Honda's CR-Z Hybrid drops into the JDM, Modulo Version and All [with High Res Gallery]

Honda's desperate-to-be-sporty hybrid, the CR-Z (or Compact Renaissance Zero... what?) will be going on sale, Friday, February 26th in its domestic market with a local sales goal of 1000 units per month. For those not in the know, that would be Japan, aka the JDM.

Just a recap: according to Honda, this the CR-Z will be the world's first hybrid vehicle with a 6-speed manual transmission, and it's also the manufacturer's first vehicle to feature a three-mode system which allows the drive to choose among Sport, Normal, or Econ settings.

It is powered by a 1.5-liter gasoline engine with 102 horsepower and an electric motor generating an additional 20HP for a combined output of 122bhp and 128lb ft of torque that arrives at just 1500rpm. The CR-Z will go on sale in Europe and North America this summer.

In what concerns the JDM version, at launch, we're looking at:

- two models (α and β),

- seven exterior colors (2 all-new, Dark Pewter Metallic and Horizon Turquoise Pearl),

- two interiors (Medium Gray or optional Light Gray leather),

- two transmissions (clutch-equipped 6-speed and paddle-shifted CVT),

- a usable cargo area of 214 liters (rear seats up) or 382 liters (seats down),

- front-wheel drive, and

- price ranging from ¥2,160,000 - ¥2,379,048 before taxes and options (with current exchange rates, that's about US$24,000 - $27,000).

Admittedly, the Modulo accessories look spiffy, and they play their make-up department roles well. The Recaros look comfortable, and it's clear that Honda is trying to make a go of a hybrid sports car with the available sport suspension and hi-po brake pads. Too bad they're not trying the same with the CR-Z's powertrain...

- By Phil Alex