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  (Source: Edmunds)
Honda refines the design of its CR-Z concept

With Toyota hogging all of the spotlight when it comes to hybrid vehicles in the United States, Honda often has to fight for attention to let the buying public that it too has hybrids on dealer lots and in its upcoming product pipeline.

Honda currently offers the more sedate-looking Civic Hybrid along with the hybrid-only Insight. Honda initially had high hopes for the second generation Insight, but has seen its latest foray into the hybrid market clobbered by Toyota's third-generation Prius in sales.

Not one to back down from a fight, Honda is prepared to assault Toyota and all other hybrid manufactures with two more hybrids which DailyTech has discussed previously. The first is the 2010 Fit Hybrid which is based on the popular Fit subcompact currently available.

The second model, the CR-Z, is also due out for the 2010 model year. Thanks to the folks at Edmunds, we now have another look at what the production version of the CR-Z will look like. Honda calls this latest version of the CR-Z a "95 percent" representation of what the production model will look when it is unveiled at the Detroit Auto show next January.

If the previous CR-Z concept reminded you of Honda's beloved CRX from the 80s and early 90s, this revised CR-Z concept simply reinforces that image. The CR-Z clearly looks like a CRX for the 21st century and is quite compact at just 161 inches long -- for comparison, a Mini Cooper S and Mazda Miata are roughly 146 inches and 157 inches in length respectively.

According to Edmunds, the production CR-Z will be sporting a 1.5-liter i-VTEC four-banger combined with Honda's latest Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid powertrain. Purists will be glad to hear that a 6-speed manual transmission will be paired with the hybrid powertrain. It's almost a guarantee, however, that Honda will makes its continuously variable transmission (CVT) available as an option.

It's still to early to know how Honda plans to price the CR-Z when it hits the market next year, but Honda would likely price it in the $19,000 to $25,000 range.



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It's about time
By lco45 on 9/30/2009 1:44:15 AM , Rating: 2
I complained to the Honda rep at the London International Motor show a few years back because they brought out two new Civic models.
The futuristic-looking sporty one with the push button start etc. just had the old boring engine, but the hybrid version was a really boring old man's car shape, even though it had the futuristic engine.

Hybrids would never have had the "do gooder" image problem they have today if the car makers had just sold hybrids as higher torque, faster versions of their existing models, basically selling them as 2-engine cars for extra power.

Luke




RE: It's about time
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 9/30/2009 7:27:17 AM , Rating: 2
That is exactly what Honda did with the Accord "performance" hybrid, but it didn't sell and they had to pull it from the market. The reason: Hybrids weigh at least 400# more than their non-hybrid couterparts. So you get a little extra torque, but you have to haul the extra weight around, so it is a trade off there. And since there is extra weight, it handles like a truck. So no point in a performance hybrid model. The Insight is a good hybrid model, but just a Prius knock-off with worse gas mileage.


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