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Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Honda CR-Z Sports Hybrid
Image: © 2010 NAIAS

Honda Makes 2011 Sporty In A Hybrid Way

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - At the North American International Auto Show held in Detroit, Michigan this week, Honda Motor company displayed the production version of their 2011 Honda CR-Z sport hybrid coupe. It was also a first for the automotive industry, as Honda introduced a new compact sports coupe that will open up a whole new market for hybrid cars.

The Honda CR-Z is a two-passenger sports car and will have a release date to U.S. showrooms for mid summer this year and appear as a 2011 model. Honda says that they have built the car for sporty fun while using the hybrid powertrain design to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy. Purchasers of the new Honda CR-Z hybrid will be able to make a choice of three selected modes for driving: 'Sport', 'Econ', and 'Normal', which also varies the fuel consumption characteristics of the car. Honda is using their advanced design hybrid drive system called IMA, which stands for Integrated Motor Assist (electric). The Honda CR-Z is powered by a 1.5-litre i-VTEC gasoline (petrol) engine.

Inside the new 2011 Honda CR-Z, the driver is treated to a wrap-around dashboard layout, with blue backlit lighting. The CR-Z's seats are covered with a sports cloth trim designed to give lateral support using side bolsters for cornering while still maintaining excellent occupent comfort. Behind the two passenger seats is a cargo area, which can incorporate a hidden storage cover for security of your items stored in the car. There are two available trim levels: a 'well equipped' standard model and a 'feature rich' EX model.

A standard equipped Honda CR-Z includes Vehicle Stability Assist, an AM/FM/CD/USB entertainment system featuring six speakers, auto climate control, power windows, power door locks, remote entry, and cruise control. If you opt for a CR-Z EX model you get additionally High Intensity Discharge Head Lights with auto control, an upgraded 360-watt AM/FM/CD 7-speaker premium audio system - including a sub-woofer, Bluetooth connectivity, and a leather wrapped steering wheel.

On the road, the CR-Z has a combined hybrid maximum power of 122 hp at 6000 rpm, and the 4-cylinder 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine has variable valve timing that produces either 128 ft-lb or 123 ft-lb of torque, depending on whether you choose the six-speed manual or the CVT automatic transmission. The IMA hybrid electric motor produces a supplemental 10 kilowatts of power from its 100 volt nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack. In idling situations, like at the lights, the Honda CR-Z engine has start-stop, which shuts the engine down and quickly re-starts it when you take your foot off the brake. All braking on the CR-Z captures the deceleration kinetic energy, which reverses the polarity of the drive electric motor and recharges the battery pack.

Preliminary unofficial fuel economy figures on the new 2011 Honda CR-Z are 36 U.S MPG city and 38 U.S. MPG highway for the automatic CVT model. The six speed model is expected to be certified with an EPA rating of 31 U.S. MPG city and 37 U.S. MPG highway. The optimum fuel economy on the CR-Z is achieved in the 'Econ' (economy) selected mode, whereas choosing the 'Sport' mode gives the driver maximum performance and acceleration. The Honda CR-Z is equipped with 16 inch aluminium rims with P195/55 R16 V-rated tires. As an option, CR-Z purchasers can order 17-inch sports rims of dimension P205/45 R17 V-rated low-profile tires.

For safety, the CR-Z has standard anti-lock brakes, front passenger dual stage, front-side, and side curtain air bags. The braking system uses 4-wheel disc type brakes with ventilated front discs and solid rear discs. Steering on the Honda CR-Z is power assist rack and pinion, and the tires have an active tire pressure monitoring system.

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