Green is cool with Honda CR-Z
The production version of Honda's sexy CR-Z hybrid coupe is being shown at the Detroit Motor Show.
Apart from being really easy on the eye (for a hybrid car, at least) the CR-Z also promises to be "the most exciting hybrid yet" with its sporty chassis, wide track and short wheelbase.
Forged aluminium MacPherson struts have been used to reduce weight and increase strength and the CR-Z suspension features new spring and damper settings special to the compact coupe.
And while the coupe shares a platform and some of its components with the Insight hybrid, design features, such as the split level rear glass hatch and raked roofline, are reminiscent of the Honda CR-X to give it a definite modern twist.
The petrol-electric is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder i-VTEC engine linked to Honda's IMA hybrid system and overall power output is 91 kW. The torque figure of 174 Nm is on par with the Civic's bigger 1.8-litre petrol engine, but thanks to its electric motor, the CR-Z's torque kicks in early (from 1 500) and is unusually flat for a naturally aspirated engine.
Six-speed manual 'box
Signaling its more athletic intentions, this is also the first hybrid to be fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox.
It also has a 3-Mode drive system where the driver can choose between to alter throttle response, steering and the level of assistance allowed by the hybrid system.
Honda reckons its latest hybrid is a winner in city environments where its zippy nature will go well with its good fuel economy and low emissions.
The CR-Z is claimed to produce emissions of 117 g/km and consume 4.2 l/100 km of fuel.
The car's interior is typically progressive with its driver focus and 3D displays and has been adapted from the concept CR-Z's cabin first seen at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show.
The Euro spec versions (which debuts at the Geneva Show in March) will be fitted with LED daytime running lights - the first time they'll be fitted on a production Honda model - and a 2+2 seating arrangement.
Both the five-seater Insight and sporty CR-Z will come to South Africa in 2010.