found in the current model.
GALLERY: Honda Hybrid R Concept
Read AutoGuide’s Honda CR-Z Review Here
Honda has unveiled their Jazz Hybrid, which is sold as the Fit here in North America. We won’t be getting the Fit Hybrid in our part of the world, but it doesn’t look like we’re missing out on much.
With mileage comparable to a CR-Z, and a nearly $5,000 premium over a regular Fit, the car is hardly a value proposition. In fact, we’d wager that the only real benefit is that buying one will entitle Japanese market customers to take advantage of generous subsidies offered by the government on hybrid cars. But never say never.
The Fit Hybrid will debut at the Paris Auto Show in September.
Hit the jump to see the official press release
Gallery: Honda Jazz Hybrid
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
Hybrid Odyssey a possibility
Slowly, Honda appears to be learning how the hybrid marketplace works. In a recent interview Honda CEO Takanobu Ito said that the company is working on more powerful two-mode hybrid systems (like the one used by Toyota) that will allow for the car to operate using either gas, electricity or a combination of both. Currently, Honda’s IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) setup does not allow for electric-only driving and as a result the system isn’t nearly as efficient as Toyota’s – although it is much cheaper to produce.
A more powerful two-mode hybrid setup would also be a viable drivetrain for larger vehicles, like the Accord, Pilot and Odyssey – which is rumored to have a hybrid version in 2011. Honda isn’t rushing the new two-mode setup to market, however, and is reportedly waiting on a lithium-ion battery pack to help deliver optimum fuel economy.
From 2005 to 2007, Honda made the Accord Hybrid (above). Honda built the car as more of a performance vehicle than a fuel-miser, however, and it showed. The car’s fuel economy rating wasn’t overly impressive and sales were even worse.
A two-mode hybrid setup would allow for significantly improved fuel economy, with a Hybrid Accord once again a possibility, along with a hybrid Odyssey, or Pilot or CR-V, or…
[Source: Automotive News via GreenCarReports]
As the second version of the CR-Z concept was unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Show, Honda announced the production version will be a sporty 2-seat hybrid, the first hybrid car set up with a manual transmission.
Power for the CR-Z comes from a 1.5-liter gasoline engine mated to an electric motor. This 200cc of added displacement over the 1.3-liter engine found in both the Civic Hybrid and Insight should help put more of a focus on performance.
The production version of the CR-Z will debut in January at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.
GALLERY: Honda CR-Z Concept
Honda has just announced that a revised version of its CR-Z hybrid hatchback will debut at the Tokyo Auto Show next month. Honda has already produced a concept version of this car, but the new one (shown above) is as close to production as concepts get. The design has been toned down just ever so slightly, while the interior is as road-ready as a Honda Fit’s. In fact, the car looks deliciously CRX-like.
A production version of the car is expected in Japan next year with sales in North America the year after.
Power for the CR-Z comes from a 1.5-liter gasoline engine mated to an electric motor. This 200cc of added displacement over the 1.3-liter engine found in both the Civic Hybrid and Insight should help put more of a focus on performance. Apparently, the car will also be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox, as opposed to a CVT transmission – a first for a hybrid.
Let’s just hope the CR-Z is more Fit-like than Insight-like and that the Japanese automaker known for its engine building prowess can make the company’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system a bit more competitive with Toyota’s setup.
GALLERY: Honda CR-Z Concept
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
Official release after the jump:
New stand-alone hybrid model from Honda to get 40/43 mpg city/highway
Honda may have beat Toyota to the hybrid game, but Toyota has certainly been beating Toyota AT it. It is for that reason that Honda has created a stand-alone hybrid model, the Insight.
Unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show without fanfare – or even without a press conference, two different Insight models sat in the Honda booth.
Marketed as a Hybrid Compact Car (the Prius is technically large enough inside to no longer be considered a compact car) the Insight is a five passenger five door vehicle powered by a 1.3-liter four-cylinder i-VTEC motor, an electric engine and a battery pack. Honda calls this system IMA for Integrated Motor Assist and it produces a combined 98hp at 5800 rpm and 123 ft-lbs of torque at 1000 rpm.
Honda will apparently continue to sell the Civic Hybrid which makes 110hp and is a larger vehicle with a 6-inch longer wheelbase.
The Insight will feature a CVT transmission, which helps the vehicle tro achieve an estimated 40 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway.
A unique feature of the Insight is the Eco Assist system, which will change the background color of the speedometer to let drivers know how economically they are driving.
Honda also includes an ECON mode that can be activated by a putton on the steering wheel. Once pushed the vehicle will take steps to preserve fuel, including: increasing when the gasolie engine will stop under idle; reducing the climate control fan speed; reducing the throttle inputs and optimizing the CVT operation; and by limiting power and torque by four percent.
2010 Honda Insight
Official release after the jump: