Honda fans can finally rejoice at the official unveiling happening at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, sort of, of the CR-Z coupe. Honda, ever the conservative Japanese car company says that the 2009 CR-Z coupe you see here “remains a concept”, but the car seems production ready to anybody with eyes. Especially since the CR-Z will go on sale in Japan this coming February of 2010 (that’s four months away) and then arrive in North America in the fall. If there’s going to be any major changes, it will be very surprising to see Honda pull it off.
The rather attractive grill from the original 2007 concept has been largely carried over, and still seems like a Honda toned-down interpretation of a Maserati nose to me. The most noticeable changes to the CR-Z being, to some extent, the taller roof and a less raked windshield with A-pillars now blacked out. The higher roof (and the more upright front glass that would have to follow) seems to be compromises allowing people over 4 foot 10 to fit inside.
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Mechanically speaking the most interesting thing about the CR-Z is that it’s a hybrid that will come with a manual transmission. Meaning that in a lot of ways, the CR-Z will be sort of like a green updating of the much loved, and much missed, Honda CR-X. No the CR-X wasn’t exactly a sportscar, but it wasn’t exactly boring either.
In the case of the CR-Z, we get the same mill from the Insight hybrid, only with an increase in displacement up to 1.5 liters. And rather than being hooked up to a slush-box, the CR-Z gets a six-speed tranny, making it the first hybrid with a manual available (unless I missed one along the way).
In Tokyo, Honda didn’t mention any number concerning the power output or the expected mileage for the CR-Z, but those should be out closer to Japanese launch time. And you got to figure that both should be pretty good.
The car’s not that big (always a good thing) so it can’t weigh all that much (which is also always a good thing) so it should (please-please-please) be a real hoot to drive. Which brings us another step closer to what I think we dearly need: A hybrid sportscar.
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