• May 11, 2010
2011 Honda CR-Z – Click above for high-res image gallery

According to John Mendel, executive vice president for automobile sales at American Honda, people his age (55, for what it's worth) remember the seminal CRX as a highly tunable and fun-to-drive little hatchback that happened to get excellent fuel economy. Sure, we'll go along with that. Mendel continues, though, to suggest that the Japanese automaker expects its new CR-Z hybrid hatch to sell in large numbers to those older-generation tuners. Really?

Sure, we suppose we can buy the argument that the tuning crowd will see the the car's hybrid system as more than just a means to boost fuel efficiency. After all, it does add about 20 horsepower to the car's final output. But bear in mind that the power figure we're talking about is still just 122 ponies and 128 lb-ft of torque. And that's not a lot of power to work with, though we'd imagine the six-speed manual gearbox will help extract those overworked horses.

Now that it's a decade old, the original two-seat Honda Insight has indeed earned a bit of credibility from the tuner crowd... but most of its credentials come from all-out engine swaps that allow the car's light weight and aerodynamic prowess to truly shine. We can't imagine much of that going on with this brand-new CR-Z. But what do we know? Here's hoping that Honda's upcoming sporty hybrid hatchback beats all of our lofty expectations.



[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req'd]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 66 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      One reason it will not appeal is . . . not only is the engine unappealingly weak with virtually no tuner potential, but the car is downright ugly. It doesn't have the cool looks of the original CRX or even the futuristic looks of the original Insight coupe. It looks like an anteater on wheels. The bulbus nose is w-a-y too long, too 'fat', and ill-proportioned with the rest of the car's design. Sorry Honda, but it's just not a good-looking car(!).
        • 4 Years Ago
        The last good-looking Honda was the S2000. After that, it's like Honda just gave up.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can picture this car appealing to either hairdressers or girls who focus their energy on talking on their cell phones first - driving their cars second.

      I wish they'd bring on a REAL replacement for a CRX or Prelude rather then waste engineering efforts on mediocre vehicles like this or the Insight. If you are going to introduce hybrid vehicles, you should at least equal or exceed the ones that are already on the market..not fall well below them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Tuning a hybrid... that seems like a monumentally bad idea. The thought of some idiot kid messing with the powertrain on a hybrid in an attempt to tune it seems like a great way for a person to off themselves. There is lethal amperage going on under the hood in certain areas of hybrids. I've known a few "tuners" all of them were morons, the idea of any of them jacking around with a hybrid scares the crap out of me for there safety.
      • 4 Years Ago
      People have been putting regular engines into the first gen Insight? Didn't know that!
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's too obvious. Lightweight and aerodynamic. I just wish they'd make *non* hybrids this way.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If Kitami Jun wouldn't touch it, then no one should.

      Very few people on here I'm sure will know what I'm talking about.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Your make belief person doesn't even like fuel injection, so of course he wouldn't touch this -- it's from the new side of the 80s.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Surprisingly, Kitami Jun is based on a real person.

        Look it up!

        And yes, you are right. But he has been known to work on Fuel Injected cars before...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Translation: It's going to be expensive, and the only way to wring any power out of it is to do a K20A swap.

      Awesome....
        • 4 Years Ago
        @FlappyPaddle

        Unless you put the K20 in the back............. RWDK20ACR-ZFTMFW!

        • 4 Years Ago
        If only Honda was as cool as Renault who actually had the stones to make a Clio V6...
        • 4 Years Ago
        That was my one thought, dead on actually. But then I was like well I have to be original so I just came up with this one so its a work in progress, Boost the wee little 1.5 to as much as it can handle with out grenadeing (dont worry about turbo lag), then tune the IMA to help get it off the line until the turbo hits full steam and wham there you have it one hell of a fast CRZ, thinking even in a low boost form 180hp combined maybe possible while keeping weight down over the front wheels, where as swapping the K20 in would make it understeer possibly like a pig?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Something tells me this version won't be able to do this:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhghRPqLhP8
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm sure there will be mods available, mostly appearance.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wings and body kits add 10hp!
      • 4 Years Ago
      If Honda would drop the Z from the name and replace it with an X followed by and SI and put the 200 hp Civic SI engine in that car they would have a car that they would struggle to keep in stock because it would sell terribly well. But sadly in this new world of mpg and co2 numbers that is unlikely to happen. Even though it could easily get over 30 miles to the gallon.

      But the real sad part is that the original CRX got better gas mileage and would still be more fun to drive. Hybrid = crap
        • 4 Years Ago
        If Honda just put the original CRX HF back into production with a modernized engine, they'd beat the emissions and have a great tuner package.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No.
      • 4 Years Ago
      To clarify the porker comment - sub 2000 lbs. was only possible because the original Insight was a crazy-stupid loss-leader aluminum white elephant. Great engineering. Yes. But Honda lost money on every car sold. Did anyone try to buy an Insight when it was $18k new at dealerships and the Civic Hybrid had been released. I did and the dealer a) didn't have any Insights and b) refused to try to help me find where I could get on. The memo had already gone out: stop selling the loss leader. It's a money loser and we only sell it in theory.

      I would also venture to guess that every part on the original Insight was designed to be lighter and barely able to do it's job. That's the right way to build a hypermiler, but Tuners want to race their cars around, so the CR-Z will have realistic sized brakes, real sized wheels/tires, etc.

      And what's with bagging on Macpherson struts. Again, Honda Boys are in their own bubble.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How much longer are we gonna beat this dead horse? AutoBlog, give us news about the CR-Z when it actually comes out or someone drives it or something... Lack of power, lackluster styling, blah blah blah... I'm tired of opinions until someone actually drives it, tests it, and reviews it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That is exactly why blogs will never replace REAL Automotive Magazines, who always test drive first.........and talk later.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Fifth Gear put out a review of it a couple-few weeks ago. Though they didn't exactly rave about it, their impression of the CRZ was decidedly not negative.
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