Honda unveiled its face-lifted CR-Z in Japan on Thursday, Automotive News is reporting, which means the slow-selling car will have a future in the U.S. and Canada for at least another year.
The updated nose and redesigned rear bumper cover the fact that the car hasn’t mechanically changed from this year. The same 130-horsepower, four-cylinder hybrid will power the car, mated to either a 6-speed manual or continuously variable transmission.
Despite its critical reception as a relatively slow sportscar, engineers increased the size of the CR-Z’s brakes 10 millimeters.
Honda is doing a bit of late spring cleaning as it looks to get its hybrid house in order. The automaker announced production of the Civic CNG has ended and multiple hybrid models will soon get the axe.
Honda isn’t abandoning hybrid technology, however, as John Mendel, Executive Vice President, Automobile Division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., hinted there are replacements in the pipeline in a release sent out today.
Once upon a time I wanted a Pontiac Fiero. Then the original Honda CRX awakened me to the joys of driving a small car sideways. It was what the Fiero, similarly pitched as an economical commuter, should have been. In comparison, even the second-generation CRX seemed too large, too refined, and disappointingly dull. Fast forward a quarter century, and the Honda Insight is perhaps the most disappointing car I’ve driven in recent years. So when Honda announced that it would base a new two-seater on the Insight, and call it the CR-Z, I fearfully predicted that it would look like the CRX, but drive like the Insight. And?
It’s now way past bedtime, and I’m driving the new Honda CR-Z in one of those neighborhoods you wouldn’t be making your evening stroll in. Heads turn, necks stretch, fingers point. Blacked out windows of blacked out SUVs are rolled down. Everybody on the street seems to approve Honda’s new creation, but no one knows it’s a hybrid.
You can test drive a CR-Z for yourself starting on August 24, and goodness knows we’ll be lining up for a crack at it. Early reviews from Europe confirm the impression left by the stat sheet: the CR-Z is neither the re-birth of the CRX, nor the re-birth of the Mk1 Insight. And starting at $19,200, it’s not exactly cheap either [press release here]. Yes, it offers AM/FM/CD/USB audio system with six speakers, automatic climate control, power windows and door locks, remote entry, and cruise control at that base price, and quite a bit more in the $20,760 CR-Z EX, but is there a market in the US for a hybrid that’s smaller than a Prius but less efficient? And didn’t the Mk2 Insight already answer that question? We’ll wait to put the CR-Z through its paces before we pass (further) judgment, but this has the look of a Fiero-style “commuter car” rather than a legitimate sports coupe.
Honda is perplexed and overwhelmed by the demand for their just launched CR-Z small sports hybrid car, says The Nikkei [sub]. Honda had planned for 1000 a month, which turned out to be a big mistake. After one month, they already have more than 10,000 orders, and a hard time filling them. They’ve sold in one month what they wanted to sell in a year, more or less, and the orders keep pouring in. (Read More…)