The long-awaited 2011 Honda CR-Z hybrid sports coupe made its world premiere in production guise at Detroit Motor Show today. Compared to last year's Tokyo show concept, the U.S.-spec model seen here has remained more or less the same with changes limited to the different alloy wheels, the larger exterior mirrors, the Honda logo that has moved from the grille to under the bonnet and the revised tail lamp crystals.
The coupe also gets a mid-ship console behind the front seats to optimize cargo space while a hard-shell separator can be closed to create additional hidden storage.
At the heart of the coupe is a 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine with Honda's compact and lightweight Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid-electric system.
The CR-Z's 10kW electric motor assists in acceleration and also acts as a generator during braking or coasting to capture kinetic energy that recharges the 100-volt IMA nickel-metal hydride battery pack. The gasoline engine can automatically turn off during vehicle stops to further improve efficiency.
The hybrid system delivers a combined peak output of 122 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 128 lb-ft. of torque at 1,000 to 1,500 rpm with the standard six-speed manual gearbox and 123 lb-ft when combined with the optional CVT.
The CR-Z also gets a three-mode drive system that allows the driver to select between individual modes of performance for Sport, Normal and Economy driving styles. The system, which affects the settings for steering, engine response, motor assist and air conditioning, is activated through three backlit buttons to the left of the steering wheel.
While Honda did not announce performance figures for the U.S.-spec model, a leaked brochure of the JDM CR-Z makes word of a 0-100km/h (62mph) time of 9.7 seconds, which if true, isn't exactly what you'd expect from a car that's the spiritual successor of the CR-X.
What the Japanese automaker did reveal are the preliminary fuel economy estimates. Honda anticipates that the CR-Z will achieve an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 36 city/38 highway mpg for the CVT-equipped models and 31 city/37 highway mpg (7.6 lt and 6.4 lt/100km respectively) for the manual cars.
Again, nothing to be excited about. For example, the latest Toyota Prius that is powered by a 134HP hybrid powerplant and can sprint from 0 to 60mph in 9.8 seconds returns 51mpg city and 48mpg highway. Heck, even the BMW 335d sedan with its mighty 260HP diesel achieves 36mpg on the highway.
When the CR-Z arrives at Honda's U.S. dealers later this summer, it will be offered in two trim levels, base and EX.
Standard features on the base model include Vehicle Stability Assist, an audio system with six speakers, automatic climate control, power windows and door locks, remote entry and cruise control.
The CR-Z EX will add High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Headlights with Auto-On/Off, fog lights, a 360-Watt premium audio system with seven speakers including subwoofer and Bluetooth, and perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel.