Jumat, 15 Januari 2010

Detroit Show 2010 Highlights: 2011 Honda CR-Z

The letters stand for Compact Renaissance Zero and announce Honda's goal of transforming the automotive landscape with a compact car that produces negligible emissions. As implied by renaissance, Honda has been down this road before: In name and silhouette, the CR-Z is clearly meant to trigger fond memories of the original Honda CRX. That little coupe helped foster and legitimize the Japanese, front-drive sport-compact craze. Light and snappy handling, the CRX proved a high water mark for the era, especially in canyon-carving Si trim. Heck, we picked the CRX as our Import Car of the Year in 1984 and the redesigned CRX Si again in 1988. But the CRX's most enduring legacy might come from the high-fuel-efficiency HF model, which managed an impressive 50 city and 56 highway mpg on the old EPA cycle (41/50 mpg adjusted to 2008 standards). No surprise that Honda cites that gas sipper as the impetus for the 2000 Insight, the first hybrid car sold in North America.

Though 15.9 inches longer (9.3 inches of that between the wheels), 4.6 inches wider, and 4.1 inches taller than the original CRX, the CR-Z shares many characteristics with that car and the tadpole-shaped first-generation Insight. All are two seat (2+2 in Japan and Europe), front-drive coupes with wind-cheating Kamm-back profiles and vertical rear-deck windows. All come equipped with tiny four-cylinder engines and manual transmissions, though only the Insight and CR-Z have the hybrid raison d'etre, Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system.

This powertrain is the sixth and latest iteration of the one in Honda's other two hybrids, the Civic Hybrid and Insight, and pairs a small displacement, four-cylinder engine, in this case a 1.5-liter, 16-valve single-cammer, with a brushless DC motor positioned in place of the flywheel. The 10-kilowattmotor/generator pulls double duty, helping accelerate the CR-Z and capturing kinetic energy in a 100-volt nickel metal hydride battery during braking and coasting. Engine and motor combine to deliver 122 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque (123 pound-feet on CVT-equipped models), making the CR-Z the most powerful hybrid in Honda's lineup, but also its least fuel efficient. With the standard six-speed manual, Honda estimates the CR-Z will achieve an EPA rating of 31 city and 37 highway mpg. With the optional continuously variable transmission, mileage improves to 36 city/38 highway mpg, but that's not great for a hybrid, especially one sprung from the loins of the original Insight, which managed a staggering 70 highway mpg (61 in 2008 parlance).

Thanks to: Motor Trend

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