Honda gives CR-Z hybrid hot-hatch the green light | CAR Magazine

Honda gives CR-Z hybrid hot-hatch the green light

Published: 13 July 2009 Updated: 26 January 2015

Honda has confirmed that its nifty CR-Z hybrid hatch will get the production go-ahead for a UK debut early next summer. The announcement was made by new Honda boss Takanobu Ito – the engineer behind the NSX – and the CR-Z will join Honda’s line-up of Integrated Motor Assist-powered cars alongside the Insight and Civic hybrid.

This is great news for Honda – a return to the CR-X’s roots!

Yes, but with a timely green twist. The CX-Z – that’s ‘Compact Renaissance-Zero’ in marketing speak – fast-forwards the iconic CR-X hatch into the 21st Century with cutting-edge hybrid technology. Getting your head around a fast and frisky hybrid might be tricky, but given Honda’s significant push into hybrid propulsion spearheaded by the new Insight, the CR-Z could be just the car to turn hybrid’s fuddy-duddy image on its head.

Tell me more about the CR-X’s powertrain?

Wish we could – apart from this production announcement, Honda is remaining pretty tight-lipped about the coupe’s performance package. What we do know is that it will use a tweaked version of the Insight’s 1.3-litre engine, bolstered by the system’s torquey electric motor, to deliver an appealing combination of brisk performance and exceptional economy. So, don’t expect performance to be of the tyre-smoking calibre – insiders claim the CR-X will focus on a low kerb weight and drive engagement for its thrills rather than outright grunt.

>> Click next to read more about the Honda CR-Z

Will it still look as cool as the CR-X concept?

Yes, in a word. Honda’s recent bout of concept-derived production cars have remained pretty true to their designer roots, and Honda says the CR-X will retain its pert two-seater proportions, sculpted flanks and aggressive face. Even the clear tailgate lip will make it through to production – a hat-tip to the CR-X. Expect a pretty pared-back cabin that’s low on frippery and high on driver-centricity.

And prices?

Again, its early days yet, so there’s no official word on spec and pricing. We don’t expect Honda to pitch the new CR-Z quite as aggressively as the Insight, but the economies of scale enjoyed by rolling out the IMA architecture onto a third model should give Honda some leeway when it comes to taking on its rival. Of which there are very. The Scirocco is clearly in the XR-Z’s crosshairs, but its bigger and heavier and costlier, as are more leftfield choices like the Laguna and 407 Coupes. Expect punchy three-door hatches like the Mito, Mini, Fiesta and Swift to be its true rivals.

The hybrid that will finally turn hybrid’s worthy but dull image on its head? Let us know what you think…

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars