Friday, August 13, 2010

When Honda showed the Honda CR-Z concept

When Honda showed the CR-Z concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2007, it appeared alongside some of the wacky Japanese design exercises that the biannual show is known for. The CR-Z doesn't resemble anything else in the Honda (or Acura) lineup. The CR-Z may look even weirder on paper. That original wedge-shaped Insight was rated at 65 miles per gallon in combined city-highway driving (a figure adjusted to 53 mpg after the calculation method was changed in 2008). By comparison, the combined economy rating for the current four-door Insight is 41 mpg. The Ford Fusion Hybrid is rated at 39 and the Toyota Prius at 50. The current, second-generation Insight seats four. (CR-Zs sold on other continents come with a tiny back seat.)

The petrol engine alone makes 113bhp at 6,100rpm and 107lb/ft at 4,800rpm, but total system output from both motors is 124bhp and 128lb/ft between just 1,000-1,500rpm.

How does the Honda CR-Z drive? Eco neuters the engine in the interests of economy, while normal is, well, normal and Sport sharpens the throttle response, primes the hybrid system to assist more and adds weight to the steering.

Honda claims a flaccid 10.2sec to 100kph.

Cockpit visuals aside, the Honda CR-Z shows absolutely no evidence of being a hybrid, but instead feels every bit the ’80s hot hatch. A great exhaust note that promises more than the engine delivers in raw grunt, but the steering, body control and brakes to make the most of it

The new layout ought to improve handling, but it definitely helps the stance; the mad origami styling is original and entirely modern but references Honda’s sharp, ’80s CR-X baby coupe

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