Honda Unveils New CR-Z Hybrid Production Model at Detroit Auto Show

Two years after unveiling the original concept version, Honda debuted the production version of its CR-Z hybrid at this Detroit auto show on Monday.

The sporty, two-seat coupe exhibits the same basic body styling of the original concept vehicle which Honda exhibited at the 2007 Tokyo auto show. A longer wheelbase and a longer front overhang, to comply with today’s more stringent front impact crash standards, are the only major differences between the full production model on display in Detroit and the 2007 concept version.

The CR-Z hybrid features a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine and the company’s Integrated Motor Assist gas-electric technology.

The CR-Z hybrid is the first gas-electric hybrid model available with a six-speed transmission, which delivers 122 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque.

The automaker is also offering a continuously variable transmission (CVT) model that achieves 123 pound-feet of torque. The optional CVT model features steering wheel-mounted shifter paddles.

Honda has released preliminary fuel efficiency estimates of 31 mpg city / 37 mpg highway for models equipped with the manual transmission and 36 mpg city / 38 mpg highway for the CVT-equipped model.

A new feature of the CR-Z hybrid is a three-mode operational system that provides the driver a choice of Econ (short for economy), Normal and Sports driving modes.

When in the Sports mode, the vehicle’s throttle, steering and electric motor assist system provide greater responsiveness. The Econ mode automatically adjusts the gasoline engine, electric motor and air conditioning system settings to achieve optimal efficiency. When in normal mode, the steering, motor assist, air conditioning and throttle are adjusted for optimal performance and fuel economy for normal driving conditions.

The interior of the CR-Z hybrid features 3D instrumentation. The tachometer’s inner ring also changes color to reflect the driving mode. The color ranges from red for Sport mode to variations of blue and green for Econ mode and solid blue for Normal mode.

The CR-Z will be available in base and EX trim packages when it appears in dealer showrooms late this summer. The EX trim version will feature Bluetooth connectivity, a 360-watt audio system, GPS navigation, leather trim and xenon headlights. The base version will feature electronic stability control, a six-speaker sound system, USB connectivity and a remote, keyless entry system.

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