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Honda CR-Z hybrid concept  (Source: Honda)

  (Source: Honda)
Honda revives the CRX's spirit with a small hybrid concept

In early February, DailyTech first brought you news that Honda was working on a small sports car to take some of the "green" spotlight that has been hogged by the Toyota Prius since 2000. Honda later unveiled the vehicle as the Small Hybrid Sports Concept (SHSC) in March.

The radical-looking concept was powered by an efficient 4-cylinder engine, Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system and paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The SHSC's powertrain was rather conventional, but its design was a bit too far reaching to be taken seriously as a production model.

Honda is at again and today showcased a new small hybrid sports car in the form of the CR-Z. The CR-Z recalls the lightweight CRX hatchback and features more production-worthy styling than the SHSC.

Honda simply describes the CR-Z as a "design research model of a lightweight hybrid sports car," and notes that the powertrain is a carryover from the Honda Civic Hybrid. Given the compact dimensions (and hopefully light weight) of the CR-Z, its fuel economy could end up being even greater than that of the Civic Hybrid which is rated at 40 MPG/45 MPG city/highway.

If the CR-Z were to reach production, it would join Honda's Global Small Hybrid (GSH) which is due to arrive in 2009 with a $22,000 price tag. The GSH will be a five-seater with unique styling to tackle the ubiquitous Prius.

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By Chris Peredun on 10/9/2007 10:33:34 AM , Rating: 2
Pardon my skepticism, but the combination of a 1.3L hybrid four, a CVT, and FWD (assumed) do not a "sports car" make. It could be quite a perky little "sport compact" if Honda doesn't let it suffer from the same bloat that bemoans most modern vehicles, but a "sports car" is stretching the truth. (Mind you, should the CR-Z hit production, the tuner magazines will be in a mad race to stuff a 200hp-plus K-series motor in it to address those first two problems.)

In its current iteration, the CR-Z seems like it will be a replacement for the aging two-seater Insight, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The SMART cars have proven that there is a market - albeit a small one - for the efficient commuter car.

By Black69ta on 10/9/2007 11:05:58 AM , Rating: 2
Was the same 1.3l in the insight? I thought it was a smaller 1.0l I3. This would actually be peppier than you think. My father owns an Insight and its acceleration surprised me. but this seems to be a larger displacement and maybe K series derivative and thus I'm sure the IMA is larger too so it should be Fun. Also remember that if the IMA delivers 50hp for example it does it instantly not like a gas engine, or even forced induction.

By Chris Peredun on 10/9/2007 12:19:11 PM , Rating: 2
Correct, the Insight has a 1.0L I3. The 1.3L I4 is from the Civic Hybrid line. In the current models it delivers about 110hp and 123lb-ft when used in conjunction with the IMA.

By Tsuwamono on 10/9/2007 12:41:35 PM , Rating: 2
ya. peppy and sports car are too different things... for example...

Honda Civic.. peppy...

Mazda RX7... Sports car

Pontiac G5.. peppy..

Pontiac Solstice .. sports car...

Chevy Aveo... peppy...

Chevy Corvette.. sports car..

seeing the difference in the naming yet?

By onelittleindian on 10/9/2007 12:50:41 PM , Rating: 4
Anyone who calls the Solstice a sports car should have their head rescrewed on. Its a "sporty" car, and thats it.

By MADAOO7 on 10/9/2007 12:58:08 PM , Rating: 2
Are you serious? I'm not a fan of anything Pontiac, except may be that GTO, but seriously if a Solstice isn't a sports car, than a Corvette is a station wagon.

By MADAOO7 on 10/9/2007 12:58:46 PM , Rating: 3
and no, cheerleading is still not a sport...=)

By Adonlude on 10/9/2007 2:36:03 PM , Rating: 2
May I offer an additional classification: The Solstice is a "roadster", you know, somewhere in between sports car and motorcycle.

By Chris Peredun on 10/9/2007 1:05:37 PM , Rating: 4
I'd grant the Solstice GXP "sports car" status, but not the stock trim.

And cheerleading is a sport.

A spectator sport.

By onelittleindian on 10/9/2007 1:46:56 PM , Rating: 1
Are *you* serious? A wimpy 170-hp engine (ok not bad, for a four-cylinder, but still way below true sports-car standards), cheap "tuned for sport" suspension (even with the FE3 option), and a top speed of what, 140 mph?

Admittedly, its got nice aggressive styling, but it takes more than looks to make a sports car.

By Chaser on 10/9/2007 2:57:59 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't there a turbo model also that puts it over 200HP? For such a light car thats not bad at all.

By nitrous9200 on 10/9/2007 3:44:15 PM , Rating: 2
The renowned MX-5 only has 170 HP. Still not enough power? Try this on for size:
That'll get you going places!
Car and Driver also says that the "[The Solstice and the Sky] still love to run and are blessed with gifted handling and decent steering..."
Not quite a true sports car, I agree, but it's a sports car for the common man who doesn't need to blow $45K on a Boxster to get a "sporty" convertible. I do think it's more of a sports car than you give it credit for.

By onelittleindian on 10/9/2007 4:15:39 PM , Rating: 2
Sure, spring for the turbo-charged GXP version, along with the Club Sport suspension and 18" tires, and you're getting *close* to sports car territory. But you're still not there yet...and you're even further from the base Solstice.

By Samus on 10/10/2007 6:16:09 AM , Rating: 2
You know, most front-wheel drive vehicles outperform most rear-wheel drive vehicles in day-to-day tasks, such as fuel efficiency, weight savings, cost savings, safety, stupid-proof operation, maintenance, etc.

The only reason anyone needs rear-wheel drive is if they know how to drive and need it for a specific purpose (towing, performance, etc)

I've driven hundreds of front and rear wheel drive vehicles and my heart lies with rear-wheel drive for performance applications, but I would certainly rather have a front-wheel or all-wheel drive over my Mustang any day during the Chicago winter's. For those lucky enough to drive a Ford with a control-blade suspension (4th Gen Focus/British, Ford Puma, Volvo C30) you may realize what I mean when I say front-wheel drive can be amazing, even for performance with 200+ wHP.

By FastLaneTX on 10/9/2007 2:36:15 PM , Rating: 2
This is not a sports car. Honda's sports car (at least under that brand) is the S2000, a 240hp 2.0L VTEC engine that can do 0-60 in 5.3 secs and beats a Boxter in the slalom -- at half the cost, and over 30mph in typical driving. Until they get close to that kind of performance, they have no business calling the CR-Z a "sports" car. It's a sporty compact at best...

By dajeepster on 10/9/2007 6:18:41 PM , Rating: 2
for the 2004+ model year, they switched to a 2.2L VTEC engine with a lower redline... I owned a 2000 and 2002... really fun to drive.. just wasn't able to afford the lawyer when I went back to school :(

as much as I hate linking to wikipedia.. here you go:

By DeepBlue1975 on 10/9/2007 11:12:32 AM , Rating: 2
Today a 1.3L engine could go past 150bhp (I doubt that would be the case for a hybrid, though).
CVTs can give a slightly better acceleration than manual transmissions (much more so about normal auto shifters)
But well... In the end it'd all depend on weight, you definitely can get "sport car" acceleration times with "low powered" engines provided they weight is low enough.

What you don't get with "low hp" is "high" maximum speed, though (there's only so much you can do about aerodynamics... 150bhp could get you at best 140mph in a small sized, very low riding car with a great drag coef.)

The thing that puzzles me is that hybrid powertrains are not too weight friendly, so all the power you can harvest from a 1.3L is potentially to low to make a sports hybrid car.

Bottom line: I agree with all you said, but I think this could hold promise.

By theapparition on 10/9/2007 12:35:45 PM , Rating: 2
Any way you slice it, this will not be a "sports" car. It may be a sporty hatchback, but no sports car.

There's so much more to a sports car than just hp/weight ratio.

By Amiga500 on 10/9/2007 4:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
Your all too worried about the engine under the bonnet instead of focusing on what will put a smile on your face when driving it - the ability to thrash it around corners on a back road.

You don't [i]need[/i] 200+ bhp to do that! In fact, you don't really want 200 bhp to do that.

There are far too many car manufacturers that focus on bhp and miss out on the more important things, namely balance, steering feedback, brake feedback, pedal position, gearchange and seat supportiveness. Those make a car fun to drive, not squirting off at the lights.

*well, at least they do to me.

By Amiga500 on 10/9/2007 4:05:07 PM , Rating: 2
Feck sake - every other site in the world uses [i] and not :-D


By Blight AC on 10/10/2007 10:09:05 AM , Rating: 2
Post Preview is your friend. :D

By TwistyKat on 10/9/2007 10:35:23 AM , Rating: 2
What? I loved my '89 si. It was an affordable car with great pep, great gas mileage (for the time) and quality interior components.

I miss it in a lot of ways!

RE: Lamented?
By Chris Peredun on 10/9/2007 10:39:50 AM , Rating: 2
I think it was more the departure of the CRX that was lamented, not its history.

RE: Lamented?
By MrPickins on 10/9/2007 2:28:48 PM , Rating: 2
Lamented was definitely the right word.

"Bemoaned", as it is now, sounds wrong to me.

Honda going after the Prius with this?
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/9/2007 12:25:50 PM , Rating: 1

"Tired of standing in Toyota's shadow, Honda is looking for a little magic of its own and is building a dedicated hybrid car that will have its own unique look. According to Honda execs, the new "Global Small Hybrid" will be a five-passenger vehicle, have a price tag of under $22,000 and will arrive in 2009."

This is in a different class than the Prius. This one looks very nice, but isn't going to carry 4 or 5 adults and luggage. Nor is it going to encroach on the Camry, Highlander, or Lexus models.

Honda has gotten hybrids wrong all along (except for the mileage of the Insight and Civic) and makes threats at Toyota in this market segment? Honda has turned into the Chrysler of the late 1970's. Always a little behind and never getting it right for the US market. I think this will sell many units, though.

By Chris Peredun on 10/9/2007 12:34:08 PM , Rating: 3
In a shocking display of market awareness, Honda actually intends to produce more than one type of vehicle.

The CR-Z is not the "Global Small Hybrid" that will target the Prius.

Looks good
By iFX on 10/9/2007 10:31:32 AM , Rating: 2
I love the front end... the back looks like an Insight though.

Lets see some performance information since Honda is touting this as sports car.

pretty nice design...
By retrospooty on 10/9/2007 11:47:58 AM , Rating: 2
But, you could never fit a bucket of fried chicken through that tiny lil' window. =)

this is good....
By dsx724 on 10/9/2007 12:24:25 PM , Rating: 2
if only someone can build a car with a ceramic engine that can withstand 40:1 compression ratio running on biofuel...

1 liter, 300BHP, 1.5 ton, 200MPH, 80MPG without regenerative breaking...*drool*

or you can build highways on the moon and get like 1000 mpg, stupid atmosphere.

When will they learn?
By pauldovi on 10/9/2007 12:55:33 PM , Rating: 2
Finally they introduce CVTs. Now where are the capacitors?

OMG Sexay!
By Blight AC on 10/10/2007 11:29:37 AM , Rating: 2
Well, one thing many haven't said yet, is this is a pretty attractive car. Nice lines, even the hatch trunk looks pretty sporty. I've never expected much performance from Honda, but if they can get it near 0-60 in 6 seconds and it handles the slalom well, this might be a nice option for a fun coupe!

By ttnuagadam on 10/9/2007 7:57:55 PM , Rating: 1
lol @ honduh performance.

when i think of the words "honda" and "efficiency" im reminded of cars such as the s2000. The s2000 weighs a good 400 lbs less than a corvette, has 200 less hp, is a second and a half slower in the 1/4 mile. but it gets WORSE mpg on the highway and maybe 1 mpg better in town. GJ honda!! nothing says efficiency like inefficiency!! good thing retards keep the myths alive.

What hybrid cars are there?
By shaw on 10/9/07, Rating: -1
By Brandon Hill on 10/9/2007 10:43:36 AM , Rating: 2
RE: What hybrid cars are there?
By Chris Peredun on 10/9/2007 10:43:39 AM , Rating: 2
Currently available for consumer purchase in North America:

Chevrolt Silverado/GMC Sierra Hybrid
Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner Hybrid
Honda Accord Hybrid
Honda Civic Hybrid
Honda Insight
Lexus RX 400h
Lexus LS600h
Saturn Aura Hybrid
Saturn Vue Green Line
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Toyota Highlander Hybrid

RE: What hybrid cars are there?
By Chris Peredun on 10/9/2007 10:45:23 AM , Rating: 3
I had to add that "in North America" edit, didn't I.

(I also left out the Malibu, GS450h, and Altima, and misspelled "Chevrolet")

RE: What hybrid cars are there?
By omnicronx on 10/9/2007 11:03:07 AM , Rating: 2
but of all those cars listed, it seems like the prius was the only hybrid so far designed from the ground up to be just a hybrid that has actually been successful. Its nice the camry and such come in hybrid models, but since they are just re tailored gasoline versions, they do not have the same impact on gas millage that an aerodynamic, made for less wind resistance hybrid such as the prius can offer.

By Anonymous Freak on 10/9/2007 11:56:43 AM , Rating: 2
Honda used to have the Insight, which was a purpose-designed Hybrid (which ALSO was very similar to the CRX, and this new CR-Z.) They cancelled it in 2006 due to lack of demand. They also dropped the Accord Hybrid for the 2008 model year.

Basically, Honda went about hybrids all wrong. They did it in a way that *SHOULD* have been successful, but wasn't. They released the ├╝ber-hybrid first, the two seat Insight that got 70 MPG. Then they slapped hybrid drivetrains into their two most popular models to increase their mileage while leaving the rest of the car pretty much alone.

Unfortunately, the Prius stole the show with its silent electric-only at low speeds driving mode; and by the time Honda put electric-only mode in the Civic, it was too late. The Prius had taken over.

RE: What hybrid cars are there?
By Anonymous Freak on 10/9/2007 12:01:40 PM , Rating: 1
Honda canned the Insight in 2006, and the Accord Hybrid died at the end of the 2007 model year. (i.e. There is no 2007 Insight, and no 2008 Accord Hybrid.)

This is just Honda aiming solely for the spotlight, not actually CARING about the environment at all. If they really cared, they would have kept the Inisght, made the Accord Hybrid a more "traditional" hybrid that actually increased mileage (instead of solely boosting power,) AND introduced a new "sexy" attention-grabbing hybrid.

RE: What hybrid cars are there?
By Ringold on 10/9/2007 12:31:54 PM , Rating: 2
So selling a product virtually no one wants is caring, versus introducing a hybrid that they hope will have mass market appeal, which is.. what, wretched capitalism?

Hmm.. glorious logic, that is.

RE: What hybrid cars are there?
By MrEMan on 10/9/2007 1:00:11 PM , Rating: 2
Give me a break about "CARING".

When you factor in the cost of the batteries (both manufacturing and disposal), the lousy resale value (who is going to want a used hybrid that will need the expensive batteries replaced and the current ones disposed of?) and most hybrids at this point just end up being another "feel good" gesture.

A properly designed (for fuel efficiency like the previous Civic HF was, and not preformance) and PROPERLY DRIVEN gas engine vehicle will get comparable gas mileage without all the drawbacks. I think it might be a good idea to require mileage computers on all new vehicles so that drivers can see how much their driving habits impact gas mileage (the only down side would be drivers not paying attention to the road but that is happening now with all those who are gabbing on their cell phones).

The recent recalculated EPA mileage formula much more closely approximates the actual number driver's might be able to attain and they aren't all that much better than similarly sized gas vehicles.

Now the plug-in hybrid might be worth the negatives, but only if the comparison includes the cost of the electricity used to recharge the batteries from the power line.

Also, Honda is also looking at some new diesel designs which might make sense depending on how clean they run.

Unfortunately the greenies (especially the celebrities) don't want to be bothered with such "details" ruining how good they feel.

By Chris Peredun on 10/9/2007 1:08:53 PM , Rating: 2
A properly designed (for fuel efficiency like the previous Civic HF was, and not performance) and PROPERLY DRIVEN gas engine vehicle will get comparable gas mileage without all the drawbacks.

The capitalized words are the big points. I'll bet a tank of gas that the Prius that blew by me doing 140kph was getting worse mileage than my Civic.

RE: What hybrid cars are there?
By Oregonian2 on 10/9/2007 2:02:59 PM , Rating: 2
Problem is that those buying it don't care for the environment either. Honda is interested in sales/profits. Buyers are interested in looking like they care even though they don't -- perception. Honda's offerings didn't make the green statements that the Prius does. Toyota's star is a hybrid ONLY model that says GREEN to anybody seeing it. Honda's models all may BE green, but they don't SAY green because they look like regular cars and/or have versions that aren't hybrid and therefore don't shout GREEN. Being environmentally oriented isn't an issue on either side. Sad but true. Those being green are using funky old diesel cars modified to run off of used soybean oil from the local fry-everything restaurant. And not being able to tell they're doing that.

RE: What hybrid cars are there?
By Ringold on 10/9/2007 2:36:18 PM , Rating: 2
Reminds me of a study reported about in The Economist some weeks back that linked charitable donations to the desire to appear sexually attractive; throwing money or sacrificing for a cause is a form of conspicuous consumption and therefore signals either wealth or ability, traits looked for by the opposite sex, particularly women, and it also discussed how those who do charitable work or make charitable donations almost never do it in absolute anonymous solitude. It also pointed out that, by and large, the largest charitable donors are typically male. That makes sense from the perspective of evolution.

In other words, the "Prius" badge is the green-speak equivalent of "I'm hung like a horse!", and therefore no better in principle than the young guy in the next lane over in his bright red F150; one simply attaches ideology and the other does not.

RE: What hybrid cars are there?
By arriddle on 10/9/2007 5:10:59 PM , Rating: 2
These discussion boards regarding why people purchase hybrids seem to solely focus on the environmental aspect of the issue. For me, as much as I like fuzzy bunnies and trees to hug, the most important reasons I would buy a hybrid is the cost per mile to drive the thing vs gasoline and the fact that I am not sending any more of my damn money to either hundred billion dollar per quarter in profit oil companies or middle east/Venezualan/Russian governments that dont terribly like me anyway... my two cents.

RE: What hybrid cars are there?
By Oregonian2 on 10/12/2007 8:43:01 PM , Rating: 2
Just as a side-note, when one of the big oil companies posted huge record profits a year or two ago with the run up of gas prices one of my friends was really fuming about it. I looked up the company's financial reports and their big record profits were still only about six percent of revenue. Mind you, revenue was huge -- a LOT of gas is sold by a big petroleum company, but still, 6% didn't seem that outrageous. I suspect Apple and Microsoft would be considered near bankruptcy if they were profiting only 6% of revenue.

By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/9/2007 12:17:41 PM , Rating: 1
"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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