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Honda CR-Z pictured here is close to production model  (Source: Autoblog)
CR-Z hybrid sport coupe will debut in Japan in February

Hybrid automobiles are all the rage right now with consumers looking to save at the pump and become more eco-friendly. The clear leader in the hybrid realm is still Toyota with its Prius, but for car enthusiasts that like sporty vehicles, the Prius is hardly appropriate.

In September, Honda pulled the wraps off its revamped CR-Z hybrid sports coupe concept. The vehicle is designed to remind of the CR-X that was popular in the 1980's to 1990's for Honda. Honda was vague about the details of the vehicle when it revealed the concept car other than to report the car was only 161 inches long and would use a 1.5-liter i-VETEC 4-cylinder with Honda's IMA hybrid power train. The car is pegged to sell in the $19,000 to $25,000 range.

Autoblog reports that Honda has confirmed that the CR-Z will be coming to the U.S. in the fall of 2010 with a six-speed manual transmission. The vehicle should be the first hybrid vehicle to hit the states sporting a 6-speed manual transmission. Autoblog also notes that the images seen here of the concept are close to what the production vehicle will look like.

The LED lighting will likely change slightly and the mirrors will likely grow. As for official specifications for the powertrain, pricing, and performance; Honda offers no details at this point. The vehicle is set to go on sale in Japan in February so details should be coming around that time.



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RE: Confused
By Iridium130m on 10/21/2009 11:28:33 AM , Rating: 4
I had a manual insight for a couple of weeks as a rental. Because the IMA motor is paired to the gas engine before the clutch, you had to be very deliberate in not pushing in the clutch when coming to stops in order to regen and push it in at the last moment possible to not stall the gas motor.

This was a habit that I managed to get into with even my V6 6 speed accord...i had found a fuel flow diag screen on the Navi, and at 0 throttle with the clutch still out a decelerating, the ecm cut the fuel off completely to the motor until around 1200 revs. If I put in the clutch while coming to a stop, the motor would idle and use fuel while decelerating. The technique was probably good for around half an mpg saved in stop and go traffic.

The thing I really did like about the manual insight vs. my CVT Civic hybrid is I could put it into higher gears faster and force the electric motor to do more work. The downside to this was people were frying batteries rapidly, so honda squashed this with CVT setups. I'd be curious how this car will behave and how the insight with the manu-matic behaves if you try to lug the gas motor and force the electric to assist...


RE: Confused
By FITCamaro on 10/21/2009 12:46:21 PM , Rating: 2
I engine brake every day when driving around. Granted I don't row up through the gears. If I'm slowing down from 50 I just leave it in 4-5th until about 25-30 mph and then coast to a stop, using brakes as needed.

If nothing else I love the sound of my exhaust. ;)


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