Honda CR-Z Hybrid R concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

As much as Honda wants us to believe that its CR-Z hatchback is some sort of "sport hybrid," the truth is that it doesn't exactly live up to our expectations. It's a decent steer, but it's not exactly a sports car, and its meager fuel efficiency is easily bested by the majority of non-hybrid B-segment offerings. According to a report from Autocar, however, Honda is rumored to be working on a CR-Z that ditches its conventional hybrid powertrain in favor of a small-displacement, turbocharged mill.

The proposed new engine is an all-new 1.6-liter unit that will produce around 160 horsepower. Autocar states that a higher-output CR-Z Type R may follow shortly thereafter, rumored to produce around 200 hp. This new powerplant is reportedly slated for use in the Honda Jazz (Fit), Civic and Accord, and could provide the basis for the next-generation Civic Si engine.

We saw a preview of Honda's hot hatch intentions at this year's SEMA show in the form of the CR-Z Hybrid R concept. That show car featured a turbocharged version of the Honda's current 1.5-liter engine, but it shows that Honda is indeed serious about reworking the CR-Z's sporting image.

Sales of the hybrid CR-Z have started to fade in Honda's home market, despite the hatch being named the Japanese Car of the Year. Honda hopes that a turbocharged CR-Z would broaden the vehicle's appeal in other key markets, as well, such as the United States and Europe.

Photos copyright ©2010 Zach Bowman / AOL

[Source: Autocar]

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